National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ Statement on the 2019 NAEP TUDA Results

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Washington D.C. - The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the following statement on the 2019 NAEP TUDA results:

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress—NAEP, commonly referred to as the Nation’s Report Card—and the related Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), which bores in on performance in certain cities. Overall, the results were not encouraging. As a nation, we are not progressing in the last decade like we did in the one prior. Worse, society is failing our most vulnerable students and the gap they face today is widening. This is not a time to be limiting access to high-quality public school options for students, as some political leaders have suggested. We need more great public schools, including charter schools, so that students have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

“In NAEP and TUDA averages nationally and across various states and cities, charter school results are better, worse, or the same as results from district schools. NAEP and TUDA are not strong barometers for making school comparisons because of the relatively small sample sizes of charter schools included. Even in some of the largest charter school cities, such as New York and D.C., there weren’t enough charter schools included in the samples to make valid comparisons. More informative results come from studies, such as those by CREDO, that seek to isolate charter school attendance as a factor in student academic growth.

The true value in NAEP and TUDA is to identify broad trends for all public schools and uncover areas where indicators are pointing in the right direction. If certain states and cities are doing something right, we should elevate those insights. For instance, in the most recent results, Washington, D.C. schools continued to show improvementnearly reaching national averages after many years spent languishing near the bottom of national rankings. Nearly half of public school students in D.C. attend charter schools, suggesting that district and charter schools have motivated each other to keep improving and striving to meet the diverse learning needs of every student.

The lesson out of D.C. and cities that showed improvement in charter school performance—including Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa—is that our nation should be doing everything we can to help students succeed. Wisdom doesn’t lie solely with any one school district, school model, or school founder. We need to keep encouraging creative and passionate educators to bring their new ideas to public education, open new schools, and give more students the opportunity to attend a public school that sparks a love of learning and prepares them for lifelong success."