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Florida Charter Schools Crush the Ball on 2013 NAEP Reading

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

I love celebrating the improvement in Florida’s public schools, and it was great to see Florida get back on track in the 2013 NAEP with gains more than twice the national average. This year, while all Florida public schools can celebrate gains, Florida’s public charter schools have the most to celebrate.

Overall, Florida charter schools scored an 11 point gain on 4th grade reading between 2011 and 2013, and a 5 point 8th grade reading gain. These are very impressive gains. The reading advantage for charter schools remains substantial even after taking student characteristics into account.



Florida’s charter schools crushed the ball on the 2013 NAEP.  The numbers in the following chart compare district and charter schools on 4th and 8th grade reading. In order to get as close as possible to an “apples to apples” comparison, the chart focuses on students qualifying for a Free or Reduced price lunch according to federal income guidelines, and only includes general education students.

The scores for these general education low-income students showed gains similar to the overall sample of Florida charter students. In both 4th and 8th grade reading, charter students show a substantial advantage to their district peers despite the fact that the districts have also improved.

We haven’t yet hit that grand slam to all kids scoring proficient, but this news is worth singing a round of Sweet Caroline, for sure.

Congratulations to Florida’s charter school students, parents, teachers, and administrators for crushing the ball in reading in 2013!

About the author

Dr. Matthew Ladner @MatthewLadner

Dr. Matthew Ladner is the Senior Advisor of Policy and Research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He previously served as Vice President of Research and Goldwater Institute. Prior to joining Goldwater, Dr. Ladner was director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice. Dr. Ladner has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform. Most recently, Dr. Ladner authored the groundbreaking, original research Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education, outlining the future funding crisis facing America’s K-12 public education funding. He also coauthors the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform. Dr. Ladner has testified before Congress, the United States Commission of Civil Rights and numerous state legislative committees. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. Dr. Ladner is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Educational Choice. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.