This piqued our interest because we have current data on how well independent charter schools are performing but wanted to dig a little deeper. We used WKCE data available from the Department of Public Instruction as far back as 2005. Based on an analysis of those data we know that independent (2R) charters have outperformed the district in both reading and math since 2009, and the trends are pretty interesting. See the charts below for a visualization of the data.
Charters’ growth in achievement levels is shown by an upward trend line with sharper rises compared to MPS’ overall growth, particularly in math. Please note that we just included 2Rs for simplicity… if we included non-instrumentality charters in our “independent” charter figures, instead of in the MPS category, MPS traditional school growth would look lower, and the independent charters’ growth would look higher. As a side note, MPS non-instrumentalities are eligible for membership in the Advocates, and nearly all of them are members in the Advocates, but other groups do not consider them as “independent” charters when looking at data. This is a nuance not often cited when making comparisons.
Obviously the proficiency rates here are nothing to celebrate yet—everyone, including independent charter schools, has a long way to go. But I think if we saw the kind of growth that independent charters are showing city-wide, we’d have a much different picture of student achievement in our city.