Charter Schools – What do you know?
This week’s Economist had an interesting article about charter schools. While generally supportive of charter schools, the article offers a detailed and thorough analysis of the issue. I won’t summarize the entire article, but several things did catch my eye:
Charter schools are only twenty years old, and Delaware’s charters are even younger – the first two were founded in 1996. The work’s just getting started and there have already been some great results and big plans to keep improving.
Charter schools enroll less than 4% of the country’s public school students. In Delaware, the number is around 8%. While places like DC and New Orleans are bringing charters to scale, they are, in fact, a small part of the public education landscape. Despite this, charters dominate much of the education policy discussion at the national and local level.
Charter schools are not all the same. Not only do they use different curricula, serve different populations, and have different philosophies overall, but state laws are all different—9 states don’t even have charter school laws. “Charters” are not a homogeneous, single-minded group.
This article is a worthwhile read for charter supporters and charter skeptics alike. It’s a great primer on charter schools and a reminder that this “movement” is young, small, and diverse.
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