Got that? This is at the "school level." Cerf says charters outperform their "TPS (Traditional Public School) peers."Key findings from the report:· School level: “At the school level, 30 percent of the charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than their TPS (traditional public school) counterparts in reading, while 11 percent of charter schools have significantly lower learning gains. In math, 40 percent of the charter schools studied outperform their TPS peers and 13 percent perform worse. These school-level results are notably more positive than the analogous pattern presented in the 2009 report.” [emphasis mine]
Here's the challenge:
Commissioner Cerf, name one TPS school in Newark that has essentially the same student population as Robert Treat Academy.
You can't. Here are some charts from Bruce Baker:
Look at RTA, with the lowest Free Lunch population in Newark. There is no peer school for RTA.Figure 2. % Free Lunch
How about special education classifications?
Figure 5. Special Education Distributions
There are no peer schools for Robert Treat Academy - or any other high-flying charter - in Newark. It is deceptive to state or imply that there are.
The CREDO study created "virtual" schools for statistical purposes. It does not compare high-flying charters to schools with the same student population. It can't - they don't exist. That's not a criticism of their methods; they did the best they could with the data they have. But it's wrong to say the 30% of charters who do better have "counterpart" public schools. They simply do not; you could argue the students have "counterparts," but the schools don't. This study is arguably really about peer effect.
Let's see who in the local punditocracy gets this...
Will this be the Star-Ledger Editorial Board? Stay Tuned...