Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A editorial in yesterday’s NYT about New York’s high-caliber charters, thanks in large part to Bloomberg and Klein’s support:

January 11, 2010

NYT Editorial


Promises and Facts on Charter Schools

Charter schools — which are run with public money but subject to fewer state regulations — have a lot of supporters in Washington. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants states to close some chronically failing schools and turn them into charters. Congress is so enthusiastic that it has created a $50 million fund and given Mr. Duncan the authority to directly finance charter school operators who want to replicate or expand successful programs.

Proponents initially argued that charter schools could provide a better education because they were allowed to operate independently. But the research has turned up mixed results. To ensure that this new money goes only to operators with proven records of success, Mr. Duncan will need to be guided by well-designed studies like the one being carried out by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

The center startled many education specialists last summer with a report that showed that a large number of charter schools are failing to deliver on their promises. It compared the performance of charter schools and traditional schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia and found that only about 17 percent of charters offered students a better education than traditional schools — and that 37 percent were worse.

A new study from the center has turned up a brighter picture in New York City, where students at more than half of the charter schools are showing more academic improvement in math than their traditional-school counterparts. The reading numbers were not as strong, but still nearly 30 percent of charters outperformed traditional schools.

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