. . . it came as a bit of a shock to the community of educational reformers last year when a study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) found that 37 percent of charter schools produce academic results that are worse than public schools, while only 17 percent perform significantly better. Earlier studies sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers’ union, had produced similar results, but they were suspect, since unions stood to lose from the charter-school movement. CREDO, on the other hand, is part of the Hoover Institution, known for favoring free-market solutions. “The perception that charters are per se better than other public schools has been belied by the facts,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT.So far, so good. But then Newsweek puts its own special topping on this year-old news that it never reported by explaining that educators and parents are to blame for not closing down that 37% of bad charter schools.
Generally speaking, in states and cities where the bar is set high for both entry and performance (Boston, New York, D.C., Chicago), charter schools do well. In states that started with the loosest oversight (Arizona, Florida, California, Ohio, and Texas), there’s much more of a mixed bag.