Charter Schools Win Support by Offering Education Flexibility

“”Lottery-based studies of urban charter schools consistently show that charters improve students’ academic achievement and some longer-term outcomes, particularly among Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and low-performing students,” concludes a 2021 National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Sarah Cohodes and Katharine Parham of Columbia University.”

“”Overall, the big charter networks are seeing college success rates that are anywhere from three to five times the rates for low-income students nationally,” Richard Whitmire wrote for the education publication The 74 in 2017. “The most successful networks are all in the 50 percent range — half of their alumni earn bachelor’s degrees within six years. Nationally, 9 percent of the students from low-income families meet that mark.”
Not every charter school achieves such success, of course. Like any other venture, some charters go off the rails, are run into the ground by poor management, or just fail at their mission. Teachers’ unions, having wandered far from the days of Albert Shanker’s advocacy of charters, are more than happy to point to charter schools that don’t do a good job. But that’s part of the attraction of charters; when they fail, as some institutions inevitably do, it’s easier to close one independently managed school and move its kids to competitors than to shut the doors of a traditional district school that has a near-monopoly on students in a geographic area.”

“In December 2021 polling by EdChoice, 90 percent of charter school parents report being very or somewhat satisfied with their children’s schooling, compared to 78 percent of district school parents (96 percent of private school parents and 88 percent of homeschool parents report being satisfied).”

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