Wednesday, September 9

va: research on charter schools

(1) Charter Schools
The degree of freedom charter schools have differs by state.
The difference from public:
  • Charter schools must be nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory in all programs, enrollment, employment, and other operations
  • Charter schools cannot charge tuition
  • Set their own discipline, personnel and curricular practices (much like private schools) but are public
  • Must comply with the federal No Child left Behind Law

Most offers:
  • Smaller class size than traditional public schools
  • Specialized education targets at a particular population of students such as at-risk or performing arts students
  • High standards of fiscal and academic accountability. If the school doesn’t show gains in student achievement, it can have its charter revoked
Charter schools can tailor their curriculum to their students and try new approaches / innovative curriculum.
Downfalls:
“taking a cookie-cutter approach to education”
space is limited, enrollment done by lottery
preference may be given to siblings of students currently enrolled and to children of employees
Who starts charter schools? Businesses, community leaders, teachers, parents, municipalities and school districts interested in alternative education submit a charter proposal to the local school board. Renewed in 5 year periods
(2) The Truth about Charter Schools
They are able to organize a school that’s outside the control of the local school district but still funded by local, state, and federal tax money.
  • This approach to education tends to produce a more diverse range of schools than might be traditionally found within school districts
  • Today, more than two million students attend about 5,700 charter schools nationwide, each with its own rules and education model.
  • 518 new charter schools opened, boosting charter school enrollment by 10 percent in a single school year
  • They can be run and operated by a nonprofit Charter Management Organization (CMO), such as Knowledge is Power Project (KIPP), which operates more than 120 elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation.

Could be a downfall? Or an advantage :
  • Parental involvement is often more than encouraged, it’s expected.
  • Many charter schools begin each year by asking parents to sign an agreement to support the school and their child’s learning, including a pledge to contribute a certain number of volunteer hours.

A 2003 national study showed charter school students were no better than public schools at educating kids. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2010-2011 show that overall, fourth and eighth grade students in charter schools did not do as well in math and reading as their counterparts in traditional public schools.
The study shows positive effects are strongest at charter schools serving primarily low-income students: there are more excellent charter schools serving low-income students than there are high-performing traditional public schools serving low-income students.
Students in Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), Louisiana, and Missouri, for example, made larger gains on standardized tests than would have occurred at traditional public schools.
About 15 percent of charters have closed since 1992. One common problem is that charter schools, on average, receive less money to operate their facilities than public schools.

The good news is that many charter schools don’t limit enrollment by where you live, so parents can look outside their neighborhood to find the best charter school. The bad news? Charters can be so popular that you may find yet another lottery and waiting list when you get there. Across the country, there are about 610,000 students waiting on lists to get in.

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