A new survey of research into charter school effectiveness has linked so-called no-excuses practices in urban charter schools to sizable academic gains.

Published in the Winter 2018 edition of The Future of Children, a journal jointly published by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, the survey found that spending three years in one of these schools produces gains equivalent in size to the nationwide achievement gap between black and white students.

“Charter Schools and the Achievement Gap” is notable because it identified similar findings in major studies that used differing methodologies and drew on several kinds of data. It defines no-excuses policies as longer school days and years, use of student assessment data in the classroom, rigorous discipline, and frequent observation of teachers, among other strategies.

Simply asserting that a no-excuses approach is effective is likely to fan the flames of controversy. The phrase was coined to suggest that educators in these schools would not accept rationalizations for the achievement gap — but critics typically depict the schools as rigid places where children face unreasonable disciplinary practices and are constantly drilled in preparation for standardized tests.

Those practices, survey author Sarah Cohodes of Columbia University’s Teacher College asserts, can be transferred successfully to traditional district schools. “I think the question on the ground is, charters are going to continue to exist, so given that, what can be learned from them?” she told The 74. “There is a lot of power in focusing in what has worked.”

Read the full article about the success of charter schools by Beth Hawkins at The 74.