Charter schools: Mixed results | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Charter schools: Mixed results

Posted By on Sun, May 2, 2010 at 7:43 AM

The New York Times has an extensive report today on charter schools. It's old news, but worth repeating:

But for all their support and cultural cachet, the majority of the 5,000 or so charter schools nationwide appear to be no better, and in many cases worse, than local public schools when measured by achievement on standardized tests, according to experts citing years of research. Last year one of the most comprehensive studies, by researchers from Stanford University, found that fewer than one-fifth of charter schools nationally offered a better education than comparable local schools, almost half offered an equivalent education and more than a third, 37 percent, were “significantly worse.”

Although “charter schools have become a rallying cry for education reformers,” the report, by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, warned, “this study reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well” as students in traditional schools.

The story picks up on familiar themes. Some charter schools that "succeed" have the built-in advantage of students who weren't failing in the first place. Many charter schools benefit from extraordinary commitments on work hours and devotion from teachers who burn out. Many charter schools have great intentions but poor techniques. Many parents are content to leave children in failing charters simply because they find the surroundings more comforting than the alternative. Nobody has yet created successful charter schools readily replicable on a mass scale. You could say many of the same things about conventional public schools, good and bad.

My tiresome point again: Just because somebody wants to set up a charter school doesn't mean that it should blindly be approved. The name "charter school" doesn't guarantee goodness any more than "public school" guarantees badness. Schools, no matter how good, can't solve all the problems created by dysfunctional families, the debilitating impact of poverty and parents who aren't sufficiently committed to their children's success (or even getting them to school regularly). Doesn't mean we don't try. But for many, the school years are too late.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016
  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Truth is Out There Open Line

    • Breaking News: "Today, a visibly angry & increasingly erratic President Obama doubled-down on his previous…

    • on December 16, 2017
  • Re: The Truth is Out There Open Line

    • Hey kids, 'member those pussy hat marchers............ In the event that cheetolion decides to fire…

    • on December 16, 2017
  • Re: The Truth is Out There Open Line

    • "Trump Eyes Eventual Ban of All Multisyllabic Words." Ha, Drumpf wouldn't even know what that…

    • on December 16, 2017



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation