New Report Finds California's Charter Schools Get Results for Urban and Historically Underserved Students, Raises Urgent Need to Address Statewide School District Financial Crises

September 17, 2018

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 17, 2018

Media Contact:
Brittany Parmley
bparmley@ccsa.org
916-221-8588

New Report Finds California's Charter Schools Get Results for Urban and Historically Underserved Students, Raises Urgent Need to Address Statewide School District Financial Crises

Sacramento, CA - Today, researchers from Stanford University released a new report, "Getting Down to Facts II" (GDTFII), broken down into 36 studies and 19 research briefs. The reports highlighted 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. Additionally, the report names multiple financial crises that are crippling the ability of school districts throughout the state to serve students, including lack of funding a for school facilities, insufficient funding for special education and skyrocketing pension and benefits costs.

"Getting Down to Facts II reiterates findings from previous research that California's charter schools are successfully increasing students' learning, particularly for California's low income and minority youth. Greater progress and stronger learning gains for African American, Latino, students with disabilities and English learners are key areas of strength for California charter schools," said Elizabeth Robitaille, Senior Vice President of School Performance, Development & Support at the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). "The research also found that the lowest performing charter schools are closing at rates higher than in other states, demonstrating that charters are accountable for their results."

Highlighting the critical need for greater transparency and accountability across California's public education system, the report also focused on special education funding which has remained flat, while the number of students with disabilities, and the costs to serve them, have continued to increase in both charter and traditional public schools. Since this funding operates outside of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) framework, it is not responsive to student needs at the local level. While progress has been made in this area, there are more opportunities to solving these challenges working collaboratively.

"Our students, particularly those with disabilities and those with the highest needs, are in desperate need of additional funding," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA. "For too long, special education and facilities funding has been a major obstacle for all public schools, including charter schools. Soaring pension costs are crippling our schools' abilities to put students first. These issues deserve our urgent attention to ensure students are given the opportunities they need to excel during and after school."

Researchers revisited a 2014 report by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) that found California's charter schools continue to get strong results, particularly in urban areas. Charter school highlights include:

  1. Students who were economically disadvantaged, especially those who were African American or Latino, made significantly greater progress in charter schools than their matched peers in traditional public schools.
  2. Black 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.
  3. Charter schools provide greater learning gains for students identified as needing special education support.
  4. For English Language Learners, the charter school advantage is particularly large and significant, which is not typical in other states.
  5. Charter schools serve a diverse student population and serve more students who are economically disadvantaged, African American and white than the state as a whole.

About California's Charter Schools
California's charter schools are public schools built to put the needs of students first. Public, free, and open to all, charter schools are a growing and valuable part of our public education. They offer a different approach --one that is as unique as the kids they serve, one that puts kids above bureaucracy, and one that gives passionate teachers the flexibility to create dynamic lesson plans tailored to kids' individual needs. As a result, charter schools send more kids to college and are preparing more kids for the jobs of tomorrow. Learn more here.