ON-Lion Letter

"Charter schools were designed to be public schools that facilitate educators' efforts to navigate around bureaucratic inefficiencies and the influence of labor unions in traditional public schools," begins a May policy brief from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) in Milwaukee.  "But while these schools, and school choice in general, have a long and rich history in Milwaukee, there is still much room for expansion and improvement across the Badger State.  For years, legislators have prioritized traditional public schools, which tend to be one-sized-fits-all, over independent public charter schools.  But, which model is the best for our children?

"In order to help answer this question," continues "Growth and Gaps:  Comparing different types of public schools in Wisconsin," WILL education research director Marty Lueken "conducted an econometric analysis to evaluate how all Wisconsin public charter schools compared to traditional public schools throughout the state."

Specifically,  Lueken "compared schools' student growth and achievement gap scores.  The 'student growth' measure assesses each school on 'students' progress toward higher performance levels and any student declines below the Proficient level,'" as described by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  "The 'achievement gaps' measure evaluates each school 'based on the rate of change in student achievement and graduation from one year to the next among key student groups,'" as described by DPI.

"Independent charter schools, i.e. those authorized by entities other than school districts," according to WILL's research, "scored significantly higher on all student growth and achievement gaps measures than traditional public schools throughout Wisconsin" and "[p]ublic charter schools authorized by school districts ... scored significantly higher than traditional public schools on all Report Card student growth measures."

Plus, "virtual charter schools authorized by the district," WILL finds, "received higher grades for student growth, especially for reading, than traditional public schools."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports WILL.

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