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Yet Another Study Shows Charters Do No Better Than Public Schools


Poster advocating support of charter school legislation in Georgia. (Photo by John S. Quarterman)
Poster advocating support of charter school legislation in Georgia. (Photo by
John S. Quarterman)

By Valerie Strauss
An examination of every score that Chicago students earned on state-mandated standardized tests last year reveals that charter schools — which Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has been promoting — don’t perform any better than traditional public schools.

The analysis, conducted by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Medill Data Project at Northwestern University, reviewed the 2013 scores of nearly 173,000 students in the traditional school district as well as more than 23,000 students in charter schools and a very small group enrolled at contract schools. (Contract schools are run by private organizations under a contract with the Chicago Public Schools system, while charter schools are considered public schools that are run by private entities under a contract with a school district.)

The results are especially interesting in light of the big push Emanuel has made to increase the number of charter schools in the city even after he closed nearly 50 traditional schools last year in the largest mass school closing in U.S. history. Today there are more than 130 charters in Chicago and more are scheduled to open this year, and nearly one of every seven Chicago public school students attends charters or other schools run by private entities, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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