Research & Results


Charter Schools and Student Achievement
The New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project is a multi-year study on the effects of charter schools on student achievement. Below are the major points from the Executive Summary. To see the complete study, please click here: http://www.nber.org/~schools/charterschoolseval/.
  • Charter school applicants are much more likely to be black and much less likely to be Asian or white than the average student in New York City's traditional public schools. [Chapter II]
  • Charter school applicants are more likely to be poor than the average student in New York City's traditional public schools. [Chapter II]
  • Charter schools' lotteries appear to be truly random, as they are designed to be. Our tests for randomness are based on students' race, ethnicity, gender, prior test scores, free and reduced-price lunch participation, special education participation, and English Learner status. [Chapter II]
  • Students who actually enroll in charter schools appear to be a random subset of the students who were admitted. [Chapter II]
  • Lottery-based analysis of charter schools' effects on achievement is, by far, the most reliable method of evaluation. It is the only method that reliably eliminates "selection biases" which occur if students who apply to charter schools are more disadvantaged, more motivated, or different in any other way than students who do not apply. [Chapter III]
  • On average, a student who attended a charter school for all of grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86 percent of the "Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap" in math and 66 percent of the achievement gap in English. A student who attended fewer grades would improve by a commensurately smaller amount. [Chapter IV]
  • On average, a lotteried-out student who stayed in the traditional public schools for all of grades kindergarten through eight would stay on grade level but would not close the "Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap" by much. However, the lotteried-out students' performance does improve and is better than the norm in the U.S. where, as a rule, disadvantaged students fall further behind as they age. [Chapter IV]
  • Compared to his lotteried-out counterpart, a student who attends a charter high school has Regents examination scores that are about 3 points higher for each year he spends in the charter school before taking the test. For instance, a student who took the English Comprehensive exam after three years in charter school would score about 9 points higher. [Chapter IV]
  • A student who attends a charter high school is about 7 percent more likely to earn a Regents diploma by age 20 for each year he spends in that school. For instance, a student who spent grades ten through twelve in charter high school would have about a 21 percent higher probability of getting a Regents diploma. [Chapter IV]
  • The following policies are associated with a charter school's having better effects on achievement. We emphasize that these are merely associations and do not necessarily indicate that these policies cause achievement to improve.
    • a long school year;
    • a greater number of minutes devoted to English during each school day;
    • a small rewards/small penalties disciplinary policy;
    • teacher pay based somewhat on performance or duties, as opposed to a traditional pay scale based strictly on seniority and credentials;
    • a mission statement that emphasizes academic performance, as opposed to other goals. [Chapter V]



KidPower
KidPower is an international organization that teaches personal safety and confidence building. The Vanguard School holds KidPower classes throughout the year at the Wahsatch campus. For more information on Colorado Springs KidPower, please visit their website: www.kidpowercs.org. Please visit Kidpower International’s website, www.kidpower.org, for more information on the organization as well as to access free resources on personal safety and confidence building.


A Letter from Irene van der Zande, International Executive Director of KidPower

A new study about violence against children was just released by the U.S. Department of Justice. According to the study director and director of the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, David Finkelhor, Ph.D., "Children experience far more violence, abuse and crime than do adults. If life were this dangerous for ordinary grown-ups, we'd never tolerate it."

The study found that over 60% of the children surveyed were exposed either directly or indirectly to some form of violence in the last year. The results were based on telephone interviews of 4,549 kids and adolescents aged 17 and younger between January and May of 2008. The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence was sponsored by the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, with help from the Centers for Disease Control. Click here for a link to the study.

This report is extremely important because awareness is a critical first step to get people to pay attention to a problem. However, when awareness about an upsetting issue is raised without telling people what to do, anxiety is heightened. Kidpower People Safety Skills prepare adults and children to take charge of the emotional and physical safety of themselves and others.
  1. Put Safety First - ahead of being inconvenienced, embarrassed, or offended - and teach children to do the same. Show children that their safety is more important to you than uncomfortable feelings or a busy schedule. For example, speak up if a family member or friend is teasing a child in an unkind way or forcing affection on a child, even if this person may be embarrassed.
  2. Take charge of children's information "diet" with the same commitment that you protect children from eating spoiled food to protect them from getting sick. This means paying attention to the games they play, movies or television they watch, and what they hear from children and from adults.
  3. Set a good example by modeling positive, powerful adult leadership. Make being mean in any form against the rules of your family, school, and other places children might find themselves. Uphold these rules with the same determination that you would stop people from picking up rocks and throwing them through your windows. If you find yourself or someone you love losing control and acting in a violent way, get help instead of trying to face problems alone. Everyone deserves to be supported in the challenges of parenthood and family life.
  4. Teach children that you want them to come to you for help anytime they feel unsafe because problems should not have to be secrets. Ask them occasionally, "Is there anything you've been wondering or worrying about that you haven't told me?" Listen calmly to their answers without lecturing, and thank them for telling you even if it seems silly to you or you think they did something wrong.
  5. Learn for yourself and then teach your children skills for being emotionally and physically safe with other people and with themselves. Create and practice safety plans for all settings and situations. .