The Los Angeles Times‘ Howard Blume reports on a new charter study done at UC Berkeley:

Students who enter Los Angeles charter schools are more academically advanced than their peers in traditional public schools, according to a study released Monday by researchers at UC Berkeley.

Charter students in middle schools also stand out academically after they enroll in charters, making faster gains than similar students in traditional schools, according to the study.

The findings add more fuel to the debate over charters but stops well short of settling the question of whether these schools are more effective at educating students.

Charter school performance has come under scrutiny recently as a group of advocates and donors, spearheaded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, developed a proposal to enroll half of L.A. Unified School District students in charters. The plan, if pursued, could threaten the solvency of the school system, some district officials say…

…Charter supporters have cited other research using Los Angeles data to assert that these schools provide a better education. But if students already are academically superior when they enter, that claim is undermined. The research also raises the question of whether some charter operators are trying to enroll higher-achieving students or trying to exclude those less likely to perform well…

Continue reading on the LA Times website.

Diane Ravitch comments on the charter study and Blume’s report:

…What are the lessons for public schools? Remove the students with behavioral problems; remove the students who are unmotivated; remove the students with severe disabilities; remove the students with low test scores; limit the number of English language learners to those who are nearly fluent. That’s a formula for success. In a school where everyone is motivated, well-behaved, and ready to learn, students get higher test scores…

Read Ravitch in full.