Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

December 17, 2010

Independent Charter Schools in Milwaukee Test Equal to MPS

Filed under: Charter Schools — millerlf @ 6:29 pm

Study finds little difference in achievement between independent charters and MPS

By Becky Vevea of the Journal Sentinel Dec. 16, 2010

The test scores of students at independent charter schools in Milwaukee and those of MPS students are relatively equal in the areas of reading and math, a study released Thursday says.

The report, released by the School Choice Demonstration Project conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Arkansas, compared the 2006-2007 reading and math scores of 2,295 students attending 10 of the 14 independent charter schools in grades 3-8 to a carefully matched sample of 2,295 students from MPS.

When controlling for factors such as switching schools, the scores from students at independent charter schools score the same in reading and math as their counterparts in MPS.

The study also noted that more students in MPS switch schools, which was found to have a negative impact on student achievement gains.

This report is the first of three reports analyzing academic achievement between charter and MPS schools. Milwaukee is one of few cities with both district-run and independent charters. This study only looks at independent charters, such as those run by UW-Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee.

The researchers also released a third report analyzing taxpayer savings from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. They found the net fiscal benefits of the voucher program continue to grow as a result of legislative efforts to reduce the burden on Milwaukee property taxpayers.



  1. Please, let us stop this idiocy of trying to measure public education relative to charter schools. A curriculum devoted to inauthentic teaching and learning, one that treats education as a commodity that must be weighed like hog bellies to measure the indices of slaugther houses is sufficent to induce nausea and stomach failure.

    As long as we are caught in the web of benchmarking learning to corporate tests measuring mumerology based on anorexic bulimic learning for offcial knowlege, we lost the debate.

    Enough of comparing test scores, that are inauthentic in an effort to ‘fight for public education’. We lose this way for we accept the guillotine of test scores and then try to out do them, mandating students to Gitmo pergatory.

    It is time to create the ideological discussion as ro what it means to be edcuated. In the Age of Irrationality whre belief in angels, secret friends, magical thinking, ghosts and other manifestions of totalitarian metaphysics gone wild, we must confront the abication of reason with reason.

    See my book on Charter Schools by Grey House Publishing Co.,where I reduce claims of comparisons with standardized tests to the banality of bureaucarcy that they are.

    This is not the debate we should be having. The debate is about society and what kind of education will address the need for critical thinking and then critical action. Schools are simply obedient camps, the forced edcuational camps the right wing pointed the finger at when they hurled insults at ‘liberal’ eadjustment camps. Tyranny loves the obedient mind for the seeds of authoritarism bloom wehn watered by the purveyors of hate.


    Comment by weilunion — December 18, 2010 @ 6:51 am | Reply

  2. Privatizing as a means of saving money and improving efficiency (in this case, the very limited analysis of learning provided by test scores)rarely turns out to be a good long-term solution.

    Where I live prisons have been privatized. These institutions appear to be superior to government-run prisons, but only because private prison contracts permit them to “choose” prisoners and don’t allow for full transparency. When problems arise, like guard abuse of prisoners or fiscal mismanagement, there’s little recourse. Municipal garbage hauling has also been privatized around here. As soon as cities sold their garbage trucks and fired their workers, private haulers raised prices without providing their employees reasonable pay or benefits.

    It looks like the charter school story is pretty similar. Here in Ohio, White Hat Management, owned by David Brennan, is the largest charter school operator in the state and the third-largest in the U.S. They may have the most dedicated teachers and support staff possible but management is out for the money. Currently 10 White Hat run schools are suing the company hoping to get out of contracts. Why? An attorney for the charter schools comments, “White Hat Management is a for-profit company. Its interest in making a profit often conflicts with the schools’ goal to educate and show student progress. There are no real rules in place to make White Hat fully account for the nonprofit dollars they receive to manage Ohio charters.” A Columbus Dispatch article noted Brennan was making nearly $1 million for each charter school his company operated.

    Public schools aren’t in business nor are they trying to make money. Privatizing opens the most innocent among us, our children, to be used as pawns in a for-profit game.

    Comment by Laura Weldon — December 20, 2010 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: