Grading Charter Schools

With Mike Pesca in for Tom Ashbrook

Do charter schools make the grade? A closer look at their mixed report card, and accountability.

In this April 13, 2011 photo, children take part in a music class at the Mott Haven Academy Charter School, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP)

In this April 13, 2011 photo, children take part in a music class at the Mott Haven Academy Charter School, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP)

The promise of charter schools has clearly not been fully realized. There are successes, to be sure. But the question is: What to do with the failures?  At least a third of charter schools do worse than the public schools they replace.

Yet the rate of closure ; a new study reveals that only 6 percent of charters weren’t renewed.  Failing schools stay open despite evidence- wasn’t this why charter schools came about in the first place?

This hour, On Point: re-charting the waters for charter schools.

-Mike Pesca


Christopher Lubienski, Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois. He’s also the co-editor of The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications.

Greg Richmond, CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizer.

Charlene Reid, principal of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, which is a National Blue Ribbon nominee.

From The Reading List

LA Times “In the second effort to use the “parent trigger,” a landmark state law giving parents unprecedented power to force sweeping changes at low-performing schools, proponents turned in signatures last month representing 70% of Desert Trail’s 665 students to convert to a charter. Those campuses are mostly nonunion, publicly financed but independently run.”

The New York Times
“The charter school movement has expanded over the last 20 years largely on this promise: If exempted from some state regulations, charters could outperform traditional public schools because they have flexibility and can be more readily tailored to the needs of students. Another selling point is that these schools are supposed to be periodically reviewed when they renew their operating permits — and easily shut down if they fail.”

New York Daily News “Emotional students and teachers packed up years’ worth of belongings as their beloved school, St. Augustine, closed its doors forever last June. A charter school moved into the building.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 25, 2015
Three of baker Renee McLeoud's delicious pies, on display in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »