Study: Indiana Charter Schools Improve Students' Progress

Bennett: 4-Year Analysis Reinforces State's Plan

A four-year study conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University concluded that students in Indiana's charter schools are achieving more growth than those in traditional schools.

The study, which ran from 2004 to 2008, examined how charter schools in Indianapolis and across the state stacked up against traditional public schools in reading and math skills.

The performance of Indiana charter schools compared favorably to other states studied by CREDO.

"Indiana is at the top of the states in terms of the robust success of their charter sector," said Margaret Raymond, director of CREDO.

Karega Rausch, director of Indianapolis' Office of Educational Innovation, said the study backs up Mayor Greg Ballard's belief in charter schools.

"It reinforces what the mayor has said multiple times, that charter schools are a critical facet for transformational education reform in the city of Indianapolis," Rausch said.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said the study offered validation to what his office would like to see happen in the Legislature.

"There are opportunities for children to get the type of educational experience they need to advance themselves in the 21st century," Bennett said. "Charter schools do not provide the right environment for every student, but they do provide the right environment for some students, and they are driving growth for Indiana students, many of whom are our state’s neediest."

According to the study, 98 percent of charter schools had similar or better academic growth than traditional public schools in reading skills, with 100 percent of charter schools performing at or above the public school level in math.

"You are going to be hearing from other charter enthusiasts from other states who could only wish they had the kind of results that we were able to identify in Indiana," Raymond said.

Read: "> Stanford Report