Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

CHARTERS SCORE – OUTPERFORM AGAIN IN NYC

CHARTERS SCORE

By JAMES D. MERRIMAN

www.nypost.com/seven/06252008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/charters_score_117007.htm

By JAMES D. MERRIMAN

Chancellor has brought improvement via charters and traditional public schools.
Klein: Chancellor has brought improvement via charters and traditional public schools.

June 25, 2008

THE latest New York state achievement exams once again give charter- school students, parents and staff reason to be proud.

New York City charter-school students outpaced their counterparts in the regular public schools on the state English and math exams – the only tests that all kids take.

In math, charter students in grades 3 to 8 attained 84.9 percent proficiency – versus 70.5 percent for the other public schools in the same districts, and 74.3 percent citywide.

On the English Language Arts exam, charter students achieved 67.1 percent proficiency, compared to 53.6 percent for non-charter students in the same districts, and 57.6 percent citywide.

Note, too, that charters’ 84.9 percent in math is up from 73.8 percent last year, while the English score of 67.1 is up from 56.7.

Three other facts stand out:

1) Kids attending charters don’t just outperform students in those districts’ regular public schools: The performance-gap on these exams has steadily widened over the last three years, reaching double-digit margins this year.

2) Charter students’ performance showed significant gains in the middle grades – an area where the city’s traditional public schools have been having particular trouble of late.

In grades 6, 7 and 8, nearly four out of five charter students scored as proficient on this year’s state math exam – versus 61 percent of non-charter public-school students in the same districts, and the citywide average of 66 percent.

On the English test, 63 percent of charter-school students in the middle grades were proficient, compared to 47 percent for the host districts and 52 percent citywide.

3) Charters show great promise for closing the gap in performance between African-American and Latino students on the one hand and white students on the other: More than 90 percent of New York City charter kids are African- American or Latino – yet the city’s charters came within four percentage points of matching the math-proficiency rate of white students statewide.

While remarkable, these numbers aren’t surprising. They mirror the results of each of the last four years – showing that charter-school achievement is a sustained trend.

Charters’ success here doesn’t diminish the improvements that the city’s conventional city public schools have achieved – but it does show that giving parents options pays huge dividends.

Naysayers try to minimize charters’ success by noting that other children in the district don’t benefit from charters, which educate only 18,000 of the city’s million-plus public-school kids. In fact, charters are eager to share their best innovations with traditional public schools.

In the Chancellor’s Empowerment Zone, 10 charter schools work side-by-side with the most innovative new district schools to focus their efforts on what’s working well.

Above all else, when charter schools work well, no children are losers.

Some keys to sustaining the charter movement’s progress are:

* Keep encouraging charter schools and district schools to share space: Thirty-two charters are now housed in district facilities. That’s entirely legit – these public schools serve the city’s neediest kids. And sharing space gives charters and traditional schools the chance to collaborate to make a high-quality education a reality for every school in that building.

Yet some are trying to replace such cooperation with parent-on-parent animus by banning successful charter schools from public space.

* Provide charters with funding to build and improve their facilities: The state law that authorized charters failed to provide funds to build these schools; that’s the main reason charters use space in city Department of Education buildings.

Charters have to use funds from their budget to rent or buy classroom space. Every other public school in New York benefits from generous funding for building (and re-building) schools – regardless of whether the district or school is showing results.

* Let charters operate pre-kindergarten programs and receive funding for it. Charter schools have shown that they raise student achievement – so parents should be able to enroll their children as early as possible in charter-school pre-K programs, like any other public school.

* Reauthorize mayoral control of city public schools: Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein won high praise for their stewardship of the public-school system. Their successors should have the chance to build on their accomplishments – and that includes encouraging the growth of charter schools.

The high performance of the city’s charter schools shows that something wonderful is within our reach: a system in which our students are all allowed and encouraged to succeed. Now we must forge ahead to make that a reality.

James D. Merriman is the CEO of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, a nonprofit committed to increasing the number of high-quality charters in the city.

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2008/06/29 - Posted by | Policy

1 Comment »

  1. Charter-skolene gjør det ikke bra fordi de er private eller fordi de betaler lærerne mer. De gjør det bra i den grad de (a) tiltrekker seg motiverte elever og/eller (b) bruker direct instruction som undervisningsmetode. De offentlige skolene i Norge ville vært like bra som charterskolene i USA dersom de norske skolene også hadde brukt evidensbasert instruksjon heller en ideologisk og religiøst funderte metoder som situasjonen er nå.

    Comment by Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren | 2008/06/29 | Reply


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