Nina Rees at USA Today writes:
New York¹s public charter schools are upending old assumptions about urban education. And they can help even more students if New York¹s incoming mayor lets them.
Earlier this year, Stanford¹s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) revealed that in just one school year, the typical New York City charter school student gained about five additional months of learning in math and one additional month of learning in reading compared with students in traditional public schools.
These gains, repeated year after year, are helping to erase achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. A rigorous 2009 study from Stanford professor Caroline Hoxby found that students who attend New York City¹s charter schools from Kindergarten through 8th grade will make up 86% of the suburban-urban achievement gap in math and 66% of the gap in English.
Closing the gap in educational achievement. We can’t have that. This is so evil, that we must boycott anyone involved in such a school.
New York has roughly 70,000 students enrolled in public charter schools, and the numbers are on the rise. This school year alone, 14,000 new students in the city enrolled in charter schools with the vast majority in low-income neighborhoods.
Even worse, low income students are being helped by them, and they are growing in popularity.
Remarkably, several charter schools in low-income neighborhoods are showing some of the most impressive achievement gains. For instance, while just 30% of students citywide passed New York¹s new Common Core math exam, 97% of students passed the exam at Bronx Success Academy 2. The passage rate was 80% at Leadership Prep Ocean Hill in Brownsville, a community that has suffered academic failure for generations.
But, but, but they are stealing resources from other schools. It is better for everyone to equally fail than some students do well.
Mayor Bloomberg introduced “co-location” as a way to turn unused classrooms into productive learning environments. Sharing space also tests the hypothesis that environmental factors make it difficult for children in certain neighborhoods to succeed in school. Charters quickly proved that theory wrong. For example, 88% of third and fourth graders at Success Academy Harlem 5 passed the state math exam. The traditional public school located in the same building only managed to attain a pass rate of 6%.
Same buildings, same neighbourhood, but what a variance in pass rates.
Across the country, charter schools have produced particular academic gains among students in poverty, minority students and students still learning English. The sameCREDO study that revealed impressive learning gains among New York City¹s charter school students also showed that, nationwide, black students in poverty who attend charter schools gained the equivalent of 29 extra days of learning in reading each year, and 36 extra days in math, compared to their traditional public schools peers.
That’s awful. That may lead to them breaking out of poverty. Why should kids whose parents decide to send them to a charter school be allowed to do better than those who do not?
Nina Rees is the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
We should invite Nina to New Zealand!