March 4, 2017

Some facts about charter schools

Henry M. Levin, Best Countries - Eighty percent of private school students in the U.S. are in religiously affiliated institutions that reflect their family beliefs, but not necessarily the values of a democracy. It is natural that families would like their schools to reinforce their religious, philosophical and political beliefs, but these must be weighed against a common experience that justifies government funding.

Some have argued that competitive incentives induced by school choice will lead to better educational outcomes. However, there is little evidence to support this claim.

Sweden has had an educational voucher system since 1992, but its achievement levels on international tests have been falling for two decades. Chile has had such a system since 1980, and there is little evidence of improvement in achievement relative to countries at similar levels of income. Cleveland, Milwaukee, and the District of Columbia have issued vouchers to low-income families, but sophisticated evaluations find no difference between achievement in private voucher schools and public schools with similar student populations. Students from low-income families in Louisiana who have used vouchers to shift from public to private schools have experienced striking reductions in achievement gains relative to similar students in public schools.

In England there has been a dramatic shift from schools governed by public councils to academies run by private groups with great autonomy and the ability to select their own students. The results on student achievement show no distinct advantage, and there are similar results for U.S. charter schools based upon careful statistical comparisons.

Where school choice has shown powerful effects around the world is the systematic separation of students by ethnicity, social class and religion.

Sweden’s vouchers have increased segregation by social class and immigrant status. Chile’s voucher system has produced one of the most segregated system of schools in the world by family income. In the Netherlands, studies of the school choice system have pointed to school separation of students by ethnicity, immigrant status and family income. A Brookings Institution study found that U.S. charter schools are more segregated racially and socio-economically than public schools in surrounding areas. The Program for International Student Assessment, an important triennial study of international student performance, finds school segregation by social class is associated with school choice


Matt said...

Your anti charter school bias is out of control. There's not a single word about charter schools in this piece. Do you even know what a charter school is?

Matt said...

There's no interest in the subject. A shame, really, when it's about public education. How the fuck are we ever going to be able to do something as a group when we can't agree on the fact that teachers should be qualified and then autonomous.