Thursday, September 9, 2010

Charter Bashing ... by mentioning the truth?

The whole idea of a charter school is that you take off the blinders and the restrictions and let them thrive.  Giving them freedom from "Big Government" and all those repressive regulations, as the thinking goes, means that they can succeed in educating all students much better than the public schools.  The proof usually includes whichever KIPP school is doing well that year (ignoring those that are embroiled in a lawsuit, not making sufficient progress, etc.) and, of course, New Orleans which was liberated by Katrina. (or something like that.)

Then you read:
One of the most exhaustive studies of charter performance, from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, found 37 percent of charter schools “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.” About half produced similar outcomes to public schools, with just 17 percent outperforming public schools (Extra!, 8/09).
If all charter schools have the advantage of running free, why aren't all of them out-performing public schools? If they can choose their students, skim off and keep the best performers and eliminate the troublemakers, teach in any way they choose, shouldn't the standard be "If a charter school doesn't beat the public school, it will be immediately closed?" 

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