Nearby charter schools boost public school performance, researcher says

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  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    March 17, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    This article is hard to believe. I am not surprised the DN would print such an opinion. I hope that all commentors and the DN itself would do some research prior to printing such a misrepresentation of the truth.
    UCAS is the reporting mechanism for our schools. If you go to the USOE site, you will see that charter schools do NOT serve the same percentage of at-risk children as our traditional public schools. Our teachers have been looking at data since the inception of NCLB. Withers is correct. The charter school has nothing to do with this increase.
    I am a teacher with a charter near my school. I don't think twice about that charter except when post October 1 when the students start coming back to my traditional public school. Why? Because the charter keeps the $$$ and suggests to parents that perhaps their child would be better served elsewhere. Something that my school cannot do nor would we consider saying such a thing.
    I would hope that the DN would take a look at the major successes in our tradtional public schools.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 16, 2013 6:52 a.m.


    I don't have kids at charter schools, but I have friends who do, and while I would agree that the typical charter school parent is much more involved in virtually all aspects of their child's life, I would have to disagree with your statement that charter schools have a higher percentage of the children with learning disabilities. Yes their are charter schools that cater specifically to special needs, but overall charters have a lower percentage of these students, and a higher percentage of students in the upper 25% of their peers.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    March 16, 2013 1:18 a.m.

    I don't believe you are accurate regarding more learning disabled kids leaving for charters. Charter schools have about the same % of special education kids as the district schools.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    I don't think too many people who have commented here have kids at a charter school.

    The charter schools attract kids who have parents that are concerned about their education. What that means is that you have a higher proportion of kids with learning disabilities leaving the traditional schools and going to the charter schools.

    So, lets think about it. If you remove the kids that score the lowest on the tests, what do you think will happen to the average scores?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 15, 2013 6:41 a.m.

    Since states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy and education (until fairly recently) is the responsibility of states and local governments, it is baffling how all of our states have adopted the geographic monopoly system that is American public education.

    Even the most socialist countries in the world (e.g., France and Sweden) have more school choice than we do. Sweden's move to a voucher system is now 10 years strong and the results are overwhelmingly positive.

    Sad that in 2013 Sweden's school system looks like something designed by Milton Friedman while ours looks like (and was) something designed by John Dewey. Not sure what to attribute this bizarre state of affairs to other than the power of teachers unions and their faith in a flawed ideology.

    Conservatives should (rightly) be taken to task on many issues because… well frankly, they've gone a bit off the rails lately. But this is one issue where their ideas (vouchers) are correct.

    Now if we could just get them to stop trying to teach creationism in science classes... oh well, one battle at a time.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 15, 2013 6:07 a.m.

    This research really shows nothing. Metisophia accurately points out correlation and causation are two entirely different things. What happened to scores of schools that did not have charter schools within 5 miles? I suspect that those schools also improved. Had they not improved that information would have been included in the study to bolster the argument that charter schools were the source of improvement in traditional schools. If the researcher did not look at all schools in the state or at least a sampling of schools that did not have charter schools within 5 miles, then his research was flawed with the intent to have the research match a preconceived conclusion.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    March 15, 2013 12:29 a.m.

    Don't get excited - we're still a below average performing state in a country ranking near the bottom of industrialized countries. Moving up 1% or 2% is PATHETIC!!!

    Our schools are terrible because we hire the wrong adults. Face it, in 2013 you must pay teachers significantly more money if you want to attract teachers with an IQ over 110. Otherwise, our kids will continue to be taught by people who have significantly less ability than the teachers we had.

    Shame on us.

  • GoBanana PROVO, UT
    March 14, 2013 11:23 p.m.

    Enrollment in charter schools is done by lotteries so saying that the bad kids left the public school system and went to charters really isn't possible. Perhaps kids whose parents put them in the lottery were those whom the public school system was not working for them and they wanted an alternative. As a charter school teacher i had all kids of kids just like in the public schools.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    March 14, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    Orem Parent - help me understand what your comment has to do with the article? What argument are you countering?

    It sounds like you are trying to draw a correlation between demanding parents leaving so the public schools do better?

    Metisophia of course it isn't causation - but the correlation is considered "significant" enough that we ought to be taking next steps to determine impacting variables. And in any case, charter schools are being shown to be beneficial, which many of us have known for years and are excited about others seeing it so education can improve for ALL our kids!

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2013 9:57 p.m.

    Correlation is not causation.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    March 14, 2013 8:46 p.m.

    This is GREAT news! Choice and competition results in higher quality - a simple economic principle as true in education as in widgets!!

    I am not understanding Supt. Withers remarks. He dismisses the findings by saying charters just happened to come into being when all schools were trying hard to improve. How does that explain that the findings? Are we to believe that all the schools near charters just happened to be schools trying harder, and all the schools not near a charter school were not trying harder? Nonsensical. Sour grapes?

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    March 14, 2013 8:32 p.m.

    I'm going to counter this argument. I agree with the results but someone needs to look at who is leaving the public school. I don't want to use too broad of a brush here but in our area, the parents that pulled their kids out of the public school and went to the charter often were the ones that caused a lot of grief for the school and the teachers.