Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New York Times Editorial Critiques Charter Schools

 Here’s the NYT editorial, which is overall very critical of charters, but has nice things to say about KIPP and Uncommon:

If the movement is to maintain its credibility, the charter authorizers must shut down failed schools quickly and limit new charters to the most credible applicants, including operators who have a demonstrated record of success.

That is the clear message of continuing analysis from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, which tracks student performance in 25 states. In 2009, its large-scale study showed that only 17 percent of charter schools provided a better education than traditional schools, and 37 percent actually offered children a worse education.
study released this week by the center suggests that the standards used by the charter authorizers to judge school performance are terribly weak.

…The study found that minority students and those from poor families fared better in charter management organizations. For example, the Kipp super-network and the Uncommon Schools, two large, established networks, have seen “strong and positive learning gains” for their students.

The study does not explain why these schools perform so well. But the answer is likely that they closely replicate a successful learning program and they keep the level of teaching uniformly high. In any case, the researchers and policy makers need to pay closer attention to how these schools function. For according to the study, Kipp and the Uncommon Schools have actually managed to eliminate the learning gap between poor and higher-income students.

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