It’s not because of skimming

Last month, the Express-News ran an article reporting on a study by Dr. Ed Fuller claiming that charter schools enroll “advantaged” students and that explains charter schools’ success. Here is my critique of the “skimming” argument. (Scroll down for Dr. Fuller’s comments in which, among other things, he exhorts me to “stop drinking the kool-aid.”)

From today’s paper, here is a rebuttal from Victoria Rico, a trustee of the George W. Brackenridge Foundation:

Studies by researchers at MIT, Harvard, Duke, Columbia, Stanford, Mathematica and the University of Michigan have shown that in high performing charters, lottery winners get about four extra years worth of education by the time they complete high school as compared to the kids who lost the lottery.

“Charter schools don’t skim top students”, Victoria Rico, San Antonio Express-News, September 17, 2012.

Hear, hear!

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  1. Ms. Rico does not understand that skimming does NOT have to be an intentional act. Just because the lottery is random does not preclude charters from having higher achieving students entering than comparison traditional public schools. This simply shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the research and how charters can have lotteries but still attract and enroll a higher achieving group of students.Those applying to charters are higher achieving. While the lottery randomly selects kids, the lottery will randomly select higher performing kids if the pool of kids in the lottery is higher performing than kids not entering the lottery. I don;t understand why people are having difficulty understanding that a lottery does not equalize characteristics between those in the lottery pool and the pool of kids not entering the lottery.

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