Report: Close bad charters, expand good ones

Urban charter schools outperform traditional public schools in five cities, concludes Searching for Excellence, a Fordham report conducted by Public Impact. However, urban charter students trail students in their home states, who are much less likely to be living in poverty.

The study looked at charter performance in Albany, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis. In each city, charter quality varied greatly from school to school.

 . . . there are deeply troubled charters—some whose academic results can’t even match up with their long-suffering district peers. but on the other hand, there are fantastic charters—some whose academic performance competes with the best schools in their states.

Fordham calls for closing the worst-performing 10 percent of charters and expanding the top 10 percent.

In Cleveland, the policy of closure and aggressive replication of high-performing schools would, Public Impact estimates, result in charter schools vastly outperforming the district schools in five years. Moreover, this policy would put Cleveland’s charters on track to perform on par with the state average by year five.

Charter schools educate 30+ percent of public school students in seven cities — New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, DC,  Kansas City, Flint, Gary; and St. Louis — and 20+ percent in 18 cities.

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  1. We’re seeing a local dispute over the fate of a charter school that is heavily supported by parents, but whose curriculum is not tightly focused on the current iteration of the state standards. It’s not clear to me that those state standards have much validity, based on the product coming out of our public schools.

    At least in California charters are expected to beat the state schools on teaching the same things in the same way. Considering the wretched results from public schools, this is not a wise standard to impose.

    • This is a work in progress.

      Charters puncture the tight, little hegemony of the school board but public education is a distributed system; damage to political power in one area is offset by expansions of political power in another area. But the fatal damage has been done.

      Think “Titanic”.