Today’s education media is awash with stories about a new study saying that students who attend a KIPP charter school are more likely to attend college than those who do not attend their schools:
Students who attended a KIPP middle school a decade ago were 13 percentage points more likely to enroll in college as a result, according to a new study of the country’s largest nonprofit charter school network.
What this research misses, however, is what author Robert Pondiscio – charters in effect “cherry-pick” the parents of their students (see The Best Line Ever That Explains A Key “Advantage” Charters May Have Over Regular Public Schools).
Even charters who use lotteries to select students end up with either the most engaged or in more advantageous socio-economic situations (for example, as Pondiscio points out, two-parent families are more likely to be able to meet parent participation requirements).
With those built-in advantages, of course their students are going to have higher rates of college participation than schools like ours.
As I said in my post about Pondiscio’s book, that doesn’t meant they shouldn’t exist.
But it does seem to mean to me, at least, that unfair comparisons shouldn’t be made.
What do you think?
I’m adding this info to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.
I don’t think it’s quite fair to say charter “cherry-pick their parents.” Parents do the choosing. The act of volition implies (to me) a level of engagement that offers charter *some* level of advantage over schools with comparable populations and NON choosers. But cherry-picking (a term I used in my book and now regret) implies that charters are actively deciding who to admit and who not to admit. That’s not accurate and overstates their advantage.