One of the Public-Education pimps’ big chanting points is that “charter schools don’t perform as well as public school!”.
And in terms of top-line statistics, there’s something to that. Many charter schools – especially ones catering to low-income, inner-city, immigrant and Native-American students – have lower standardized test scores (although as I showed several years ago in delivering one of my uncountable drubbings to Nick Coleman, many charter schools beat the pants off their public district neighbors). The reason, I suspect, is that in most cases those students have already been chewed up and spat out by the public system, and are going the charter route to try to get back on track. It was certainly true in the charter schools my kids attended.
Indeed, I think the only really meaningful measurement would compare differences in improvement or deterioration in individual students before and after transferring from public to charter schools, compared with comparable students that stayed in the public system.
But beyond that? You’ll look long and hard for these figures in the mainstream, DFL-allied media:
And as all of us both brace for more “paying for a better Minnesota” and simultaneously watching the cities’ public schools slide even further into disgrace, this next bit (emphasis added) is fun reading:
As if these scores weren’t impressive enough, Best, Friendship, and Harvest are able to achieve them with much less money than the Minneapolis Public Schools district. Here is a comparison of 2012-13 per student spending in the district versus at these schools: MPS = $23,020 Best = $11,987 Friendship = $13,677 Harvest = $10,958 One has to wonder: Would these schools have been able to achieve these results under the aegis of the large bureaucracy of the school district? Or, does their independence help generate and inspire creative solutions that often elude large systems? Not all charters work. But the students at Best, Friendship, and Harvest would tell you that theirs do.
And so would their parents.
(BONUS QUESTION for MNGOP “Strategists”: Why is it, again, that you refuse to have Republican candidates approach charter parents in the city, to tell them that the DFL wants to destroy the charter school system? That’s gotten you what over the past seven years, exactly?)