Biggest gains for charter schools in year 2 of operation
Atlanta, GA (June 29, 2012) — The Spring 2012 Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results released by the Georgia Department of Education this week show strong academic performance by state authorized charter schools. These are public schools originally approved the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, Georgia’s former alternate authorizer of charter schools.
“State approved public charter schools serve nearly 15,000 students in Georgia. They are demonstrating strong academic results and living up to the promises of their charters. These schools allow communities across our state to reap the rewards of having wider options in public K-12 education,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association CEO, Tony Roberts.
Rural charter school demonstrates excellence
In rural Edison, GA, Pataula Charter Academy is a Title I school that serves students from five, economically disadvantaged counties in the southwest corner of the state. The school saw 91.9% of their students meet or exceed standards in Reading, out-achieving all district averages for the area.
These are the very same school districts – Baker, Calhoun, Clay, and Early – that denied Pataula’s original charter application in 2010.
Results for the Math section were even more impressive. 91.3% of Pataula students met or exceeded standards on the Math section of the CRCT, exceeding area school districts by 6.7%, 9.7%, 11.8% and 30%.
Gains for African-American boys
Fulton Leadership Academy (Georgia’s first all-boys public charter school), located in South Fulton County, also demonstrated outstanding academic results in its second year of operation.
The Title I school, which serves 100% African American students, out-achieved Fulton County and the state, with 97.2% and 92.9% of students passing the Reading and Math respectively.
Ironically, Fulton County Schools recently denied Fulton Leadership Academy’s charter application to be authorized by district. Fulton County’s denial contended that Fulton Leadership Academy does not offer the district a “unique academic program,” despite its strong academic results.
Year-one “good, but not good enough” for Ivy Prep Girls
In its very first year of operation, The all-girls Ivy Preparatory Academy Girls School, located in the Kirkwood community of DeKalb County, out-achieved DeKalb County Public Schools on both the Reading and Math sections of the Spring 2012 CRCT by 3.2% and 1.9% respectively.
Yet Nina Gilbert, Head of School for Ivy Preparatory Academy Girls School, wasn’t satisfied with the results. “While we are very proud of our girls in our first year of operation in DeKalb, and we know we are on the right path, we are far from where we ultimately need to be academically.” DeKalb County Schools denied Ivy Preparatory Academy’s charter application in 2011.
Students who did not meet or exceed standards on the Spring 2012 CRCT were provided a retake of the test in the weeks following the end of the 2011-2012 school year. All retake exams are included in the GA DOE results.
Biggest gains made over time
State approved charter schools, most of which are in their first or second year of operation, are showing strong positive growth in almost all academic areas. This is consistent with years of research on student performance indicating that charter schools do better over time.
In a widely quoted 2004 study, “Achievement in Charter Schools and Regular Public Schools in the United States: Understanding the Differences” by Harvard University economist Carline Hoxby, public charter schools were compared to their nearest traditional public schools. The study, which reviewed the performance of nearly every charter elementary school student in the country, found charter students were more likely to be proficient in both reading and math than traditional public school students.
More significantly, the study demonstrated that the longer a charter school was in operation, the better the results. Students who attended charter schools nine years old or more showed the largest gains.
- Fulton Leadership Academy
97.2% meets and exceeds standards in reading (0.3% increase from 2010-2011)
92.9% meets and exceeds standards in math (22% increase from 2010-2011)
- Atlanta Heights Charter School
83.3% meets and exceeds standards in reading (8.0% increase from 2010-2011)
67.8% meets and exceeds standards in math (8.5% increase from 2010-2011)
- Coweta Charter Academy
98.4% meets and exceeds standards in reading (6.7% increase from 2010-2011)
88.7% meets and exceeds standards in math (22.0% increase from 2010-2011)
- Pataula Charter Academy
91.3% meets and exceeds standards in math (22.8% increase from 2010-2011)
Significant First-year Performance
- Cherokee Charter Academy
96.6% meets and exceeds standards in reading (statistically comparable to Cherokee Co.)
86.1% meets and exceeds standards in math
- Heritage Prep Academy
97.1% meets and exceeds standards in reading