Mr. Gibbons’ Report Card: Who grades the graders? Did school choice win in the mid-terms?

MrGibbonsReportCardCenter for Reinventing Public Education

The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is an education research and policy analysis think tank at the University of Washington, Bothell. The organization’s research finds statistical support for charter schools and for reforming the way public education is operated and funded.

Back in August, CRPE released a working paper on the impact of charter schools on student achievement. Its meta-analysis of high-quality studies found charters tend to have a small but positive impact on student achievement in math, but no additional impact in reading.

By the end of September, the National Education Policy Center released a review of CRPE’s analysis, calling CRPE’s conclusion “overstated” and “exaggerated” and concluding the report offers “little value for informing policy and practice.” (Readers of this blog may already be familiar with NEPC’s reflexive bias against charter school and school choice studies).

Well, get out your popcorn because CRPE just released a devastating counter-critique. CRPE accuses NEPC of quoting selectively, implying arguments not present, inaccurately presenting the research and several serious technical errors. In total, CRPE counts 26 errors within NEPC’s 9-page analysis.

Grade: Satisfactory


School Choice Movement

Yogi Berra once quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially ones about the future.” While true, it doesn’t stop political pundits from attempting to predict the future based on (sometimes unreliable) exit poll data. Following the drubbing Democrats (and the once powerful education unions) received in the mid-terms, many of those pundits began wondering if education choice would lead minorities, especially African Americans, over to the Republican camp.

Just check out some of the speculation (Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, and Exhibit 3) about how the school choice issue hurt Democrats and helped Republicans (at least in Florida).

But whether Republicans can use education and school choice to win over black voters isn’t the right question. The better, and more important, question is whether the school choice movement can finally win over more Democrats…

Grade: Satisfactory


Uncommon Schools and NYC district teachers

While political and education leaders fight turf wars in New York City, Uncommon Schools, which operates 21 charter schools in the city, hosted a teacher training event for more than 200 district teachers.

Turns out, district teachers and charter teachers don’t fight like cats and dogs. They are all interested in doing their job, and doing it well. “It’s all about core practices and it’s independent of whether a school is a district or charter,” Judy Touzin, a principal at East New York Elementary School of Excellence, told the Wall Street Journal.

It is always great to hear when charter and district schools work together.

Grade: Satisfactory


, , , , , ,

2 Responses to Mr. Gibbons’ Report Card: Who grades the graders? Did school choice win in the mid-terms?

  1. Kevin Welner November 12, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Did you happen to notice that Prof. Lopez responded to that “devastating” critique a week ago? Just scroll a bit further down the page, past the “devastating” critique from CRPE (which NEPC gladly posted):
    Setting aside all the snideness, I do think readers should grab some popcorn and read all four documents: report, review, rebuttal and response. Those who value our review process understand that we learn when we engage with differing perspectives and when challenges are issued and responded to.

    • Patrick R. Gibbons
      Patrick R. Gibbons November 12, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Thanks for sharing. Lopez doesn’t always come off as convincing in her rebuttal. For example, stating that there are positive but statistically insignificant trends is not, as Lopez says, misleading. In another section she basically tells readers that she already explained why and won’t do so again.

      While you are here, will NEPC ever do any negative reviews of studies that find negative results for charters or vouchers? I’ve seen some weak think tank studies on that side but never a review on them by NEPC (Aside from the original CREDO) I could have missed them though.