Massachusetts voters are split on whether to approve 12 new or expanded charter schools, according to a new poll. Some 30,000 children are now on charter waiting lists.
Boston’s charter schools, most of which follow a “high-expectations, high-support” model, are very, very effective at teaching disadvantaged students, writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times. Rigorous research shows these are schools that work — and you’d think we’d want more of them.
Alanna Clark fell behind in school, but got no help with her reading disability. Her mother entered her in a charter lottery.
Alanna today is 10th grader at Match High School, which provides intensive tutoring to help students prepare for college success.
Match and other high-expectations, high-support charters focus on classroom teaching, Principal Hannah Larkin tells Leonhardt. Students spend more hours in class. Standards are high. Teachers get weekly feedback on how to improve their teaching.
Black students who enroll in a Boston charter in sixth grade have much lower math scores than their white counterparts, researchers have found. By the end of eighth grade, they’ve caught up.
“Relative to other things that social scientists and education policy people have tried to boost performance — class sizes, tracking, new buildings — these schools are producing spectacular gains,” said Joshua Angrist, an MIT professor.
Massachusetts’ urban charter students don’t just earn higher reading and math scores, compared to students who applied for a charter but lost in the lottery, conclude Brookings researchers. Charter students are much more likely to take and pass AP tests, earn much higher SAT scores and are much more likely to go to a four-year college or university.
“The gains to children in Massachusetts charters are enormous. They are larger than any I have seen in my career,” researcher Susan Dynarski wrote in a Facebook post. “To me, it is immoral to deny children a better education because charters don’t meet some voters’ ideal of what a public school should be. Children don’t live in the long term. They need us to deliver now.”