New Orleans Eighth-Graders Close Achievement Gap

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo
The Christian Science Monitor
August 29, 2010

This chart shows the rise in student achievement in the city of New Orleans, before and after hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the aftermath of the hurricane, New Orleans instituted broad educational reform, leading the way with a huge expansion of charter schools, which resulted in a massive increase in student achievement.

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TIME's Kayla Webley discusses the origins, developments, and growing controversies of the "parent trigger" debate.

"The idea for the parent trigger was conceived in 2009 by Ben Austin, a former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and a policy consultant at Green Dot Public Schools, a charter-school organization. 'The way I saw it, if education was going to change, parents had to have a seat at...

Stern describes the efforts of teachers' unions to bring charter schools in New York under their control. According to Stern, mandatory unionization could easily cause charter schools to abandon their effective teaching strategies and high work ethic, a problem that plagues many public...

This Associated Press article describes the ongoing controversy over a charter school accused of promoting the Islamic religion. Citing issues such as dress codes, prayer times, and religious instruction, the ACLU believes that this charter school does not deserve government funds due to...

The Federal District Court rules on the case of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), a former non-profit charter school in Minnesota that closed as a result of mounting legal costs.

According to the ACLU-MN, “The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a lawsuit in January 2009 Federal District Court against Tarek...

"Before hurricane Katrina, the school system in New Orleans was like a dysfunctional marching band: It had structure and central direction, but academic failure and corruption dragged it down.

Five years later, the schools are like a nascent jazz band: bursting with energy and improvisation and making bold academic strides – but...

This article focuses on the growing issue of charter school unionization. According to the New York Times, many charter school teachers are pushing to join teachers' unions in order to gain more financial benefits, while also restricting the heavy work load that often plagues them. However...

This piece argues that Mississippi is missing out on a viable education option by not implementing more charter schools. Due to resistance from authorities, Mississippi has ignored the research showing the effectiveness of charter schools, and has instead continued to produce increasingly...

"A north Minneapolis school at Olson Memorial Hwy. and Humboldt Avenue has demographics that seem a sure predictor of our state's most intractable education problem. The student population there is 99 percent black and 91 percent poor, and about 70 percent of the children come from single-parent families.

Such 'racial isolation' is widely considered a formula for defeat—a hallmark of...

"These schools showed the highest percentage of students scoring at grade level or better, despite having a high number of children living in poverty. Poverty has a high correlation to low student achievement."

This article finds Frederick Hess exploring Gallup poll responses to questions about charter schools. The results from these studies show that many adults fail to understand that charter schools are publicly funded, non-religious, and non-selective in their pupil admission.

"A central component of the charter school concept is that every school has an authorizer. The role of an authorizer begins in the development stage of a charter, is critical throughout the life of the charter, and ends when a school is formally dissolved."

"A charter school is an independent public school that operates independently of the district board of education. In effect, a charter school is a one-school public school district. A group of people — educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs or others — write the charter plan describing the school's guiding principles, governance structure, and applicable...

"A charter school is a public school, and it may provide instruction in any of grades K-12. A charter school is usually created or organized by a group of teachers, parents and community leaders or a community-based organization, and it is usually sponsored by an existing local public school board or county board of education. Specific goals and operating procedures for the charter school are...

"The education establishment, more concerned with propping up failed public schools than with teaching the three Rs, is failing our kids. That's why I'm a fan of charter schools. These schools operate under a 'charter,' or pact, with the local school system. In exchange for exemption from bureaucratic rules and red tape, they are held to a higher standard. If they don't do a good job teaching...

"In a recent editorial, you discussed a situation in which traditional public schools receive no money, while charter schools have been favored with $55 million for facilities. This couldn't be further from an accurate assessment of the situation. Both traditional public schools and public charter schools receive about $6,000 per pupil in state funds.

That's where the equity in funding...

"Charter schools are public schools that have flexibility in structuring academic programs, hiring teachers and carrying out other functions. The degree of freedom that charter schools have differs by state."

Skeptical of the charter school movement, Andrew Coulson fears that charter schools will eventually assimilate and become as regulated as their public school counterparts. Coulson believes that eagerness over the school choice movement could cause many in alternative education institutions to head toward charter schools, thus giving the government a foothold to gain even more of a monopoly...

"A study published by the Department of Education (DOE) in June, 'The Evaluation of Charter School Impacts,' highlights the many benefits of charter schools. The results show unambiguously that parents are substantially more satisfied with charter schools and the academic and social development of their children who attend compared to public school parents."

This opinion piece argues that charter schools have had enough time to prove their effectiveness and that a majority of them are not working. Wells seems to come to this conclusion due to her research on charter schools and her dislike for free market style...

"The number of charter schools in California has increased steadily since 1992, when California first authorized charter schools."

"Students who entered and won a lottery to attend a charter school in New York outperformed their peers who entered the lottery but did not win a spot and instead enrolled in a traditional public school. According to new research by Stanford Professor Caroline Hoxby, which is highlighted today in both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times,...

"Tradeoffs are an incurable part of reality. Unfortunately, many school choice supporters like to believe that there are no tradeoffs between school choice policies; public and private school choice, targeted or restricted, big or small, voucher or tax credits, it’s all choice and it’s all good. But some good things are better than others. And most things have some mix of positive and negative...

"There has been a fair amount written about the recently released NAEP results for 4th and 8th graders in math and reading, and most of the discussion has focused on the minimal overall gains from 2009 to 2011. But a closer look at charter schools compared with traditional public schools demonstrates that students in charter schools made some very large gains."

"Twenty years ago Minnesota became the first American state to pass charter-school laws. (Charter schools are publicly funded but independently managed.) The idea was born of frustration with traditional publicly funded schools and the persistent achievement gap between poor minority pupils and those from middle-income homes. Charters enroll more poor, black and Latino pupils, and more pupils...

“The Chicago Teachers Union ultimately struck a deal Tuesday night that will phase in student test scores as part of a teacher's evaluation, with scores eventually accounting for up to 30 percent of an evaluation within three years.

But at privately managed charter schools, another central prong of education reform efforts in Chicago and nationwide, those rigid standards for teacher...

In this article, John Kuhn, superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, challenges our current education reform options and ideals. He defends the complexity of the issue and reminds us that, "Teaching isn’t as easy as it sounds. And neither is reform." Kuhn also questions the reasons behind charter school successes and calls for a more situational...

The Star Tribune Editorial Board summarizes the outcomes of the Chicago teachers strike. The article suggests that one potential consequence is further interest in the city's charter schools, which already report a waiting list of approximately 19,000 students.

"Throughout the media in recent months, a statistic is often repeated that suggests charter school achievement is 'mixed' and that only 1 in 5 charter schools actually perform well. This started in June 2009, when The New York Times published a report on a study by a small research center out at Stanford University, whose press releases for each of the 15 states studied said that...

"Last year, when Minnesota asked for a federal waiver from compliance with No Child Left Behind’s failed accountability system, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius instead proposed instituting a system designed by the department. The Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) [PDF] is a combination of scores quantifying proficiency, student growth, progress toward closing the achievement gap and...

This article from the Los Angeles Times is a debate between Lisa Snell, the director of education and child welfare at the Reason Foundation, and Ralph E. Shaffer, Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona. The topic of discussion deals with the ideological teachings of charter schools, mainly, "Are charter schools given too much latitude in teaching...

Education Week’s Sean Cavanagh summarizes the research of Marisa Cannata, featured in the book “Exploring the School Choice Universe: Evidence and Recommendations,” with respect to charter school teachers’ hours and experience compared to those of public and private school teachers. The article uses Cannata’s statistical evidence pulled from the “Schools and Staffing Survey” to assert that the...

“Mississippi legislators are considering a proposal to strengthen the state’s charter school law. This is great news for a state with the weakest charter school policy among the 41 states (and D.C.) that have them. However, because the state Senate Education Committee has moved to ban virtual charter schools, the scope of this new policy is significantly limited…

Unfortunately, while...

"In most public school systems in America, students attend the school for which their neighborhood is zoned. But in the five years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has created a school system unlike any other in the country. 'We used Katrina as an opportunity to build—not rebuild, but build—a new school system,' says Paul Vallas, the outgoing superintendent of...

"In its recent story about Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, the Wall Street Journal reminded readers that economist Milton Friedman invented vouchers, and that teacher union leader Al Shanker was supporting charter schools as early as 1988. The story sounds true because Shanker has a reputation for being the egg-headed labor union leader as committed to genuine school reform...

With 30,000 students already enrolled in online schools and legislation in the state pushing blended learning, Ohio is moving toward online education with great enthusiasm and mixed results.

"The city teachers union could face a school closure this year that hits uncomfortably close to home.

A decade ago, the early success of some charter schools became a case in point for a larger argument: The absence of a union contract in the schools enabled them to succeed with high-need students, proving that the presence of unions was holding other schools back, charter school...

"When Ray Budde recently died, the news made the New York Times. This is not easy to do. The Times obituary page is reserved for people of special interest and of significant accomplishment. Susan Saulny, who covers education, wrote the story. It was reprinted elsewhere. On the West Coast, National Public Radio did an interview about it. So this was pretty special for the charter idea.

...

"Ray Budde, an education professor who defined the term charter school and stated the ideas that led to a nationwide school reform movement, died on June 11 in Springfield, Mass. He was 82."

"It is generally agreed that urban public schools and school systems need to radically change how they are governed. Proponents of school choice believe that empowering families with educational options will promote such a change, because it presupposes that schools will reform to increase their attractiveness.

In fact, choice has been widely adopted.

Hardly a state in the United...

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city leaders have long heralded charter schools' innovative approach to education, but new research suggests many charters in Chicago are performing no better than traditional neighborhood schools and some are actually doing much worse.

More than two dozen schools in some of the city's most prominent and largest charter networks, including the United...

"The charter school movement began in 1988 when Albert Shanker, American Federation of Teachers President, called for the reform of the public schools by establishing 'charter schools'. The basic charter concept is simple: a group of teachers or other would-be educators apply for permission to open a school. The school operates under a charter, a contract with the local school board or state....

"Veteran charter-school ace Jon Schroeder authored this fine new report for the Progressive Policy Institute, the second of six case studies of the evolution of the charter movement at the state or (in New York City) municipal level."

This piece gives state by state metrics on charter schools.

"Minnesota, 85 percent white, is a case study of the nation’s growing diversity. Since the 1970s, Minneapolis and St. Paul have become a magnet for Hmong refugees, who fought alongside Americans in the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, Somalis sought refuge from civil war.

St. Paul, where the nation’s first charter school opened in 1992, is 16 percent black, 10 percent Hispanic and 15 percent...

“Nashville school officials have rejected a proposal to open a charter school in a middle-class part of the city, highlighting a broader national battle over efforts by operators of such publicly financed, privately run schools to expand into more affluent areas…

The board denied the application because members worried that low-income parents wouldn't be able to easily transport their...

"Virtual charter schools allow students to learn at their own pace and access teachers at most times of the day and night. Because these students learn at home using the Internet, they could potentially live anywhere in the state and enroll in any virtual school regardless of where it is chartered and based.

Yet California has set up a roadblock. Under California law, students can...

"As a whole, charters serve a somewhat different population of students than noncharter schools.

Charters serve greater proportions of African American and white students and smaller percentages of Asian and Hispanic students."

"The high cost of educating students with special needs is disproportionately falling on traditional public schools as other students increasingly opt for alternatives that aren't always readily open to those requiring special education.

The issue is particularly acute in districts where enrollment has declined due to demographic changes such as low birth rates and population shifts...

"Among the many accountability reforms enacted to Minnesota's charter school law in 2009 were two specific provisions that addressed the cost of authorizing.

The first provision established a new fee structure and significantly increased potential oversight fees paid by schools to authorizers. The increase phases in over a four year period and will result in over $3 million dollars per...

"Few factors are more expensive for taxpayers than when our public schools fail to graduate students from high school.  High school dropouts are significantly more likely to collect unemployment, housing subsidies and food stamps.  And of course they are much more likely to serve jail time.  One out of four students drop out of high school in...

"School-choice supporters in Indianapolis are beside themselves. They've smacked right up against the inconvenient truth: Parents sometimes make bad choices."

According to Jay Greene, school choice proponents who sacrificed vouchers in hopes of satisfying teachers' unions are now facing pressure to sacrifice charter schools. With research demonstrating that unionized charter schools are less effective than non-unionized, Greene contends that...

Although a supporter of charter schools, Frederick Hess believes that caution should be exercised in touting test scores as evidence of success. Hess notes that charter schools originally wanted their success measured by how much children improved throughout the year, but with test scores putting charter schools...

"Recently, Michigan’s 186 charter schools have come under unfair attack.

During the recent campaign, the Democratic candidate for governor took a swipe at Michigan’s charter schools, telling the Lansing State Journal that they 'lack accountability.'

Far from lacking accountability, charters...

“A federal judge has approved a settlement in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota against the Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy charter school.

The agreement, made public by the ACLU on Friday, Aug. 3, after a judge's approval, brings some closure to the three-year legal battle but doesn't provide the 'bright line' decision Chuck Samuelson, executive director of...

"People in New Jersey are beginning to realize that every dollar that goes to a privately managed charter school is a dollar taken away from their own public school. Because the budget is not expanding, it IS a zero sum game. Fixed costs do not decline when children leave the school."

"While the education film Waiting For Superman has moving profiles of students struggling to succeed under difficult circumstances, it puts forward a sometimes misleading and other times dishonest account of the roots of the problem and possible solutions. The amped-up rhetoric of crisis and failure everywhere is being used to promote business-model...

In his weekly column for the New York Times, late American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker discusses the problems facing the education system even after the creation of charter schools. Noted as one of the original advocates of charter schools, Shanker is said to have evolved to oppose them as they became independent entities, operating outside school districts and...

"What we need is not a marketplace, but a coherent curriculum that prepares all students. And our government should commit to providing a good school in every neighborhood in the nation, just as we strive to provide a good fire company in every community.

On our present course, we are disrupting communities, dumbing down our schools, giving students false reports of their progress, and...

"It's no surprise that critics of modern education reform — including the so-called 'parent trigger' laws — would give bad reviews to 'Won't Back Down,' a Hollywood treatment of parents taking over a failed school starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

But as it turns out, people who get paid to review films don't much like the flick, which tells the story of two mothers who work...

Chart or Graph

"If one dissects CER’s data, one can see that while closures for financial reasons and mismanagement have gradually declined as a percentage of all charters schools over the past decade, closures for academic reasons have gradually climbed. (See Figure 1.)"

This chart "shows the percentage of students in Brown's two charter schools who score at or above the 'proficient' level on the California Standards Tests (averaged across all available grades and subjects)."

"These schools showed the highest percentage of students scoring at grade level or better, despite having a high number of children living in poverty."

“While most students are drawn from traditional public schools, charter schools are pulling large numbers of students from the private education market and present a potentially devastating impact on the private education market, as well as a serious increase in the financial burden on taxpayers."

Pupil membership and cost per pupil for Minnesota charter schools.

"California has the highest number of charter schools of any state in the country with 982 schools serving over 412,000 students as of fall 2011."

This chart shows the higher performance of Michigan charter school students as compared to their public school counterparts.

Charter Schools Receive Somewhat Less Per-Pupil Operational Funding.

The above chart presents the variety of curriculum choices that charter schools have to choose from.

This chart shows that a majority of parents give charter schools grades of A or B on their facilities and quality of instruction.

Virtual charter schools rapidly expanded between 2000 and 2011 in both number and enrollment.

"Students in charter schools that have been in operation longer are more likely to have a proficiency advantage over their peers in the matched regular public school."

The article uses Cannata’s statistical evidence pulled from the 'Schools and Staffing Survey' to assert that the average charter school teacher works longer hours and has fewer years of teaching experience.

"The table...[above], prepared with data compiled by Charter School Partners, lists schools with 'Reward' designation under the new Department of Education standards that also have high rates of students living in poverty."

“Thirty-seven charter schools have closed in the Gopher State since its law was passed—the first in the United States in 1992. The majority of these schools closed because of financial reasons—23 schools, or 62 percent."

"[A] closer look at charter schools compared with traditional public schools demonstrates that students in charter schools made some very large gains...."

This chart shows the number of charter schools and students in charter schools, arranged by state.

Between 1999 and 2012, charter schools grew from approximately 1500 to 5600.

This chart shows the rise in student achievement in the city of New Orleans, before and after hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"The number of charter schools in California has increased steadily since 1992, when California first authorized charter schools."

"Charter schools enrolled ... a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools in both school years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 (see fig. 2)."

Percentage of Students in Segregated School Settings by Race and School Type, 1995 - 2010.

"Minnesota’s conflict of interest laws for charter school boards are weaker than comparable federal requirements and do not fully address conflicts of interest with close relatives, nonprofit organizations, and sponsors."

The above chart shows how much money states allot for each student in public schools and charter schools, and then shows the monetary difference between the two.

"For instance, lottery winners were 13 percentage points more likely to report they 'like school a lot' than lottery losers (Figure 3)."

"As a whole, charters serve a somewhat different population of students than noncharter schools."

According to this chart, over 40% of charter schools have more than 60% of their student population belonging to minority groups and on free/reduced lunches, as well as being at risk or former school dropouts.

“CMO schools are significantly more likely than district schools to employ a system of performance-based compensation for both teachers and principals, on average.”

This chart shows the multiple studies done on the effect voucher programs have on public school achievement.

"Studies using random assignment, the gold standard of social science, consistently find that students using school vouchers have higher academic achievement than students who applied for vouchers but lost a random lottery and did not receive them."

"More than half (55 percent) of all unionized charter schools are located in Wisconsin, California, and Ohio (which have 171, 122, and 42 unionized charter schools respectively)."

Analysis Report White Paper

Providing a wealth of research, tables, and charts, Caroline Hoxby demonstrates the effectiveness of charter schools throughout the country. In general, this research shows that charter schools do provide greater student achievement over time.

"By comparing 'untargeted' charter schools serving the general population to their closest neighboring regular public schools, we can draw a fair comparison and get an accurate picture of how well charter schools are performing."

About 12 percent of all charter schools have bargaining agreements. Why do charter schools unionize? What is in these charter school contracts? Can they be considered innovative or models for union reform? And how do they compare to traditional district/union teacher contracts?

"A recent review of data provided by the New York City Department of Education reveals that African-American charter school students were 60 percent more likely than their public school counterparts to earn a seat in one of New York City 's specialized high schools in 2009."

As follow up to a 2005 Thomas B. Fordham report, “Charter School Funding: Inequality’s Next Frontier,” these researchers set out to examine the funding statistics for charter and public schools in the 2006 – 2007 academic year. Their conclusions suggest that the trend for funding inequality has only worsened.

This piece takes a look at a little researched facet of charter schools: funding issues. Sensing that funding issues were at the core of disagreements and controversies between charter schools and traditional public schools, Speakman and Hassel set out to see which of the two parties truly received the most government funds.

For sixteen years the Center for Education Reform has measured the progress of the states when they enact laws to allow for the creation and advancement of charter schools. Our measurements are based on consistent, numerical analyses that hold every state to the same standard against which a charter school law should be measured.

Presenting information from a national survey of charter schools, this study finds that charter schools are serving a wide range of underprivileged students, managing with fewer funds per child, and providing diverse variations in teaching strategies.

Charter Schools against the Odds explains how these policies can be amended to level the playing field and give charter schools--and the children they serve--a fairer chance to succeed.

"'The Evaluation of Charter School Impacts,' highlights the many benefits of charter schools. The results show unambiguously that parents are substantially more satisfied with charter schools and the academic and social development of their children who attend compared to public school parents."

As of October 1995, 17 states had adopted charter-school legislation. The strength and scope of charter-school laws vary greatly among states. This report describes those state statutes, including the 1995 law passed by the Texas State Legislature.

The National Study of Charter Management Organizations Effectiveness aims to fill the gap in systematic evidence about CMOs, providing the first rigorous nationwide examination of CMO achievement effects. The study includes an examination of the relationships between the practices of individual CMOs and their effects on student achievement.

In the wake of the economic downturn that began in 2008, public schools face serious and seemingly long-term fiscal challenges. Rising pension costs are a particular concern for school districts, whose dollars help prop up state retirement plans that often have substantial unfunded liabilities.

"In 1930, the federal government paid for less than 0.5 percent of the costs of public education in the United States; by 2000, the federal government’s contribution had risen to more than 7 percent, with virtually all the rest coming from state and local government sources. This is a nearly twentyfold increase in government spending in what had traditionally been a locally funded enterprise....

The 1992 legislation that authorized charter schools in California created a funding model intended to provide charter schools with the same per–pupil operational funding as received by other schools in the same school district.

Antonucci documents the agenda to bring charter schools under the authority of unions, claiming that unions try to "regulate, steer, rank and organize" them into their mold. The author also gives advice on how charter schools can avoid confrontations with teachers' unions.

While many researchers have looked at charter school outcomes, few consider the effects of charter school laws on student achievement. My research question asks how various components of charter school laws affect the performance of charter school students relative to a matched sample of their traditional public school counterparts.

Charter schools have recently emerged as popular and effective alternatives to traditional public schools. Less than two decades since charter schools first came on the scene, the nation has 4,578 charter schools dispersed across forty-one states and the District of Columbia. These schools enroll 1.4 million students, and their rapid growth shows no sign of abating.

According to this study, students who won a lottery and were able to attend a charter school did significantly better than students who lost out on the lottery and had to attend a public school.

From the beginning, the charter concept was to give schools more autonomy—freedom to hire and fire their staffs and control their own budgets and curriculum—while still holding them accountable for performance. No charter would be allowed to fail its students year after year, as traditional public schools are often permitted to do. If their students were not learning, they would close.

While charter schools have tremendous promise to level the educational playing field in the United States, two major barriers have heretofore prevented these schools from reaching their full potential. First, as a whole, charter schools have yielded inconsistent results.

The general purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of Milwaukee's independent charter schools in promoting student achievement growth. Independent charter schools are authorized by non-school district entities and are considered 'independent' because they are not a part of the Milwaukee Public School District (MPS).

Provides information based on multiple data sources, including: a review of charter school documents from the Minnesota Department of Education; survey data collected in 1994 from superintendents, school board members, and parents; and site visits to those charter schools that were operating in early 1994.

"The 'parent trigger' has been promoted as a mechanism to increase parents’ empowerment over their local schools and over their children’s education. While superficially appealing to democratic processes by 'letting parents decide,' as evidenced in the recently released movie Won't Back Down, the emphasis of parent trigger advocates is on mounting a campaign to authorize the transfer of authority over schools from public to private governance.

This study presents new findings comparing public and private high schools using top-quality data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS), a long-term research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The ELS project tracks individual data on thousands of students, allowing researchers to conduct much better analyses than are possible with school-level data.

This study examines a wide variety of charter school academic scores and compares them with their public school counterparts to determine whether or not charter schools are really as viable an option as some say they are.

This report examines teacher turnover in charter schools and how it resembles and differs from teacher turnover in traditional public schools. The idea for this study grew out of concerns, based on research and media reports, that teacher turnover rates in charter schools are alarmingly high.

This report follows up on the closed charter schools in order to find the root cause of their failure. Only a handful of the closures were due to purely academic reasons, while many others failed because of financial troubles, poor management, or problems with school districts.

Deep and important divisions are roiling America in this election year, and education is not immune to those divides. Results from the 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools show that Americans have a number of conflicting and hardening viewpoints in their appraisal of and preferences for directing, managing, and investing in the schools.

Jon Schroeder begins this piece by recording the details of how Minnesota's charter schools came into existence. This lengthy report gives facts on where Minnesota charter schools are located, which demographics they tend to attract, details concerning legal guidelines, and much more.

"The most frequently asked questions about school choice are: Do public schools respond constructively to competition induced by school choice, by raising their own productivity? Does students’ achievement rise when they attend voucher or charter schools? Do voucher and charter schools end up with a selection of the better students ('cream-skim')?"

"For the vast majority of KIPP schools studied, impacts on students’ state assessment scores in mathematics and reading are positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial. Estimated impacts are frequently large enough to substantially reduce race- and income-based achievement gaps within three years of entering KIPP."

Bruno Manno attempts to fairly answer the ten most common arguments lodged against the charter school movement—from accountability issues to equality problems, and while Manno acknowledges that some of these issues do have merit, he also tries to show why others are not really as big of a deal as some would lead us to believe.

While acknowledging the successes of charter schools - particularly those in the KIPP organization - this article points out some of the weaknesses that pose a challenge for charter school growth.

"But how is charter school performance measured? What are the effects of charter schools on student achievement?"

"This report summarizes the results of a new study: the Evaluation of Charter School Impacts, a large-scale randomized trial of the effectiveness of charter schools funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and its partners."

Charters are drawing students from both traditional public and private schools. They draw a much larger share of their enrollments from private schools in large urban districts than from other districts. The flow of private school students into charters has important fiscal implications for districts and states.

Using an individual panel data set to control for student fixed effects, we estimate the impact of charter schools on students in charter schools and in nearby traditional public schools. We find that students make considerably smaller achievement gains in charter schools than they would have in public schools.

The work of charter school authorizers matters. While individual school operators determine how good their own schools will be, authorizers determine which applicants will be allowed to open and which schools must close. Collectively, authorizers' decisions shape both the scale and quality of the charter school options available to families in their communities.

The Center for Education Reform responds to the growing criticism that not enough charter schools are closing for poor performance. In this report by Vice President of Research Alison Consoletti, research suggests that 15 percent of charter schools have closed since the first charter in 1992.

The Institute on Race and Poverty’s 2008 analysis of charter schools in the Twin Cities metro found that charter schools have failed to deliver on the promises made by charter school proponents.

Based on a Zogby poll, this study reports on parental perception of charter schools. A majority of respondents gave positive approval ratings concerning areas such as academics, lack of violence, "discipline," and "parent-teacher relationships." This document contains a variety of helpful charts and graphs displaying survey results.

Video/Podcast/Media

"A new national study re-ignites the debate over the promise and limitations of charter schools. Created as alternatives to failing public schools, charter schools were supposed to offer more innovation and less bureaucracy. But what about academic achievement?

Guests:

Bella Rosenberg, author of the report "Charter School Achievement on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational...

"Despite their growth, the [charter] schools' effectiveness is still being debated.

A University of Minnesota study found that students at charter schools in the Twin Cities, for example, scored 7.5 percentage points lower on math testing and almost 4.5 points lower on reading tests than their counterparts at traditional schools. National studies have found similar results across the...

Inspired by true events, the film follows the efforts of two mothers to create a charter school. 

"Two mothers from different backgrounds--a postal worker and a reporter--join forces to take on a failing public school system and institute a charter school for children in the neighborhood, including their own."

Caleb Brown from the Cato Institute interviews Ben Chavis in this Podcast. "At Ben Chavis' charter school in Oakland, students are not entitled to a chair. They're not entitled to much of anything, except the opportunity to attend the fourth highest performing public high school in California."

"Founded by Ben Chavis in 2006, American Indian Public Charter School is already the fourth highest performing public high school in California. Its students are almost all African American or Hispanic, and poor. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) network of public charter schools, the focus of Jay Mathews' book, raises its mostly low-income students from far...

Caroline Hoxby's lecture at the Hoover Institution covers her extensive research on New York's charter schools. Hoxby gives the definition of a charter school, describes the variety of achievements that charter schools have had, explains the normal demographics of charter school students, and also discusses the relationship teachers' unions have with charter schools. This video provides a...

"Charters are public schools, often run by private nonprofit organizations, that give students an alternative to traditional schools and principals and teachers more local control over how campuses are run. The transformation of Locke High, completed over objections from the teachers union, marked the first time an existing school in the Los Angeles...

In this video, Dr. Rodriguez answers some of the common questions people ask about charter schools, including funding, facilities, extra-curricular activities, discipline problems, and academic success. A charter school founder himself, Rodriguez believes that while there are some obstacles in charter schooling, the positive effects of charters far outweigh the bad.

"The KIPP Academy charter school was profiled on Making Schools Work, a PBS special by Hedrick Smith that aired on 10/5/05." Part two can be found here.

"What would New Orleans look like if it were home to the nation's top urban public school system? 

Executive Producer Matt Wisdom and Digital Filmmaker Tim Ryan hope to help convey that vision in a new short Internet documentary about recent successes within New Orleans public charter schools. In addition to an insiders look into what makes public...

This video combines a presidential campaign speech by Barack Obama with facts and figures regarding the success of charter schools in the state of Illinois.

David Feith summarizes the parent trigger law debate in California, specifically the recent developments in the city of Adelanto. Essentially, parent trigger laws allow for potential significant change in a public school if at least 50 percent of parents petition that the school is failing. In Adelanto, parents have enacted parent trigger laws to “charterize” an underperforming local public...

"Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) took to the House floor to applaud the leadership role Minnesota charter schools have taken over the last 20 years in providing children with high quality education."

This clip from CBS news covers both the positive and negative viewpoints of charter schools. The reporting covers the success of a specific charter high school in Chicago, while also citing talking points and statistics that favor those who disagree with the charter school option and philosophy.

"Hundreds of anxious Brooklyn parents learn if their children were accepted by one of the city's nine charter schools."

The Center for Educational Freedom’s Adam B. Schaeffer responds to Richard Buddin’s policy analysis, “The Impact of Charter Schools on Public and Private School Enrollments.” In this video, Schaeffer recounts that approximately 190,000 students currently enrolled in charter schools came from private schools, costing taxpayers about $1.8 billion. He then summarizes his proposed solution to the...

"Before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, Orleans Parish public schools were failing miserably. After the storm shut down the public school system completely, there was little reason to be optimistic.

But then something amazing happened.

The state of Louisiana took control over...

In a testimony before the Minnesota House Education Finance committee, Minneapolis school board member Alberto Monserrate declares that charter schools and vouchers generally do not solve the education problems that Minnesota faces.

"Davis Guggenheim, director of 'Waiting for 'Superman,' explains the concept of charter schools and how some have revolutionized education in America."

Primary Document

The revised descendant of the United States' first charter school law, this document thoroughly describes the permissible and impermissible for Minnesota charter schools. This law covers everything from who can be a charter school board member to who is responsible for providing child...

Recognized as a pioneer and advancer of charter school education, the state of Minnesota's legislation is primarily helpful to those wanting to enact effective charter schools in their own states. This particular piece of legislation deals with financial issues, including...

Signed into law on April 27, 2012, the revisions to Chapter 239 of Minnesota’s education law include the extension of initial charter school contracts from three to five years, increased transparency requirements, and specifications for charter and district school collaborations.

The Federal District Court rules that all claims by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) against Asad Zaman, former Executive Director of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), are dismissed with prejudice.

The Federal District Court determines that Mahrous Kandil and Asif Rahman, former board members of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), shall not hold leadership positions in Minnesota public charter schools for a period of three years.

The Federal District Court rules that Asad Zaman, former Executive Director of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), shall not hold a leadership position in a Minnesota public charter school for a period of three years. In addition, Zaman must repay the state of Minnesota $17,500 and drop $360,000 in bankruptcy claims.

President Barack Obama releases a statement of support during the 2012 National Charter Schools Week.

President Bill Clinton speaks about the rise and successes of charter schools at the nation's first charter school in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"This information brief describes Minnesota’s charter school law. The law was first enacted in 1991 to promote innovative educational programs and give teachers and parents the responsibility for managing and operating public schools."

"Charter schools enrolled a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools, but little is known about the factors contributing to these differences. In school year 2009-2010, which was the most recent data available at the time of our review, approximately 11 percent of students enrolled in traditional public schools were students with disabilities compared to...

Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers, issues a statement of opposition to the proposed charter school amendment in Georgia. On behalf of the Georgia Federation of Teachers, Turner insists that the amendment is about power and profit at the expense of students and taxpayers.

"Today we will review the important role charter schools play in the nation's education system.

As you may know, charter schools are public schools created through a contract with state agencies or local school districts. The contract affords a school more flexibility to meet the unique education needs of students. And in exchange for this freedom, charter schools are held accountable...

"By law, charter schools are exempt from some statutes and rules that apply to school districts. However, charter schools must meet the state’s education standards and must meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The analysis in this report provides important insights into charter school student performance; but, the results...

President George W. Bush releases a statement of support during the 2008 National Charter Schools Week.

"Charter schools are educational alternatives that empower families with additional choices for their children. By providing flexibility to educators while insisting on results, charter schools are helping foster a culture of educational innovation, accountability, and excellence....

In this address, President George W. Bush comments on the No Child Left Behind Act and its impact on charter school growth.

"In the 2012 legislative session, Charter School Partners introduced its own bill, HF 2714, a bold series of legislative initiatives to increase the number of high-performing charter schools in Minnesota. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine), was heard in the House Education Finance Committee. Charters 2.0 was supported by numerous national and local partners including...

The U.S. Department of Education chronicles the successes of and challenges facing Volunteers of America of Minnesota (VOA of MN), the first nonprofit charter school authorizer in the nation. The article describes VOA of MN’s targeted approach to address local needs and its commitment to school selection based on fit. VOA of MN also strongly advocates for an increase in funding for quality...

In his first State of the State Address, Governor Mark Dayton calls for bipartisanship and collaboration with respect to education.

"We are all here today, because I think we all believe in two things. First, to paraphrase Hirsch, the shortage of successful urban schools is the single biggest preventable cause of social injustice in the United States. Secondly, we would all agree that the future prospects for our cities and our cities' children depend upon the abilities of cities to innovate and become performance-based...

“Minneapolis was among nine cities across the country where leaders signed agreements to work on collaboration between charter and traditional schools as part of an initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A copy of Minneapolis' agreement, Minneapolis District-Charter Compact: Making Minneapolis a Mecca for Great Gap-Busting School Leaders, was provided to the National...

Jesse Ventura responds to whether or not he supports public school alternatives.

Albert Shanker, late president of the American Federation of Teachers, is documented as an early proponent of "charter" schools. In his address to the National Press Club, Shanker introduces the "second reform movement," in which he calls for the option for teachers and parents to "opt for a different type of school."

"The school district and the teacher union would develop a...

This policy paper demonstrates the viewpoints and positions that the National Education Association takes on charter schools. The NEA is very emphatic that charters should be enacted through district school boards. They also believe that charter schools should be closely monitored in their progress, and that...

"Governor Mark Dayton announced today that the State of Minnesota has won $28.2 million in new federal grant money to support high quality charter schools throughout the state. Minnesota was one of only three states to receive the Charter School Program Grant."

"Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. I am Greg Richmond, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

NACSA is a membership organization, not of charter schools, but of the agencies that oversee charter schools. We work with our member agencies to grow the number of high-quality charter schools across the nation by setting...

"Thank you for coming to Minnesota and inviting me to testify on the charter school system in our state. Charter schools have become a choice for parents and children within the public school system.

Let me begin by giving you a brief history of charter schools in our state. As you may know, the idea for charter schools began in Minnesota in 1991. When first suggested, the program was...

"Thank you ever so much for your very kind invitation to consider with you Minnesota's approach to school choice. All of us have heard endless testimony relative to declining test scores, the inability of our students to compete internationally, and the growing threat to America's future if we do not better prepare our young people. Frankly, I do not believe that any one of us will be able to...

This transcript describes the background and advancement of the Colorado charter school system. While acknowledging that not all charter schools are successful, Colorado's lieutenant governor does seem to be a strong...

During the 2000 presidential election, PBS Frontline interviewed candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore on their respective views on education. This transcript details George W. Bush's stance on school choice, vouchers, and charter schools.

"Charter schools, first launched in the 1990s, are an important and growing component of the public school system in the United States. As of November 2009, more than 5,000 charter schools served over 1.5 million students—approximately three percent of all public school students—in 40 states and the District of Columbia (Center for Education Reform 2009). Charter schools are intended to play a...

Governor Tim Pawlenty announces the authorization of Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools in the state of Minnesota.

In his speech at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Conference, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expressed his opinions and vision for America's charter schools. Duncan believes that charter schools are a viable option to help students in failing schools, but Duncan also...

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FAQs

This FAQ provides some background on education in Minnesota, which in turn will help one to understand today's state of education.

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