Mediocre Report Card for Charter Schools
Do students attending charter schools outperform their peers? The highly charged issue is the subject of intense debate this week in both Chicago and Los Angeles.
But for the most up-to-date answer to that question, one must turn to New York, where one researcher finds their impact on students to be extremely limited.
“Although exposés in the media argue that a small group of high-profile charter schools is making waves and transforming the public school system, this analysis suggests that more charter schools are treading water,” concludes the University of Buffalo’s Robert Mark Silverman. His report was published June 27 in the journal Urban Education.
“With the exception of the performance of 6th and 8th graders on statewide math exams, charter schools do not seem to be making much of a difference.”
His findings take on new urgency in the light of current controversies. In Los Angeles on Tuesday, 400 people demonstrated at school district headquarters to protest a proposed moratorium on new charter schools.
Meanwhile, the highly publicized strike by public school teachers in Chicago is driven, in part, by the fear that the drive to increase the number of charter schools—which are privately run, and generally do not employ union instructors—is occurring in spite of a lack of clear evidence that students enrolled in such institutions perform better than their peers.