Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it’s beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.
There are good reasons – powerful reasons – to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.
1. Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education
The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the National Education Policy Center, “so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial.” Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.
Ample evidence exists beyond CREDO to question the effectiveness of charter schools (although they continue to have both supporters and detractors). In Ohio, charters were deemed inferior to traditional schools in all grade/subject combinations. Texas charters had a much lower graduation rate in 2012 than traditional schools. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal proudly announced that “we’re doing something about [failing schools],” about two-thirds of charters received a D or an F from the Louisiana State Department of Education in 2013. Furthermore, charters in New Orleans rely heavily on inexperienced teachers, and even its model charter school Sci Academy has experienced a skyrocketing suspension rate, the second highest in the city. More trouble looms for the over-chartered city in a lawsuitfiled by families of disabled students contending that equal educational access has not been provided for their children.
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Posted by The NON-Conformist