Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Five Ways to Boost Charter Schools

Jay Mathews with a summary and some comments on an excellent report on charter schools by Andy Rotherham and Sara Mead:

In theory, charter schools are a great idea. There are now more than 4,000 of them with more than 1 million students in 40 states and the District. These independent public schools give smart educators with fresh ideas a chance to show what they can do without the deadening hand of the local school system  bureaucracy around their necks. They also give public school parents more choice. The problem is, as one former state charter school official told me,  there are a lot of loons out there starting charter schools. We don't seem to be able to get rid of their loony schools as easily as the original advocates of charter schools promised. That is one reason why charter schools, despite  including some of the best public schools I have ever seen, do no better on  average than regular public schools in raising student achievement.
Here are my suggestions for fixing that situation, based largely on what I learned from Mead and Rotherham:


Five Ways to Boost Charter Schools

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2007; 8:58 AM

Sara Mead and Andrew J. Rotherham, two of my favorite educational researchers, have inspired me to save the charter school movement with five brilliant if perhaps too far-sighted suggestions for reform.
The Washington-based think tank Education Sector <>  has just published their paper, "A Sum Greater Than the Parts: What States Can Teach Each Other About Charter Schooling." They may be horrified by what I have done with their facts and insights, but I think my ideas will push charters in the right direction -- more good ones and fewer bad ones.

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