The voice of California’s charter school movement

5 Things to Know About Stanford University’s “Getting Down To The Facts”

By Vanessa Alessi

Bringing together a ton of really smart people from over 30 institutions, Stanford University recently released the findings of its “Getting Down to Facts” research project that took a hard look at the status of California’s school finance and governance systems.
Researched over a period of 18 months (from September 2005 to March 2007), the project’s findings are addressed across 20 different reports. Instead of focusing on fixing a broken public education system, the reports establish a common ground to address California school finance and governance issues, helping us to first prioritize the issues before we begin figuring out what to do about them.

The reports highlight how charter schools continue to help students in urban areas and traditionally lower performing student groups gain extra weeks and months of learning each year.  In case you cannot get around to reading all 20 of these studies, so we created a quick recap for you here: 

1.)  Latino students who were economically disadvantaged made significantly greater progress in charter schools than their matched peers in traditional public schools.

Economically disadvantaged Latino charter school students received an additional 22 days of reading and 29 more days of math. Overall, these Latino students gain 7 more days of reading than their peers in traditional public schools.

2.)  African American students in general were found to have improved outcomes in charter schools, and the academic progress of African American students in poverty was even more positively affected.

African American  students from economically disadvantaged families gain 36 more days of reading and 43 more days of math when attending charter public schools! On the whole, African American students in California attending charter public schools gain 22 more days of reading and 7 more days of math than their peers in traditional public schools.

3.)  Charter schools provide greater learning gains for students identified as needing special education support.

They gain 14 more days of reading and 7 more days of math!

4.) For English Language Learners, the charter school advantage is particularly large and significant, which is not typical in other states.

 It’s 36 more days of reading and 50 more days of math. That kind of advantage is not typical in other states. 

5.) Charter schools have provided innovations in areas such as use of technology, school structures, and labor relations, according to the report.

 Charter schools are helping students succeed, particularly Latino and African American students living in Los Angeles and Oakland.