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Poor and Minority Communities Gain Big from Charter Schools


A new study on education outcomes has just weakened one of the key talking points for charter school opponents. Four years ago, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (Credo) compared charter students to those at regular public schools and found that charter school students often performed worse than their public school counterparts. The study’s results were shouted from the rooftops by groups looking to discredit the charter school movement. This year, however, Credo released an updated study and found that charter schools have made significant gains over the past few years: Charter students are now eight days ahead of their traditional public school counterparts on average, while remaining roughly even on math.

The most interesting data, however, was the study’s race and income breakdown, as the Wall Street Journal reports. White students actually performed worse in charter schools, but black and Hispanic children from low-income communities saw big gains.

The results, then, are a mixed bag for charters. On the one hand, low-income minority communities are precisely the places in need of more effective alternatives to traditional public education. On the other, the underwhelming results for other communities serve as a reminder that charter schools are in no way the solution to all of our educational woes.

[Classroom image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Pete

    And as crass as it might be to some, let me mention that charter schools tend to be less costly to the taxpayer than the traditional public schools. That should could for something, too. No?

    • Tom

      You’d think so. But, unfortunately, that means less money for teachers’ unions. And education spending is more about them and the administrators than anything else. Which is backwards.

  • Andrew Allison

    This outcome suggests to me that the parents of black and Hispanic children recognize that minority-dominated public schools have different standards and results than white-dominated ones.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    There never will be a singular “solution to all of our educational woes.”

    The idea alone is preposterous. This is why we need to dismantle the “one-size-fits-all” model of district centralization and ‘common core’ dumbing-down.

    We need to atomize the system by expanding independent education options, and allowing the money follow the child to option that best suits them.

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