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New ‘charter schools vs. public school’ research

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There’s a new study on how students enrolled in Indianapolis charter schools do on standardized tests compared to public school students.  

The numbers will be presented to City-County Council members Tuesday night, but News 8 has an early look at the report.

The author from IUPUI and co-author of this study, Hardy Murphy, says it’s important to push aside the debate and figure out what’s best for kids.

For years, Indianapolis has had a school-choice model network of charter schools throughout Indianapolis called the mayor-sponsored charter schools. This study compared only students who enrolled in one of those 43 schools or a traditional public school from kindergarten through 5th grade.

Students were left out of the study if they had transferred to a charter school. Overall, fourth- and fifth-grade ISTEP outcomes for students continuously enrolled in a mayor-sponsored charter school were better than ISTEP outcomes for students continuously enrolled in a traditional public school in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

For Murphy, it isn’t about which is best.  

“What this is about for me is not having this discussion whether or not public school vs. charter school but having a discussion about the characteristics of schooling that results in students success,” said Murphy. “If we can resolve this issue and not continue to debate about one another were talking about how to ensure that both are successful wherever a parent chooses to go.” 

The study looked at students from across the state not just in the Indianapolis area. Professor Hardy, along with his colleague, will present the study to the city-county council education committee Tuesday night

They are also scheduled to present it at the 2019 Conference on Academic Research in Education in Las Vegas.