In the District of Columbia, one in seven students attends a charter school. Quality is mixed, writes the Washington Post. But parents aren’t abandoning the weak charters: They think anything’s better than the district-run public schools.
Charles and Gloria Simms of Southeast Washington decided to move their sixth-grade son, Sean, out of his neighborhood public school after playground bullies stuck a needle in his tongue. They picked the Hyde Leadership Public Charter School after getting its flier in the mail.
. . . Sean has been at Hyde for four years, and his father said the school has provided just what he needed: a sound academic program and a strong focus on building character.
“The difference I see in Sean is that he talks more. He speaks up for himself more,” Charles Simms said. “As I see it, the D.C. schools have been here for a long time. We know what they do. Now we want to try something different.”
Charter students score about as well — or poorly — as other D.C. students, but there’s no data that compares similar students at charter and non-charter schools.
Part two: Charter schools aren’t pushing district-run schools to improve, reports the Post. That’s because the regular system keeps getting more money: 32 percent more since 1996 in inflation-adjusted dollars. When a school fails to hold its students, there are no consequences for principals or teachers; the school budget doesn’t go down for a full year.