Charter Schools at 25

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The Atlantic came out with a retrospective of the charter school movement soon approaching 25 years of history.   While 10% (suburban areas) to 33% (urban areas) of charter school students would otherwise be enrolled in a private school, charter school results are mixed.  The article links to a 2013 Educational Week article documenting academic performance no better than public schools.  

This article notes that charters can also increase segregation as well, a charge that has been raised against Christian schools as well. By the numbers, it is not in question that the average charter school is no better than the average public school.  There are notable exceptions (KIPP, other NYC charters), and your average parent would like to believe the charter school they know is one of those exceptions.  

When do you present these facts to parents?  That would be your parent rally night in late January or February.  Bigger schools should do this with a free semester of tuition offered – to insure that 80-85% of current parents show up.  From a retention point of view, the parents who don’t show up are the ones you worry about.   An article from an outside expert in your newsletter is another possibility – perhaps a Ph. D. in education who is friendly with your school.  

Obviously any of this will seem self-serving to some of your parents.  But the research evidence is clear and unanimous.  In the words of my friend Dr. Dick Carpenter, charter school results overall are isomorphic with public schools. 

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

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