“We are the last generation, fighting the last big battle to make true on that – that a child born anywhere in America, from any parents, a child no matter what their race or religion or socio-economic status should have that pathway, should have that equal opportunity, and there is nothing more fundamental to that than education. That is the great liberation.”
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ), May 2016
Two days ago Senator Booker voted no on confirming charter school advocate, Betsy DeVos, for Secretary of Education.
Charter schools are flourishing because poor inner city black parents are desperate to have their children attend a good school and the big city public schools are often very poor quality.
Stanford University recently conducted a study of charter schools in 41 regions around the country and found that:
- Urban charter schools in the aggregate provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading compared to their traditional public school peers.
- Learning gains for charter school students are larger by significant amounts for Black, Hispanic, low-income and special education students in both math and reading.
- Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools lag the learning gains of their traditional public school counterparts, some to distressingly large degrees.
For example, charter schools are very successful in New York City and especially so for African-American and Hispanic students (see chart below).
Conclusion. Charter schools work well when they are done right. They work especially well for minority children in large urban areas. These are generally the high-risk kids from low-income families who will benefit the most from a little extra help.