Education Gadfly’s Checker Finn writes on what we’ve learned about charter schools in the last 15 years and what we don’t know. He calls for evaluating all schools both on students’ progress and their level of competence.
For charter schools, it’s doubly important to deploy measures of effectiveness as well as absolute performance. For these are all schools of choice that parents move their daughters and sons into instead of keeping them in district-operated schools. These youngsters have been ill-served where they were and deserve a second chance in a better school. If their parents are to make discerning choices, however, they need clear information about which schools are effective at imparting skills and knowledge to their students, not just which of them enroll pupils who possess such skills and knowledge.
When schools are evaluated for effectiveness, charter schools tend to look good, Finn writes, citing a recent Massachusetts study.
CharterBlog has more on evaluation.