Listening to the charter school advocates, you’d think the data clearly indicate that children attending charter schools do better than children attending public schools.
As Wait, What? readers know the truth is far from that.
Most importantly, here in Connecticut and around the nation, charter schools refuse to provide equal educational opportunities. Charter schools, such as those associated with Achievement First, Inc. the charter school management company co-founded by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education and the FUSE/Jumoke Academy charter school management company, consistently fail to provide educational programing to their fair share of non-English speaking students and those who students who need special education services.
Even in the African –American community, charter schools take students that are less poor, speak only English, have little to no special education needs and meet the strict dogmatic discipline measures that many reasonable people would consider abuse.
Last Friday, as the Vallas court case was being announced, Wendy Lecker, the Connecticut public education advocate and columnist published a new, “must read” commentary piece at Stamford Advocates, Connecticut Post and other Hearst media outlets.
Wendy Lecker’s piece has been getting national attention for its direct and honest assessment of what is really going on with charter schools in the country.
Lecker’s complete piece can be found via the following link and is re-posted, in part, below.
Wendy Lecker wrote, “The verdict is in, and it is the same as four years ago. In updating its 2009 national study on charter schools, Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) reaches the same conclusion it did in its previous study: The vast majority of charter schools in the United States are no better than public schools.
In 2009, 83 percent of charters were the same or worse than public schools, and now about 71-75 percent are. Even more telling, CREDO concludes that “the charter sector is getting better on average, but not because existing schools are getting dramatically better; it is largely driven by the closure of bad schools.” In addition, students at new charter schools have lower reading and math gains than at public schools.
In the study, learning refers only to test scores in elementary and middle schools. Researchers often measure learning improvement in terms of grade levels or years. Because the gains in charters are so small, the authors here attempt to translate test scores into months of learning. Converting test scores into uniform monthly intervals of learning relies on faulty assumptions and is viewed as unreliable.
Nonetheless, the study finds that the average charter school student gains eight days of reading learning over a public school student and nothing in math. Experts agree that math learning depends more on instruction in school, whereas reading advancement often hinges on skills and vocabulary gained outside the classroom.
Even for groups where the claimed learning is the greatest, the most those students gain is about one month of additional learning. Many charters boast longer school days, Saturday school and an extended school year. Therefore, it appears that public schools are more efficient at squeezing learning into a shortened time period.
What do these eight additional days on average of reading learning cost? It is difficult to compare charter school and public school spending. Charter school spending and revenue vary widely and are not transparent. Charters’ grade levels, programs and demographics are often different than public schools’. One study that controlled for these factors found that the charters touted as successful — KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools — spend between 20-30 percent more than comparable public schools in their host districts.
The human cost of this charter sector improvement is also not addressed in the study. Officials who authorize charters gamble with students’ fates. When the experiment fails, i.e. the charter school is bad, it closes. The study did not count the educational loss these displaced charter students suffer.”
For the rest of the piece go to: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-The-hidden-costs-of-charter-schools-4635437.php