Charter Schools in Blue States: It Works

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

More evidence indicates that school choice works, even in so-called blue states.

charter school poster

The Boston-based Pioneer Institute undertook a study of charter schools in the bay state and found that “Case studies of five high-performing charter schools from around the state reveal that these schools create highly effective teaching workforces in specific ways. First, they take great advantage of the autonomy that they have to assemble their own teaching workforces, in most cases without having to consider teacher tenure or other common constraints that teachers’ unions impose on traditional public schools. When assembling their workforces, high performing charter schools tend to be agnostic with regard to whether or not teachers are licensed, and instead consider factors such as academic background, ‘buy-in’ to the school’s mission, and whether or not a candidate will contribute to a department and/or a school, on the whole.”

“Case studies also reveal that high-performing charter schools cultivate tailored approaches to teacher induction and professional development—approaches that, in all cases, emphasize the use of frequent evaluations, specific and actionable feedback, and the leverage of peer and mentor teachers in these processes.”

Moreover, Cara Stillings Candal, who authored the study, notes, “Interestingly, charters achieve these stellar results with a comparatively young and less experienced teaching workforce. Teacher data from the Boston Public Schools and a high performing charter in the same area are both representative and revealing: At City on a Hill Charter Public School in Roxbury, MA (one of the highest performing high schools in the Commonwealth), 41% of teachers are between the ages of 26-32, and an even greater percentage are under the age of 26. In Boston, on the other hand, only 19% of teachers are between the age of 26-32, and far fewer than that are under the age of 26.”