Evaluation of charter schools in New York City

˙ PREAL Blog

We are pleased to share with you a recent evaluation of charter schools in New York City by Stanford University economist Carolyn Hoxby, along with three articles commenting on the study. Charter schools, which are privately run but publicly financed, are being strongly promoted by President Obama through his administration’s new “Race to the Top” initiative. They tend to have longer school days and academic years, and to pay teachers based on their performance rather than on traditional salary scales. They are also generally required to select their students from applicants via a lottery. Hoxby finds that charter school students in New York City are more often black and/or poor than typical public school students, but do much better in math and reading than comparable students who remain in traditional public schools. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial arguing that Hoxby’s findings also debunk the most common argument against charter schools, which is that they tend to “cream,” or pick and choose the best students from traditional public schools. Michael Petrilli of the Hudson Institute argues that some kind of creaming may actually be taking place, though it may be positive; he suggests that good charter schools are “effectively bringing together high-potential poor and minority kids-particularly those from ‘striving’ families-and creating an environment where they can…succeed.”