This from the Herald-Leader:
Charter schools should not have unfair advantage
...Allowing charter schools would certainly enhance the state's application for Race to the Top funds. The federal government believes that giving parents the option of enrolling their children in a charter school may serve to increase educational quality and accountability.
But certain influential education organizations in Kentucky don't want charter schools because they fear charter schools will detract from the viability of our public school systems.
As an educational researcher, I have read much of the research on charter schools. From what I can determine, the findings are inconclusive at best. Some studies say charter schools work, while others suggest they offer little or no advantage.
Unfortunately, the quality of most of these studies is not very good. The majority have significant methodological flaws that challenge the validity of their results.
The most we can say at this point is that we really don't know whether charter schools are necessarily good or bad. No strong evidence shows students learn better in charter schools than they would if enrolled in regular public schools. But no confirming data shows that charter schools harm students or public school systems either.
The real issue comes down to the policies set for launching charter schools.
Guskey suggests two rules for charters in Kentucky:
- Charters must accept any child who wants to enroll.
- Charters have to keep that child and will be held accountable for his or her learning progress, no matter what.
Guskey says these rules would level the playing field and that any school can look good if allowed selective admissions or if allowed to "counsel out" students who don't fit.
That is why saying charter schools work for students who stay for three years has little significance if all those students not doing well were "encouraged" to leave.