The war over New York City’s charter schools became heated this week, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Mayor Bill de Blasio trading barbs over the Mayor’s plan to cut back on Bloomberg’s school reforms. Yet while de Blasio is likely to push ahead with his plans to curb the growth of charters, the schools got some good news today when the Independent Budget Office released a study finding that charter students are not more likely to transfer out than students at traditional schools. This is important because other research has shown that students who switch schools a lot tend to perform worse. As it turns out, New York’s charters have a lower attrition rate than traditional schools, as well as performing better on standardized tests.There is one area, however, where charters still are lagging behind: special education. The NYT reports:
The study found that 80 percent of children with special needs left charter schools in the three years, compared with 50 percent of those in public schools.
“The main contribution of this study is to demonstrate that there is attrition in both sectors, and I think that is something that has been little discussed or understood,” said Raymond J. Domanico, the budget office’s director of education research.
We’ve pointed out before that most of the charges against charters with regard to special ed are unfair. Nevertheless these findings do suggest that charters still have some work to do in this area. Overall, however, it’s hard to see this report as anything but a win for the charter movement.