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.”

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