Public schools are outperforming charter schools in Minnesota, in some cases “dramatically,” according to a new analysis by the state’s Star-Tribune newspaper.
In addition, many charter schools fail to adequately support minority students, close examination of the data revealed.
Journalist Kim McGuire looked at 128 of the state’s 157 charter schools and found “that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.”
“Today, charter advocates claim that their privately managed charters will ‘save low-income students from failing public schools,’ but the Minnesota experience suggests that charters face the same challenges as public schools.”
—Diane Ravitch, New York University
Between 2011 and 2014, McGuire reported, 20 charter schools failed to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, “signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.”
Charlene Briner, the Minnesota Department of Education’s chief of staff, told the newspaper that she was troubled by the information, “which runs counter to ‘the public narrative’ that charter schools are generally superior to public schools.”
“Minnesota is the birthplace of the charter school movement and a handful of schools have received national acclaim for their accomplishments, particularly when it comes to making strong academic gains with low-income students of color,” the Star-Tribune claims. “But the new information is fueling critics who say the charter school experiment has failed to deliver on teaching innovation.”
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