Matthew Ladner

Charter Schools Dominate Scores

Posted on May 15, 2006 | Author: Matthew Ladner
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Maricopa County charter schools have a lock on top reading scores

A recent New York Times editorial on the failure of charter schools inspired me to do a little checking. Feel free to play along on your computer.

I went to and viewed all elementary schools in Maricopa County. With that list on the screen, it is an easy push of the button to rank these schools from highest to lowest based on their reading scores on national tests.

A quick examination of the list reveals that four of the ten highest performing elementary schools in Maricopa County are charter schools. Not bad, and very interesting given that charter schools get less money per pupil. Next, I checked on high schools. Six of the top ten high schools in Maricopa County, were charter schools, including all four of the top four.

Finally, I looked into middle schools. These results were the most impressive of all. The top seven middle schools in Maricopa County are charter schools. Rounding out the top ten is a public school designed to help home-school students, and two magnet schools. In other words, the top ten middle schools are all schools of choice. Not a single traditional public school makes the list.

Charter school supporters should be bursting with pride at having had the fortitude to ignore the predictions of doom that accompanied the passage of charter legislation. The sky didn’t fall, nor was public education destroyed. Instead great schools were made available for kids, and at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Currently, a number of new school choice measures, including scholarship bills for foster children and children with disabilities, and an expansion of the new corporate scholarship tax credits, are being considered in Arizona. If our success with charters is any indication, these ideas could bring untold benefits to Arizona schoolchildren.

Matthew Ladner is director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice and a Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow.

-Goldwater Institute: “Comparison of Traditional Public Schools and Charter Schools on Retention, School Switching, and Achievement Growth”
- Arizona Republic: “Budget plan seeks tax cuts, immigration action”
- New York Times: “Reining in Charter Schools”

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