Friday, November 7, 2014

What Have Charter Schools Taught Us About Education?

Of course, the theory — if you care to call it that — behind the charter school movement is that if you take off all bureaucratic regulations and allow the free market to operate there will be unleashed a tsunami of energy and creative innovation in the charter sector that will teach all of public education how to do a better job.

Incredibly, the Rupert-Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal still believes such nonsense.

What have charter schools taught the true public school sector?

  • You can raise test scores by discouraging poor or special needs kids from enrolling;
  • You can raise test scores by pushing out kids who do poorly on tests;
  • You can make yourself look desirable by lying about "waiting lists";
  • You can manage your public image through marketing & public relations;
  • You can run an economically efficient school by hiring inexperienced, uncertified teachers.

But the charter school movement hasn't shown anyone how to run a better school.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
National Education Policy Center
University of Colorado Boulder

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of NEPC, Arizona State University, nor the University of Colorado Boulder.

1 comment:

  1. Good points but you do no one any service with this kind of lopsided commentary.

    We have learned something from successful experiments with longer day, small group intensive tutoring, etc.

    We have even learned some important things from the items you list above, such as a better understanding of peer effects among disadvantaged populations.

    We need to be absolutely honest about what works and about what doesn't work - both with charter schools and with trad public schools. Anything less will lead to more failed experiments with children's lives that are not supported by research and practice. That is just as shameful a thing to do in public schools, as it has been in charters.