University study shows educational gains for charter school students

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A recently released report shows that students in most charter schools in Michigan perform better than their counterparts in traditional public schools.

The independent report, produced by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), found that Michigan charter school students gain two additional months of learning relative to their peers in traditional public schools in reading and math. Gains were even more pronounced for charter schools serving Detroit students.

CREDO has conducted similar studies across the nation, and Michigan’s charter schools demonstrate much greater and more consistent learning gains than national peers.

“While the report does not identify specific schools, we can safely infer that Grand Valley State University-authorized charter schools are a significant component of the success,” said Tim Wood, director of the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office. “Grand Valley charter schools serve nearly 25 percent of the state’s students in enrolled in charter schools, and nearly 30 percent of students enrolled in Detroit-area charter schools.”

35 percent of charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than their traditional public school counterparts in reading. 42 percent of the charter schools studied outperform their traditional public school peers in math. Charter students in Detroit are, on average, gaining nearly three months achievement for each year they attend charter schools.

“We hope that the findings in this report will highlight Michigan’s charter school model, specifically university authorizing,” Wood said. “As a leader in charter school performance in Michigan, Grand Valley’s investment in charter schools should be held up as a model for other states to emulate.”

Grand Valley charter schools serve more than 25,000 students in 51 schools statewide. The university has plans to authorize another eight schools in 2013.