WILL Research Director, Dr. Will Flanders and WILL Writer and Research Associate Cori O’Connor write in the Washington Examiner:
School reformers agree that one essential step to improving education is giving consumers—parents and students—access to better information when choosing a school. To help accomplish this, The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty released its second annual Apples to Apples report Tuesday which compares Forward Exam and ACT test scores of Wisconsin schools across sectors. New this year, is that each school in the state received a ranking which levels the playing field by accounting for the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of students in the school.
Many of the findings that came from the report are similar to what we concluded last year: When appropriate controls are included, schools in the Milwaukee parental choice program, along with charter schools, outperform traditional public schools.
But one interesting new finding was that charter and choice schools are displaying what is called a barbell phenomenon in academic performance: While many choice and charter schools appear at the top of our school performance rankings, many also appear near the bottom.