We will continue to hear about charter miracle schools. The stories are over-blown but there are surely great charter schools, as there are great (unionized) traditional public schools and private schools. But when you look, this issue always comes down to leadership, not organizational structure.
The latest in a long line of data supporting the proposition that charters do not, as an overall structure, out-perform traditional public schools is the new CREDO study from Stanford, the definitive long-term source of charter school performance analysis although (they must be read with certain widely-discussed cautions- just search on CREDO to get a taste, but here is a good beginning list).
There are many ways to read the study and many reviews of it, but the most useful review is this one from Brookings: Much Ado Over Tiny Differences. The title says it all and the post delivers the goods. Author Tom Loveless starts by asking,
Are the differences reported by CREDO large enough to be significant in the real world?….
And concludes that,
The two sectors perform about the same. Claims that the CREDO studies demonstrate the success or failure of one sector or the other are based on analyses that make small differences appear much larger than they really are.
You’ve got to be patient to read what comes between, but your patience will be rewarded.
If you try to fix the public schools you’re a part of the problem. The modus operendi of the public school system has been: 1) Do something crazy; 2) get the parents involved to fix the problem; 3) the parents don’t get the problem completely fixed; 4) the public schools gradually get worse. Whether this is intentional or not on the behalf of the NEA(National Educators Association) is a different question. The bottom result is 50+ years of fixing public schools receives a big red ‘F’. The only answer is: Let parents choose the schools for their children with NO GOVERNMENT TESTING. Government testing is just another way for the government to control curricula. Hey, isn’t the STD rate of public students high enough? Or, isn’t the divorce rate high enough amongst public student alumni? Or, hasn’t there been enough drug attics coming out of public schools. Or, hasn’t there been enough mass murders in public schools, etc., etc., etc. A day may come when your child will be subject to one of these tragic problems so prevelent in the public schools. If you don’t act to vote in a voucher system who will be to blame? If we don’t do vouchers we will burn…
The acedemics are horid as well. Look at the facts concerning where engineers and physists are coming from. Dr. Michio Kaku says the US has the worst school system in the world. We import all our brains, then they leave.
Sure, let the kids receive report cards, but don’t let the government near them. Only parents and kids should see the scores. Also, if colleges want to charge $30k/yr then they should except an essay and an interview. If a college can’t do this, I would be very suspect of the college. You have to give parents total control over their children’s education — parents are the primary educators, therefore it is their responsibility. A voucher system would save local communities hordes of money, and it would allow dedicated teachers to ban together to form a lot of small schools for plenty of choice for the parents. Last, it is imperative to keep the NEA out of this process as they are destroying families and our country.