Charter schools have proven to be a good education model, per a brief published by the Thomas Fordham Institute. The brief’s main focus was to detail three education models that states could use to retool and revamp their education systems. However, the most convincing model of the three listed was charter schools.
The brief cited a study of urban charter schools by CREDO, which discovered that “’[U]rban charter students [are] receiving the equivalent of roughly forty days of additional learning per year in math and twenty-eight additional days of learning per year in reading’ compared to their peers in traditional public schools.” Fordham continued, “The study revealed particularly strong charter performance for ‘black, Hispanic, low-income, and special-education students in both math and reading.’”
The more significant finding was that the “regions with larger learning gains in charter schools outnumber those with smaller learning gains two-to-one.” Somehow, moving students into highly-performing charter schools has not been extensively studied, the brief said. The majority of charter schools do not focus on moving students, but act as a startup in order to “instill a defined program and culture from the outset.”
The authors concluded that charter schools are a viable option for turning schools and education around. The authors recognized that Washington, D.C., Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, New York have examples of successful charter school examples.
Fordham’s brief noted, “[F]orty-four communities now enroll more than 20 percent of their public school students in charters, including seventeen that enroll more than 30 percent, among them such major urban centers as Detroit, Cleveland, and Kansas City.” Not all charter schools are created equal because of the differences in authorizers (i.e. administrators who monitor the charter schools). Fordham stated the following:
“[W]hen overseen by vigilant authorizers, charters can achieve powerful results by innovating in areas of talent, professional development, curriculum, school structure, schedules, and beyond. Charters do seem to offer significant benefits to students in schools most in need of ‘turnaround.’”