Thank you for your patience! Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how. Skip to main content. Full Width Column 1. What is a Charter School? Thirds Column 1. Thirds Column 2.
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Are charter schools New York City public schools?
Half Column 2. Quarter Column 1. He proposed that states grant charters to create new, experimental programs and departments at existing public schools. The response? When Budde resurrected his charter idea in , he caught the attention of Albert Shanker, longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers. Shanker piqued the curiosity of a group of progressive educators and policymakers in Minnesota. Teachers unions feared a lack of accountability and charged that charters would prove a back-door entrance to private-school vouchers.
California passed a charter law in ; six states followed in Bill Clinton signed a federal support program for charters in , and every president since has advocated for school choice. But as charter schools bloomed, the laboratory theory largely gave way to the reality of a parallel education system.
Charters collaborated with public schools far less often than teachers unions liked, and liberal legislators — historic allies — began to side with the unions more readily. Competition bred animosity. The top criticism of charters is that they rob funding from district schools. In , the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that the district—charter balance had been stable — 3.
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But district schools argue that this still makes it harder to cover their relatively unchanged operating costs. For example, if a school loses two students per grade, they lose the per-pupil funding but fixed administrative costs remain the same. But some states, Massachusetts included, have even reimbursed public schools the funds they lost to charters. Opponents also cite the high turnover rate: Nationwide, charters lose 24 percent of their teachers each year, double the rate of traditional public schools.
Longer hours and less pay, for one. The average Success Academy teacher, for example, leaves after four years.
Charter school - Wikipedia
But the attrition gap is narrowing, and these numbers are also slightly misleading: When charters franchise, many veteran faculty leave existing schools to ensure the new locations maintain the quality of the original. Still, high turnover tends to diminish student achievement.
And critics highlight that after 25 years and some 6, schools, charters still on average produce results roughly equal those of the public schools to which they set out to be better alternatives. Nationwide, low-income students, especially black and Hispanic, tend to benefit from charters the most, studies show. The staggering range in charter quality starts with authorizers. Every charter school has a state-sanctioned organization that grants its license, reviews its performance, and renews or terminates its contract.
About charters close a year, not just for academic shortcomings, but for flawed governance or leadership, a drop in student demand, or financial miscalculations.
What is a Charter School?
An undiscerning authorizer is the main root of weak charters. Take Ohio, often called the Wild West of chartering. A study from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes CREDO at Stanford University found that the average Ohio charter student, compared with his or her public school peer, acquired 14 fewer days in reading and 43 fewer days of math in a day school year. The results were nearly identical five years earlier. B ut Finn also blames parents.
Demand for things like location, security, and athletic programs allowed failing charters to thrive. See sidebar for more on parents. Last year, only 10 percent of rising high school seniors scored college ready on reading tests. Some of the worst charters have even added locations.
Some even see a slippery slope. Ideologies aside, the overall record of for-profit schools is subpar.
Beginning in the mids, many states have banned for-profit charters. They now run five. Today for-profits run 14 percent of all charters, many of which are online charters, which have failed students horribly. On average, online charter students achieve fewer days of learning math each year. Charter opponents pound on these grim examples to build the case of charter schools as a failed experiment. But charter advocates, of course, argue that they exist as better alternatives to terrible public schools.
And states with judicious authorizers have a strong record of charters outperforming districts. Massachusetts has one lone authorizer, the state board of education. High school students complete healthcare internships, and all students receive free dental cleanings and vision screenings. A Dorchester resident for the past 35 years, Campbell sent her children through the Boston Public Schools. They contend that charters inadequately serve children with special needs. Charter schools suspend children with disabilities at a higher rate than public schools, and there have been many cases of inadequacy due to a lack of resources, experience, and insensitivity.
Nationwide, however, the gap is relatively small: