Achievement Gap

Charter Schools Last Week: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last week, charter schools made headlines for a variety of reasons—some of them great, and some of them were not-so-great. For instance, a study of public charter schools in Texas found that, despite being initially lower-performing than district schools, charter schools were able to make steady gains toward closing the performance gap over a ten-year period. The study attributes this increase in achievement to a number of reasons, including improvement of existing schools, positive selection of charter management organizations, exits of lower-performing schools from the sector, and more. Furthermore, the study notes that there is no evidence that charter schools harm district schools, going so far as to point out that traditional public schools that lost students to charter schools actually improved over time. In other news, the D.C. Public Charter School Board found that enrollment is up in the best D.C. charter schools, with more than 12,000 students attending the highest-ranked charter schools in the District. This represents nearly one-third of students, a 9 percent increase from last year. Finally, an unfortunate appellate court ruling out of Arizona provides that the state’s charter school students are not entitled to funding equal to that of their district school peers. The court ruled that charters face fewer administrative burdens—including the requirement to hire certified teachers—and that students and parents have the option to return to their district school. It is confounding that the state would allow for the creation of non-traditional options for families, but then deny these schools parity in per-pupil funding.
Valentina Payne
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.

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