Recapping the Hoxby Lecture
On Tuesday night, the Show-Me Institute and Saint Louis University were thrilled to host Dr. Caroline Hoxby for a lecture detailing recent research about the promise of charter schools. In a nutshell, Hoxby reviewed the data collected in recent years from charter schools in New York and Chicago — and the news is very good! Charter schools as a whole are proving to be an effective means of improving student achievement, regularly accomplishing greater gains than other types of school reform.
Hoxby explained that one of the things setting her research apart from other studies is that her design allows for comparison of groups of students that are statistically indistinguishable. This is possible because charter schools in New York and Chicago assign placement by random lottery when they have more applicants than they do seats (which happens frequently). Student trying to get into charter schools are very similar in terms of race, socioeconomic status, parental education and motivation, and previous academic performance. Thus, the only ready difference between the students is whether they won the lottery for charter school placement, or whether they were forced to remain in the traditional school system.
Hoxby’s research has revealed that the charter students in these two cities reliably demonstrate better academic progress than those who remain in traditional public schools. Because many of these students were already academically far behind at the time they entered charter schools, their test scores may continue to lag behind those of the average public school student during the short term. But research shows that, over time, charter school students can be expected to close the achievement gap and eventually outperform their peers who stay in traditional public schools.
The Show-Me Institute videotaped Tuesday’s lecture, and as soon as we are able we will post the video on our website so that everyone can enjoy Dr. Hoxby’s presentation. Stay tuned!