Apples-to-Apples – Charter Public Schools vs. Non-Selective Public Schools

Mar 27, 2017

Misinformation on charter public school performance is circulating in abundance in the Missouri legislature and on social media. Illogical data comparisons are being made and charter public schools are being unfairly portrayed.

To accurately analyze charter public school performance, data must be compared “apples-to-apples.” In the case of St. Louis and Kansas City, charters should be compared in performance to their non-selective counterparts. For St. Louis this means comparing charters to St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) excluding magnet schools and for Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) excluding their signature schools. Unlike charter schools, magnet and signature schools require students to test-in, show high grades on transcripts, show little to no history of behavior problems and in some cases require a rigorous interview process and portfolio submission.

The schools that are required to accept all students are the traditional KCPS and SLPS schools and all charter public schools in each of the two cities. There are no selective charter schools in the entire country.

In order to compare student achievement, CEAM has put together four PDFs comparing charter public schools’ math and reading scores to those of traditional public schools.

Reading Highlights:

  • Charter schools represent 9 of the top 10 reading scores in St. Louis.
  • The bottom 14 reading scores all come from SLPS schools.
  • The top 15 reading scores in Kansas City ALL come from charter schools.

ELA Charter & SLPS

ELA Charter & KCPS

Math Highlights:

  • Charter schools represent 7 of the top 10 math scores  in St. Louis.
  • Of the schools that score in the bottom 10 in math in St. Louis only one is a charter.
  • Charter schools represent 9 of the top 10 math scores in Kansas City.

Math Charter vs SLPS

Math Charter & KCPS