Advertisement

The Urban Review

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 291–311 | Cite as

Charter Schools and Urban Education Improvement: A Comparison of Newark’s District and Charter Schools

  • Jason M. Barr
  • Alan R. Sadovnik
  • Louisa Visconti
Article

Abstract

This article compares student achievement of fourth graders in charter schools and district public schools in Newark, New Jersey. We find that Newark and New Jersey’s charter schools mirror the educational inequalities of the state as a whole, as well as its Abbott Districts. The data indicate that charter schools are similar to district urban public schools, with pockets of excellence and mediocrity. We measure school performance based on two criteria: actual test score performance, and the difference between actual and predicted performance. We find that some charter schools are able to achieve performance above predicted, given their school and student characteristics, while other schools do worse than predicted. Thus charter schools are not simply a magic bullet, but rather they warrant further investigation to see which practices work and which don’t, especially in a challenging urban setting such as Newark.

Keywords

charter schools educational achievement urban education 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was partially funded by grants to Alan Sadovnik and Kathe Callahan and to Jason Barr from the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Its findings and conclusions are the authors alone and do not reflect the position of the Cornwall Center.

References

  1. Barr, J. M. (2004a). A statistical comparison of charter and public schools in New Jersey. mimeoGoogle Scholar
  2. Barr J. M. (2004b). A statistical portrait of Newark’s schools. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Newark, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  3. Barr, J., Sadovnik, A. R, & Visconti, L. M. (2006). A Comparison Of District And Charter Schools for 4th and 8th Grades in Newark, New Jersey. Rutgers University Newark, Department of Economics Working Paper #2006-002. http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/∼econnwk/papers.htmGoogle Scholar
  4. Center for Educational Reform (2003/2005/2006). About Charter Schools. www.edreform.com/charterschools/Google Scholar
  5. Callahan K., Sadovnik A. R., Visconti L. M. (2002). Performance-based accountability: Newark’s charter school experience. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Newark, N.JGoogle Scholar
  6. Chubb J. E., Moe T. M. 1990. Politics, markets, & America’s schools. The Brookings Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Finn C. E., Manno B. V., Vanourek G. 2000. Charter schools in action. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  8. Hill, P., Lake, R., Celio, M. B., Campbell, C., Herdman, P., Bulkley, K. (2001). A study of charter school accountability (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement). Jessup, MD: U.S. Department of Education, ED PubsGoogle Scholar
  9. Howard, N. F., Rosenberg, B., & Van Meter, N. (2004). Charter school achievement on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers, August. 2004Google Scholar
  10. Hoxby, C. M. (2004). A straightforward comparison of charter schools and regular public schools in the United States. HIER Working Paper. http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/hoxby/papers.htmlGoogle Scholar
  11. Lubienski C., Lubienski S. T. (2006). Charter, private, and public schools and academic achievement: New evidence from NAEP mathematics data. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Miron G., Nelson C. (2001). Student academic achievement in charter schools: What we know and why we know so little. Western Michigan University, The Evaluation Center, MIGoogle Scholar
  13. Miron G., Nelson C. 2002. What’s public about charter schools? Lessons learned about choice and accountability. Corwin Press, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  14. New York Times (2004). Advertisement by critics of the AFT Charter school study. August 2004Google Scholar
  15. RPP International (January 1998). The State of Charter Schools 1998 (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  16. RPP International (January 1999). The State of Charter Schools 1999 (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  17. RPP International (January 2000). The State of Charter Schools 2000 (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  18. RPP International (June 2001). Challenge and Opportunity: The Impact of Charter Schools on School Districts (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  19. Sadovnik A. R., Cookson P.W., Semel S. F. 2006. Exploring education: An introduction to the foundations of education (3 ed.). Allyn and Bacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  20. Schneider M., Teske P., Marschall M. 2000. Choosing schools: Consumer choice and the quality of American schools. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  21. Thernstrom A., Thernstrom S. (2003). No excuses: Closing the racial gap in learning. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Tractenberg, P., Holzer, M., Miller, G., Sadovnik, A., & Liss, B. (2002). Developing a plan for reestablishing local control in the state-operated school districts: A final report to the New Jersey Department of Education (2 Volumes with Appendices). Newark, N.J.: Institute on Education Law and Policy, Rutgers University, www.ielp/rutgers.eduGoogle Scholar
  23. Tractenberg, P., Sadovnik, A., & Liss, B. (2004). Tough choices: An informed discussion of school choice. Newark, NJ: Institute on Education Law and Policy, Rutgers University, www.ielp/rutgers.eduGoogle Scholar
  24. U.S. Department of Education (2006). A closer look at charter schools using hierarchical linear modeling. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of EducationGoogle Scholar
  25. Visconti, L. M. (2003). Charter schools and the common good: A qualitative study of accountability, association and cooperation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia UniversityGoogle Scholar
  26. Wells, A. S. (Ed.) 2002. Where charter school policy fails: The problems of accountability and equity. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, Columbia UniversityGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason M. Barr
    • 1
  • Alan R. Sadovnik
    • 2
  • Louisa Visconti
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsRutgers University-NewarkNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Urban EducationRutgers University-NewarkNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations