Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Charters can set the pace

Rotherham on the success of charters in Massachusetts:


Across the country the experience with charter schools is mixed. Charter schooling is producing amazing schools, many among the best in America. At the same time, the openness of the charter sector is also creating some quality problems. Charter quality varies state by state and owes a great deal to different state polices about opening and operating charter schools.

However, in Massachusetts the evidence is more conclusive. Although quality is not uniformly high, a study earlier this year by a team of researchers from Harvard, MIT and Duke found that in Boston, charter schools outperform all other schooling options there, including the city's pilot schools. Schools such as MATCH and Roxbury Preparatory Charter School are national models, and outstanding charters can be found around the commonwealth. In 2009, six of the 10 highest-performing high schools on the language arts MCAS test were public charter schools, as were the three top-performing high schools in math.

…Opening up American public schools to more choice and competition is contentious. Choice, by itself, is not synonymous with better educational outcomes. However, Massachusetts can build on its charter success and use public charter schooling to improve its education system. By doing so now, Massachusetts can claim a spot at the front of the Race to the Top. The policy options are apparent; the only thing standing in the way is politics.


Charters can set the pace




By Andrew J. Rotherham

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Jan 8, 2010


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