As charter schools continue to proliferate across the country, a new study finds that they are offering benefits for students with disabilities.
In a report out this week, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University compared the performance of students at charters with that of students attending traditional public schools in 25 states, the District of Columbia and in New York City. The analysis is an update to a similar report issued in 2009.
Overall, the study finds that charters are improving, particularly when it comes to often-underserved groups like poor and minority students and those with disabilities.
To assess students in special education, researchers compared those attending charters to students at traditional public schools by matching children who started out testing at the same level in order to mitigate the influence of their disability. Then, they looked at standardized test results from the same students years later to determine which schools they fared better in.
While gains in reading were similar for the two groups, the report found that special education students at charters saw greater advances in math, equivalent to 14 extra days of learning.