Diane Ravitch on charter schools and merit pay:
- Washington is one of eight states without charters. The others are Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia. Maine just went on-line with charters this year and bills have been introduced in the other states but not passed. Expansion of charter law has continued in those states that already have them (see what charter advocates want).
- There are over 5,000 charter schools in the U.S., representing a little over 5% of all public schools. California has the largest number at 917 (9.2%) with Arizona having the largest percentage for a state (506 schools and 23.2%) and the District of Columbia with 52 schools and a whopping 45% of all public schools.
- They average charter has been open about 7 years with about 30% open 10+years, 19% 7-9 years, 23% 4-6 years and 26% 1-3 years.
- The majority are in urban areas (52%), suburbs 20% and rural/town about 23%. (By comparison, it’s fairly even for traditional public schools with 24% urban, 27% suburban, 14% town and 33% rural.)
- Enrollment has increased from last year of about 200,000 more students (an increase of 13%)
- The average charter school enrollment is 372, compared with about 478 in all public schools, according to the Center for Education Reform.
- 65 percent of charter schools have waiting lists, an increase of 6 percent over 2009.
- A 2010 study by researchers at University of Colorado-Boulder and Western Michigan University found that most charter schools were “divided into either very segregative high-income schools or very segregative low-income schools” compared to their sending districts, and that the pattern had changed little between 2000-01 and 2006-07. They also tended to enroll a lower proportion of special education students and English-language learners. (Miron, Urschel, Mathis, 2010)
- It has been difficult for researchers to be able to state the actual closure rate (due to lax reporting/oversight) for charters but it appears to be around 13-16%.
- What charter advocates want (in states that already have charters)
- lifting caps on the number of new charters that can open in any given year
- allowing charters to share in levy revenues, both operations and capital
- allowing charters access to state credit ratings so that they can get better interest rates on bond for facilities
- approval of charter schools at only the state level (rather than at a local level which is done in some states)
- they are not providing better academic outcomes for the majority of charter students
- they are not being held accountable (the majority close for financial reasons but studies have found if states held charters to their actual charter goals, many more would close)
- they are not particularly innovative (and this is from the Center on Reinventing Education
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is one such organization trying to create change from within and are pushing for voluntary standards for authorizing charter schools (right now, each state creates their own).
New York is taking aim at how charters recruit students. This past spring, New York passed a law requiring charters to enroll a sufficient number of lower-income students, students with disabilities and English language learners. National studies have found that charter schools tend to under-enroll students with disabilities and English language learners. New York also introduced regulations designed to make charter lotteries more transparent.
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