Are Charter Schools All They're Cracked Up to Be?

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Are Charter Schools All They're Cracked Up to Be? Are Charter Schools All They're Cracked Up to Be?
Education

Are Charter Schools All They're Cracked Up to Be?

by Siobhan O'Connor

December 3, 2009
If there's one thing people in the education world love to bicker about, it's charter schools. There are two camps, and most people fall squarely into one of them. The arguments for and against are solid (if a little tired at this point), but if you put aside the rhetoric and actually try to assess what kind of schools are working, the conversation changes somewhat. It also created more opportunities for bickering, 'cause then you have to get people to agree on how you decide if a school is "working" or not.Regardless, this piece in Monday's Washington Post offers some food for thought, pointing to two studies done this year that basically came to opposite conclusions about how well charter schools are doing. One, done at Stanford, said charter school students underperformed compared to their public-school peers. The other, also done at Stanford, said charter school students were excelling. Who is more right? Probably both of them.The obvious takeaway is that charter schools aren't the be all end all in education reform-nor are they the quickest path to ruin. What they are is an experiment with super spotty results, and they are pretty hard to judge them as a group. Which is fine. What's less fine, perhaps, is the fact that there's a national imperative now to support these kinds of schools.Did you go to a charter school? What's your take?
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