Charter schools work for disadvantaged kids

Urban charter schools and those serving disadvantaged children improve achievement, while suburban charters and schools serving advantaged students lower achievement, concludes a Mathematica Working Paper. The study compared the achievement of charter middle school students with others who applied for the charter but lost a lottery and had to enroll elsewhere.

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    Anecdotally this is true in my state. Our suburban schools range from mediocre to very good; our urban schools are awful. If you’re a middle class/affluent family you’re paying outrageous property taxes (the highest in the country) but it is quite likely you have access to a good quality public school. This is why charters have been very slow to catch on in the suburban areas. The highest performing schools in the urban areas are all charters, though.

    The only charter I have access to in my suburban location is of the tree-hugger variety. It’s purpose is to promote sustainable living. It’s test scores are -surprise surprise- slightly below the local public school’s.

    • The solution to the problem of a charter dedicated to indoctrination is a charter that isn’t. Working its way through the Michigan legislature is a bill to remove the cap on the number of charter schools. I believe that’s also the solution to some of the dreadful, urban school districts with which Michigan is richly burdened.

      I expect other states aren’t that far behind.

  2. Another non-peer reviewed “working paper” presented as facts by the “reform” crowd.

  3. Almost all suburban charters are treehuggers. They get their population from a few URMs and a lot of wealthy to upper middle class white kids whose parents know they will get better grades with less competition.

    Urban and URM charters are skimming and improving the environment because of their ability to control it. What’s the shock?

    • tim-10-ber says:

      Cal…how can urban charters skim when the students are taken in by lottery, the have the same sped population as traditional schools and, and the kids are 1 – 4 years behind where they should be (obviously middle school charters)? The traditional schools are socially promoting vs teaching so many of these kids…Yes, it takes longer for the charters then to “catch” the kids up but with ability grouping for more math and reading sections, they are making progress.

      If you define skimming as having only those kids with committed parents entering their children in the lottery then yes, but skimming in my mind is cherry picking the students by hand that the charters will take in. The later is just not the case.

      So…what is your definition of skimming? Thanks!

  4. The simple take-away appears to be that, for a number of reasons, inner city schools are troubled. Bad infrastructure, problems with corruption, lazy administrators, hiring from an applicant pool that does include some people who truly want to make a difference, but a lot more “I couldn’t get a job anywhere else” types (no small number of whom get tenure, thanks to the lazy administrators)…. Whereas in a well-run school system, the additional cost of creating the parallel system and, for the for-profits, sucking off a good percentage of the school funding as profit, serves to detract from the educational experience. The sad part is, the improvements attributed to charters remain grossly inadequate. As the synopsis you provide suggests,on the whole, well-run, decently funded public schools remain superior.

    Without going through the entire study, do they control for attrition? Do they control for special education students who, as much as the proprietors deny it, are screened and counseled out of a lot of charters?

  5. Children need care and some one that will understand them. Charter school help teacher focus on student especially disadvantages kids.