Yesterday I pointed out the Seattle Times editorial board's embarrassing record of hypocrisy when it comes to embracing or dissing the notion of "the will of the people," depending on whether the editors agree or disagree with that will as expressed at the polls—this time in regards to charter schools.
Nationally, about 20 percent of charter schools have been found to do a better job of educating students than public schools.
The editors don't cite their source, but there is only one large scale evaluation of the relative performance of charter schools—"Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States"—conducted by Stanford University in 2009, and that is the study from which this "about 20 percent" figure is widely drawn in the media. And yes, the study does show that "about 20 percent" of charter schools do better... if by "about" you mean rounding up 3 points in your favor.
"The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students. Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide (46 percent) have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools."
Get that? It's a net loss! 17 percent of charter schools do better, 46 percent about the same, and 37 percent do "significantly worse." But the Seattle Times doesn't bother giving their readers that latter number, because that would counter their own advocacy for privatizing public schools. It's a lie of omission, but a lie nonetheless.
To be clear, I could have headlined this post "About 40 Percent of Charter Schools Do Worse than Public Schools," and been just as accurate as the Seattle Times.