'Chartering' has changed significantly since introduction in Minnesota
- Twenty-five years after the creation of the concept of “chartered schools” in Minnesota, the charter school movement has claimed 5% of the nation’s 50 million K-12 public school students, with the number rising to as many as 30% in 14 urban districts.
- Education Week reports the original idea was meant to give parents and teachers permission to explore different learning opportunities for students, not create standalone schools or multi-state networks led by charter management organizations.
- Wealthy philanthropists have contributed to the rise of the urban, college-prep charter school model, aimed at low-income black and Latino students, and charters have largely failed at being research and development centers for innovations that go back to traditional schools, instead creating major competition for them.
As charter schools have grown to become such important players in certain school districts, they have received intense scrutiny when it comes to their outcomes, their pedagogical practices, and their discipline policies. Depending on who commissioned the study, research has shown charters have had an overall positive impact on students or that most charters are no better than traditional schools. Charters have become scapegoats during budget battles for the money they pull out of the traditional school system, and they have been lauded for spurring competition and breaking down the center of power in school systems.
The urban college prep model has become a favorite of donors because of the success rates at getting poor students of color accepted to college. Critics point to the attrition numbers, however, as it is often true that a small portion of students who start out in these schools as freshmen end up making it to become seniors and get counted toward the college acceptance rates.
- Education Week The Evolution of the 'Chartered School'
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