Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brett Paiser on CREDO's CMO Study

Here’s a letter from the CEO of Uncommon Schools, Brett Paiser:

Hello, Uncommon Friends and Supporters-

Last week, CREDO - a research organization at Stanford that has done a number of charter school studies - released a study of the performance of 167 charter management organizations (CMOs) across the country from 2005-2010.  The goal of the study was to answer whether charter operators can scale up while maintaining quality and whether it is possible to determine a school's long-term quality even within its first few years. 

Within the study is a rigorous analysis of Uncommon's performance - and it's incredibly positive.  While the findings of the study are mixed for CMOs overall, the study highlights Uncommon as proof that "it IS possible to take innovation to scale and maintain a focus on quality," finding specifically that:

  • Uncommon low-income students performed so well in math and reading that the effects of being at an Uncommon school "completely cancel out the negative effect associated with being a student in poverty."
  •  Low-income students who attend an Uncommon school on average grow as much or more than their non-low-income peers attending traditional public schools.
  • In math, students of color who attend an Uncommon school had on average more significant academic growth than white students at traditional public schools.
  • Our special education students experienced academic growth almost as strong as general education students in traditional public schools.

We've included some of the summary statements about Uncommon's performance - pulled directly from the report - below.  The full report can be found here  (Uncommon is profiled on pp. 85-89 of Volume II while the Executive Summary captures the study's conclusions).  The New York Times also ran an editorial on the study this past weekend in which we are mentioned, largely focusing on its findings of varying charter school quality overall and the relevant policy implications.

These positive findings are a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone across Uncommon, past and present.  As a data- and results-driven organization, we know that while achievement statistics aren't the only important measure of our impact on students' lives, they are critical indicators of success in our mission of preparing our students for college.  Independent, external confirmation of the impact of our work is validating not only for us, but also as a proof point for the larger movement that we are proud to be part of - a movement that believes that all students deserve a high-quality education, and that great teachers and great schools can change lives.

Thank you for the continued support that you provide on behalf of the nearly 8,000 students in our 32 schools.

Brett Peiser
Chief Executive Officer
Uncommon Schools

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