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CER Responds to an Attack on the Nation’s Charter Schools

In August of 2004 Diana Jean Schemo and the New York Times published “Nation’s Charter Schools Lagging Behind, U.S. Test Scores Reveal.” The piece alleged charters performed poorer than traditional public schools in almost all cases, citing findings from the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress that were “unearthed from online data by researchers at the American Federation of Teachers” and sent by researchers from the teachers union to the Times. Schemo credited the AFT as historically supporting the idea of charter schools, contrary to previously published studies by the union that would beg to differ. The paper implied that there were efforts made to keep the findings out of the public eye, too. 

The Center for Education Reform responded not days later, and with the signatures and support of 30 prominent members of the national research community took out a full page ad in the Times condemning the report and the study as failing to meet professional research standards. CER later published a release demonstrating the volume and content of the coverage the AFT report and Times’ article was receiving across the country. The magazine Education Week found fault with the AFT study and the New York Times coverage as well. CER Founder Jeanne Allen appeared on the Tavis Smiley radio show with then-AFT head Bella Rosenberg to discuss the data.