In her letter to the editor, “Parents key to success of charter schools” on May 8, Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy of N.O. Board Chairwoman Kristine H. Strickland greatly misrepresents the results of a recent Center for Research on Education Outcomes study comparing charter to traditional school performance.
Peer reviews of CREDO’s original 2013 study and its 2015 follow-up have exposed its flawed research methodology. University of California-Santa Barbara Professor Andrew Maul’s review of CREDO’s research, published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, explains CREDO’s seriously flawed unusual research technique that attempts to simulate a controlled experiment.
But regardless of concerns over methodology, Maul points out, “The actual effect sizes reported are very small, explaining well under a tenth of 1 percent of the variance in test scores. To call such an effect ‘substantial’ strains credulity.” Overall, the report fails to provide compelling evidence that charter schools are more effective than traditional public schools.
Moreover, CREDO’s report, much heralded by Louisiana’s superintendent of schools, John White, continues to be the subject of scrutiny by Dr. Barbara Ferguson’s highly respected organization Research on Reforms. Ferguson recently prevailed in her lawsuit that forces White to release the personal student data signed over to CREDO, without parental disclosure or approval, in a 2011 memorandum of understanding so that Research on Reforms can provide its own analysis.
Most alarming is the funding and purpose for the CREDO project. The study was conducted by charter promoter New Schools for New Orleans with the Recovery School District as project partner funded by a federal grant. The memorandum states: NSNO and RSD have embarked on a bold, five-year journey to standardize, validate and export the New Orleans charter restart model … addressing the problem of failing schools by restarting them with schools operated by charter operators. This represents serious conflicts of interest.
The agenda of so-called school reform has always been the privatization of our public school system, which continues to funnel millions of public dollars into private hands.
Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT
retired secondary English, journalism, gifted educator