Washington Post Bashes Detroit Charters Citing Study That Praises Detroit Charters

Conor P. Williams, a senior researcher in education policy at the think tank known as New America, claims to be a fan of school choice, but with exceptions. His Washington Post op-ed carries the title “School choice is great. Betsy DeVos’s vision for school choice is not.” In the article, the scholar says Detroit charters are “underperforming with little accountability” and “are a pretty good example of how not to do it.”

He adds:

Fortunately, school choice programs can be much more brighter, better and bolder than DeVos’s limited vision. Cities like Boston, New York — where I taught first grade in a charter school — Newark and Washington — where my two children attend a charter — have used school choice policies to give low- and middle-income families more educational options. … Charter schools in these cities pace the nation when it comes to raising student achievement.

ForTheRecord says: This education expert should have researched his source. The link in the excerpt of his article goes to a study of charter schools in 41 urban communities done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. And it does indeed give good marks to charter schools in Boston, Newark and Washington, D.C. But Williams apparently missed that the study gave high marks to Detroit charters.

CREDO concludes: “Charter schools in Boston, Detroit, the District of Columbia and Newark stand out for meeting the dual standard in both math and reading. These four communities of charter schools provide essential examples of school-level and system-level commitments to quality that can serve as models to other communities.”

There have been three studies that compared Detroit charters to traditional public schools. All have found that charters significantly outperform district schools.