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Gene V. Glass, (480) 294-1120,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Charter School Productivity Report, Recommendations Indefensible

Nothing in the report provides any guidance for educators or policymakers

EAST LANSING, Mich. (August 19, 2014) – A recent report from the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform (DER) on charter school productivity claims superiority of charter schools in producing achievement per dollar invested. The report, the third in a series of reports, asserts charter schools are more effective in producing achievement on standardized tests and are also less costly per pupil than traditional public schools. An academic review finds the claims made by the report rest on shaky ground and suffer from multiple sources of invalidity, rendering the report useless.

Gene V. Glass, Regents' Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, reviewed The Productivity of Public Charter Schools for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The report utilizes findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and "revenues received" to support that charter schools spend less per pupil than traditional public schools and produce achievement as good or superior to that of traditional public schools.

In his review, Glass found the report inaccurately utilizes NAEP test results while discounting the fact that demographic differences between the two sectors are highly correlated with NAEP performance. In short, Glass says, "The sector with the higher percentage of poor pupils scores lower on the NAEP test."

Additionally, Glass also finds that the assessment of expenditures is based on questionable data, leaving readers with little evidence on which to base any valid conclusions.

In his conclusion, Glass says, "The report continues a program of advocacy research that will be cited by supporters of the charter school movement." Despite its many shortcomings, charter school supporters will attempt to utilize the report for an expansion of funding for charter schools.

Read his full review at:

Find The Productivity of Charter Schools on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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