James V. Shuls, Ph.D.
This is the second of four posts on the subject of Missouri charter school performance. In my previous post, I showed that charter schools have displayed increasing performance over the past five years in both Kansas City and Saint Louis. And, in both cities, charter schools are performing at similar levels in communication arts as the traditional school districts. The math results are even more promising for charter schools.

Charter schools in Saint Louis and Kansas City have shown growth every year since 2009. Since 2008, the percent of students proficient or advanced in Saint Louis charters schools has grown 77 percent; in Kansas City charters it has increased 55 percent. Students in Kansas City charter schools now outperform students in Kansas City traditional public schools by 8.9 percentage points. The gains were slightly less pronounced in Saint Louis. Nevertheless, the difference in terms of percent proficient and advanced dropped from 6.1 percentage points in 2011 to 0.5 percentage points in 2012. The closing of the gap came not only from charter school gains, but also from a drop in Saint Louis public school scores.

Charter and Traditional Public School Performance in Math


There is still much to be desired in terms of overall performance of charter schools. But, unlike traditional public schools, which may be perennially failing yet remain open, charter schools can close if they are low-performing. Indeed, we have seen this in practice in Missouri with the closing of the Imagine charter school network. In my next post, I will examine the student achievement scores without the Imagine schools data.

About the Author

James Shuls
James Shuls

James V. Shuls is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Distinguished Fellow in Education Policy at the Show-Me Institute.