Kite & Key Media: Charter Schools, The Educational Miracle Everyone Hates | Video
KITE & KEY MEDIA: In 1983 Americans were shocked by a dramatic report showing a decline in schools across the country. Among his findings: that educational outcomes were even worse for minority students than they were for whites. The result has been a surge in activity aimed at bridging the opportunity gap. The most successful product of these efforts: charter schools.
Here’s the twist of the plot: Nowadays, with the top performing charter schools posting such massive results that they have almost closed the education gap, opposition to charters is more pronounced than ever.
Parents and students want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by charters. More than one million children are on the waiting list for admission to charter schools across the country. So why are so many critics hostile to their existence?
Invent the light bulb? We are giving you a statue in the United States Capitol.
Unlock the secret of human theft? We’re gonna give your name to something on Mars.
Find the key to opportunities for millions of disadvantaged children? Wellllllll …
It was 1983. Michael Jackson introduced the moonwalk. Return of the Jedi dominated the box office. Oh, and also: Americans were panicking [f%&k] outside.
On one front at least, they had good reason to do so. A group of political experts brought together by the federal government released a dramatic report on schools across the country. It was called “A Nation in Danger”.
How dramatic? The report’s most famous line was that if our education system had been imposed on us by a foreign country, we would consider it an act of war. I mean, god damn it guys, we got it.
“A Nation at Risk” created a sense of urgency around a national priority: the need to reform our schools. He reported that American children lagged far behind the rest of the world and that the failures of our education system fell particularly hard on minority students.
The report found, for example, that if 13% of the country’s 17-year-olds were considered functionally illiterate, the rate among minority youth could reach 40%. I
It seemed like an intractable problem. No one knew what to do. That’s why what happened next was so strange. In the years that followed, we did find something that worked: charter schools. And not everyone was happy. In fact … no one seems to even understand what they are.
Polls have shown that nearly 50% of Americans believe that charters are private schools or that they can teach religion.ii They aren’t and they can’t. They also do not charge tuition fees and do not have entrance exams. Charters are public schools. What makes them different is that their principals and teachers decide for themselves how best to meet the educational needs of their students.
Yes, believe it or not, this is not how it works in your average public school, where the rules and regulations can even extend to how garbage is to be removed or how the furniture from. the classroom can be rearranged.iii
And this freedom makes the difference. In New York City, many charter schools are located in the same building as traditional public schools and serve the same majority minority students. In 2018, charter classes in these buildings were five times more likely to take a majority of students to a standardized English test. In math, they were seven times more likely. iv
And this is not an isolated result. Research by Princeton and the Brookings Institution found that just three years in the top performing charters was enough to close the education gap between black and white students.
Yet despite this success, charters still represent only a small part of the educational spectrum: only about 7% of public school students attend one. Vi Part of the reason is that the government controls the educational spectrum. number of charter schools opening. . And there are a lot of people who think the correct answer should be “none”.
Their criticisms are serious. There are many charters that work in much the same way as traditional public schools. Some of them fail completely. But the best of them get incredible results.
And they are doing it for the country’s most vulnerable children. Two-thirds of the students in charter schools across the country are not white. Many of them live in difficult neighborhoods. And without charters, their options would be rather bleak.
A 2018 study from the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford found that sixth-graders in wealthier, predominantly white school districts were up to four levels ahead of their majority-minority counterparts in urban districts. the poorest.viii
The results of the best charter schools in the country prove that we do not have to accept these results. And those who need it most know it. In 2019, there were over 23,000 children on the waiting list for admission to charter schools … in Massachusetts alone.ix Nationally, that number exceeds one million.x
There is no bigger problem in America today than whether the country is doing enough to provide a level playing field for people of all races and walks of life. Charter schools are one mechanism to do this. They are not perfect. But that is not the question. The question is: would these students be better off in a world without them?