A recent study of Tennessee charter schools conducted by a University of Memphis professor (and principal investigator for the statewide evaluation program) reveals that these public schools operated independently of local school boards and their educational philosophies are working in Tennessee.I've found the University of Memphis' Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) research page but I'm not exactly sure which of these is the one referred to in this Business Tennessee opinion piece. I've emailed Dr. Ross asking for a copy or the URL.
Steven M. Ross, director of the Center for Research in Educational Policy at U of M charted the academic progress (among other criteria) of children enrolled in second-year charter schools in Tennessee, comparing their academic data to highly similar individual students attending traditional public schools in Tennessee. The results? According to Ross’ student-to-student comparisons, charter school students and their parents are experiencing a significant, statistically measurable academic advantage over their peers in traditional public schools. The data paints a considerably different picture than national studies overly reliant on mere test score discrepancies between charter students and the general population. (emphasis added)
Business Tennessee goes on to opine:
Arguably, the infusion of more free market options into our state’s educational system would markedly improve the business friendliness of every community in the state. And based on our educational rankings to date, what has Tennessee got to lose?I whole heartedly agree. I regularly get email from people who, for business reasons, are moving to the area. Tennessee is surrounded by 8 other states and these people frequently have the option of living in other states even if their job is in Tennessee. These people are researching the best education options for their children and tell me that they will decide where to live based, largely, on the education freedom and choices available. Let's give them another good reason to locate in Tennessee.
UPDATE: 3/1/07 2:59 p.m. This from Dr. Ross of CREP:
The study is commissioned for and owned by TN DOE. So, we turn it into them, but aren’t privileged to release copies.I've left a message for Tn DOE Communications Director Rachel Woods asking how I could obtain a copy.