The Kids Are Alright
Mathematica public policy research just released a high-quality, rigorous evaluation of the Ewing Marion Kauffman charter school in Kansas City. The results are out of sight.
From the report:
- In Math, after 3 years in the school, students have learned 1.35 years more material than their peers, moving on average from the 36th percentile to the 58th percentile in achievement. Those gains represent 57 percent of the gap between white and black students in Kansas City.
- In reading, after 3 years in the school, students have learned 1.29 years more material than their peers, moving on average from the 39th percentile to the 55th percentile in achievement. Those gains represent 45 percent of the gap between white and black students in Kansas City.
- The results for the Kauffman school are better than the average results for the much-vaunted Boston and New York City charter schools as well as the successful KIPP charter school network.
This is great news, and it’s not like the school is cherry-picking some privileged subset of kids. Eighty-six percent of the students at the school qualify for free or reduced lunch (compared to a KCPS average of 92%). Seventy-nine percent of the students are black (compared to 59 percent in KCPS). Twenty percent had even been suspended at least once by 4th grade (compared to 17 percent in KCPS).
The Kauffman school puts to lie the notion that the black kids of Kansas City cannot learn. They can. What we need to do is work to create more schools like Kauffman, and allow charter schools like Kauffman the freedom to operate outside of the narrow KCPS district boundaries to give our children and their families more and better options city-wide.