While the Florida media are obliged to publish whatever conclusions that the hacks at the FLDOE Bush Foundation release , Dr. Stanley Smith of UCF has emerged as a counterweight to their predictable everything is just swell fluff. Gina Jordan of StateImpact has Dr. Smith’s comparison of charter schools to public schools from Florida’ just released high school grades.
Smith examined 491 high schools. 46 of them are charter schools.
He says that at first glance, the average scores suggest charters are the stronger performers.
“Without any adjustments for poverty or minority status, it appears that the charter high schools perform better by a statistically significant difference of 4.37 percent,” Smith said.
But he says this is misleading because charter schools serve a higher percentage of minority students and a lower percentage of students in poverty.
Smith says that if you look at minorities alone without any income adjustment, they have a negative effect on scores. But he argues that most or all of that negative effect by minorities is really an income effect and when you control for income levels in schools, minorities actually improve school scores.
“When the income level and minority status is controlled, the difference between charters and non-charters decreases from 4.37 to 0.43 percent, which is not a statistically significant difference,” Smith said.
“These adjusted results indicate that high school charters perform as well, but not significantly different, as high school non-charters,” Smith said.
He says the change in results means the difference between the school grades of charters and non-charters “should not be considered valid in Florida if income level and minority status are not both controlled.”