NYT: Charter Schools Suck. And Bush, Too.

The New York Times says charter schools suck (I paraphrase):
“The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students often doing worse than comparable students in regular public schools.
The findings, buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement, dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement, including the Bush administration…”

In response, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige turns to the Gray Lady and delivers a bureaucratic bitchslap:
The New York Times’ front-page ‘analysis’ of charter schools used faulty methodology to come up with a flawed conclusion. In other words, it was wrong…
Who’s right? Beats me. But I am very curious about what the data really shows; may do some digging to form my own judgement. As the guy with the flashy light says, ‘Developing…’
Update: More from Joanne Jacobs and Eduwonk, who says:
Most importantly, though, when one controls the data for race it turns out there is no statistically significant difference between charter schools and other public schools. But, you’ll search in vain in the Times story for that information. In fact, to the contrary, a chart accompanying the story fails to offer readers any significance tests for the numbers they’re looking at, inaccurately indicating that there are significant differences by race.
Hat Tip: Pejman
Update Again: Kaus is also jumping ugly on the Times.