The Legislature’s Joint House-Senate Committee on Education has been presented with the findings of research on the performance of charter schools in Kansas City and St. Louis. Test Scores from students attending 19 schools in Kansas City and 13 in St. Louis were compared to scores from students in regular schools in those cities and with scores from across the state.
“It [the requirement] asked for a comparison of how these schools are doing relative to the St. Louis and Kansas City public schools as well as to the state,” said Stacey Pries, Executive Director of the Committee. “That was specifically mentioned in the statutes. So, that’s just what we wanted to do is give the committee a picture of what the charter school performance looks like.”
Some charter schools performed better than non-charter schools, while other charter schools did not perform as well. Still others showed no significant difference. The results provide an opportunity for further investigation and, according to Preis, the chance to ask at least one obvious question:
“Now that we can look at which of the schools are performing higher than we would have expected … why are they?”
While this research does not take any position on whether charter schools are better than other public schools, it does provide information for additional conversation.
“I think it does help us isolate the ones are performing better and figure out what they’re doing and try to replicate it,” said Preis. “And then with the ones that aren’t performing well, either what we can do get them on track or taking a serious look at their charter.”
The hearing was for information purposes only. No legislation is being considered at this time.