Jackson, MS – Led by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Obama administration is ignoring the authoritative negative research-based evidence about charter school experiments across the nation. In the face of major national studies that charter schools are not what they promised to be, Education Secretary Duncan is threatening to withhold federal education funds from states that fail to adopt laws that authorize the creation of privately-owned, privately-governed charter schools.
Charter school movement advocates contend charter schools are the answer to failing traditional public schools because charter schools provide higher student performance, generate innovations in the delivery of education, build competition with traditional public schools that will force public schools to improve, and deliver a more effective education to students of color than do traditional public schools.
But what does the research-based evidence reveal? The Rand Corporation, Stanford University and the University of Minnesota have each published in the last year major multi-state studies of charter schools. The studies demonstrate that students in most charter schools are not performing any better on standardized tests than students in traditional public schools; charter schools are not proving to generate competition for traditional public schools; most charter schools are not significantly more innovative than traditional public schools; most charter schools experience an achievement gap between white students and students of color; and that charter schools have expanded rather than reduced student economic and racial segregation.
The Rand, Stanford and Minnesota studies, and some articles, are accessible on the Southern Echo website under “Publications”.