Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Promise of Charters and the Evidence

1. Student Achievement:
To what extent do charters improve student achievement in terms of reading, math, graduation/drop out/push out, and college going?

The best evidence comes from the CERDO study (Stanford University).  Most charters do as well as or less well than traditional public schools on achievement tests.  More specifically, only 17% out perform local schools. However, nearly half of the charters nationwide have results that are no different that those of public schools, while more than a third (37%) of charters deliver testing results that are significantly worse.  More than three-quarters (87%) of charter schools, nationally, produce the same or worse outcomes that public school on standardized test.   (Evidence: 20 research studies between 2008 and 2010)

2. Equity:
To what extent do charters implement equitable admissions policies by providing access for English langue learners, access for special education students and access for students of color?

Every published study of charter admissions and recruitment study documents under enrollment of English language learners and students in special education.  Studies from Detroit and Minneapolis indicate that charters are more racially segregated that other public schools.  (Evidence: 21 research studies between 2008 and 2010)

3. Innovation:
To what extent do charter schools inspire innovation with a local school district?  To what extent do charters reflect innovative practices?

There has been some research on innovation practices with exemplary charter schools -- but no evidence of widespread curricular or pedagogical innovations across charter schools nationally.

There has been no systematic analysis of innovations spreading to neighboring public schools, but substantial evidence of charters draining qualified or motivated students and/or families from traditional public schools.  (Evidence: 9 research studies between 2005 and 2009)

4. Experience, quality, and retention of educators:
To what extent do charters have experienced educators and retain quality educators?

Charter school educators tend to be less experienced, less qualified, and less well paid than traditional school educators.  Charter schools have a higher teacher turnover rate than traditional schools.  Evidence: 5 research studies between 2005 and 2009)

Source: Fabricant, Michael and Fine, Michelle  (2012). Charter Schools and Corporate Makeover of Public Education.  (pp. 38-39). The Teachers College Press.  New York

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