Thursday, March 4, 2010

Charter school fail

Yesterday the Star Tribune reported that the bottom performing five percent of Minnesota primary and secondary public schools will be subject to draconian punishment, including the possible closing or restructuring of 34 schools. Of those schools, half are Charter schools.

Minnesota has 2,637 public schools. Of those, according to the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, about 152 are Charters. Doing the math, that means that 17 of 152 Charters are failing, versus 17 of 2,485 regular public schools are judged failing. That amounts to about 11 percent of Charters failing versus a little more than one-half of one percent of regular schools failing - meaning Charters in Minnesota are about 17 times more likely to fail than regular public schools.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the educational attainment levels of Charters versus regular public schools. A study from Stanford University last year found that Minnesota Charter schools perform "significantly below" the level of regular public schools.

So what will be done with these failing Charters? What is the point of "restructuring" a Charter school, when it was a failed experiment to begin with?

As I've said repeatedly, Charter schools are an experiment that has failed miserably. It is now a political movement, not an educational one, and it is the children of Minnesota who are now the continuing victims of a scam based on creating a "market" for schools where none existed, and where none can truly exist.


Richard J. Keck said...

Your brush is rather broad. As you may know, the same report you cited to justify your positions shows that Colorado Charter Schools are out performing.

So a few questions. How did the implementation of Charter School happen in Minnesota vs. Colorado? Is there an implementation approach that needs to be addressed? Finally, I'd like to know the history of the schools in the areas where the Charter Schools are having problems. If they hurt great schools that is a concern. If they took on a failing environment and could not fix it, perhaps your criticizing a valiant effort.

Rob Levine said...

That's a lot you want to know, Richard. In different circumstances I might be interested. However, given that charters were invented here in Minnesota more than 20 years ago there has been ample time for this experiment. A study by the University of Minnesota came to the same conclusion: Charters do a worse job of educating children. Given their attendant criminality and draining of resources from regular public schools, I might turn this around: How many childrens' educations are you willing to spoil to try and prove a point?

Rob Levine said...

Richard: What does it matter the quality of the public schools before the charters came along? If they were crappy - they would still be crappy, i.e. the experiment failed. Charters are 17 times more likely to be failing in Minnesota than regular public schools. I don't see how you get around declaring the experiment a failure.