Charters news redux

Two great charter school stories this week. In New York City, recent tests that showed increases in proficiency rates citywide (see here) also showed charter schools outscoring their traditional public school peers. Fourteen of 20 charter schools that took the test posted higher scores than nearby public schools, with two of the charters - KIPP Academy and Bronx Prep - far outpacing the city average on the 8th grade test. Meanwhile, in California, EdSource reports (see here) that classroom-based charter schools were 33 percent more likely than regular public schools to meet California proficiency standards. (Non-classroom or "virtual" charters performed significantly worse than classroom charters and slightly worse than regular district schools.) Charters in California have focused on "five key areas, including student achievement, strong site leadership, and mentoring between schools. If one school is struggling with English language learning programs, for example, they get help from more seasoned colleagues at other sites," reports the Contra Costa Times. Will this help efforts to lift charter school caps and other onerous regulations in place in both states? One hopes. In Maryland, though, the state board decided to reduce the per-pupil funding that 16 new charter schools are to receive next year after local school districts whined that it was too much money. So, two steps forward, one step back.

"Charter students tops in test scores," by Joe Williams, New York Daily News, May 23, 2005

"Charters make grade, study finds," by Jackie Burrell, Contra Costa Times, May 25, 2005

"Charter school funding adjusted in Md.," by Ylan Q. Mui, Washington Post, May 25, 2005

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