A new, randomized study funded by the federal government compared the outcomes of students who won the admissions lottery at one of 36 popular charter middle schools in 15 states with those who entered the lottery and lost.
The findings? The lottery winners were no more likely to see improvements in grades, attendance, behavior or state reading and math test scores during the next two years than those who didn’t get into those charter schools (who, in many cases, attended the much larger, neighborhood middle schools).
With one caveat: Poor kids in urban areas did seem to get a leg up in math during the second year.
The thing is, parents of charter school lottery winners were far more likely (by 33 percentage points) to rate their schools as excellent, and the kids were more satisfied, too. They were 13 percentage points more likely to say they “like school a lot” than those who lost out on the lottery and attended other schools.
What do you make of that?