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Unformatted text preview: “Informing the Debate: Comparing Boston’s Charter, Pilot and Traditional Schools.” A study sponsored by the Boston Foundation, shows the Boston charters are doing better than pilot schools in raising student achievement. These results are designed to reduce the possibility that charters might benefit from having more motivated students and increased parental involvement. However some people may use these results to see charters as a destructive drain on regular public schools, and a threat to job security and salary protections for teachers. Teachers unions as well as public school administrators are not going to accept these findings. The study data is from one city only, with many reservations. One interpretation of the findings that teachers unions may make from the study is that since the the randomized results apply only to popular charter schools who have more applicants than they can accept, less popular charters were not included because they could have reduced the charters’ reported gains had that data had counted. Special education and limited English proficiency are factors that must be interpreted in the study. Those parents and teachers involved in the pilot school or traditional public school program, whose schools traditionally have a higher percentage of students with these special needs may interpret these findings as disguising large differences in student groups. English learners may have no English at all or have some proficiency. Pilot and Public Schools will interpret the data to reveal that their schools serve different proportions of these subgroups. They will also point out that different types of schools produce variable achievement gains. That the data does not specify which educational strategies or characteristics are most valuable in each school setting. In the study the findings are summarized as follows: “We generally find large positive effects for charter schools, at both the middle school and high school levels. For each year of attendance in middle school, we estimate that charter schools raise student achievement .09 to .17 standard deviations in English language arts and .18 to .54 standard deviations in math relative to those attending traditional schools in the Boston Public Schools. The estimated impact on math achievement for charter middle schools is extraordinarily large. Increasing performance by .5 standard deviations is the same as moving from the 50th to the 69th percentile in student performance. This is roughly half the size of the black-white achievement gap. In high school, the estimated gains are somewhat smaller than in middle school: .16 to .19 standard deviations in English language arts; .16 to .19 in mathematics; .2 to .28 in writing topic development; and .13 to .17 in writing composition.” “The results for pilot schools are more ambiguous and deserve further study. In the elementary grades, the estimated impact of pilots was positive in English language arts (.09), but not statistically different from zero in mathematics. In the middle school grades, the observational results suggest that pilot school students may actually lose ground relative to traditional public school students, with point estimates of -.05 standard deviations per year in English language arts and -.07 in math.” The authors interpret this data to laud the results of charter schools however, another way to interpret these statistics is to point out that thousands of Boston’s youth fail to achieve the academic standards that will prepare them for success after high school. That Charter and Pilot school choices are limited to the families whose parents are engaged and with the means to fulfill the application process. That while the growth of choices has offered some low-income families more high quality options, demand for such schools far exceeds supply, denying opportunity to thousands of students. That in order for our students to archive the academic performance for success after high school we need innovative schools with autonomous governance, longer school days/years, high expectations and standards, rigorous courses, comprehensive curricula, and talented leaders and teachers. 7B. Identify a second important piece of evidence you listed in Task 3H that could be interpreted in different ways. Write at least one paragraph discussing how that piece of evidence can be interpreted in at least two different ways or used to support at least two different points of view....
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- Spring '11