Charter schools have received a lot of attention from the media in recent years. The movie Waiting for Superman shed light on the alternative schools as a positive possibility for solving poor education in the public school system. At the same time, many experts don’t believe they’re the answer due to their small sizes and availability, ability to bend rules like time regulations on school days and their access to both federal and outside funding.
While some argue that good charter schools could be the answer to low reading and math scores in public schools, a new study by Stanford scholars shows that this can only be an option if they start out strong in the first place. According to a report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), a group that studies student performance and educational reform, charter schools that start bad, stay that way.
The group followed thousands of charter schools throughout their first five years. CREDO looked for performance trends, comparing early scores to ones after the charter schools matured. The results were basically the same across the board: the ones that started with high scores, still had high scores five years later. However, the trend held true for those on the opposite side of the spectrum. Charter schools that started off shaky were still low performers five years after their launch.
What does this mean for parents today? If you’re considering sending your child to a charter school, do your research. Compare test performance between the charter school and local public schools. Send your child to whichever performs better. And whatever you do, don’t listen to anyone who claims the charter school is just having a shaky start and will work out the kinks down the road. According to CREDO’s new study, they’re doomed to stay exactly where they start- bad charter schools are bad charter schools.
-“Charter school arguments.” NCSL
-“Parents daily news roundup.” Parents.com
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