Dear Commons Community,
Last week amid protests and rancor, New York City’s Panel For Education Policy approved recommendations to close 18 public schools and severely truncate 5 other schools. This has become an annual scene in New York and basic education policy of Michael Bloomberg and his school chancellors. However, there has been little discussion of closing charter schools that are under-performing.
The New York Times in its editorial today is asking why? Commenting on the issue nationally:
“Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools, financed with public money and operating in 40 states, are often worse than traditional schools, the state and local organizations that issue charters and oversee the schools are too hesitant to shut them down. That has to change if the movement is to maintain its credibility.
A new study from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a nonprofit, pro-charter school organization, found that a smaller and smaller percentage of schools are being denied charter renewals.
According to the study, charter authorizers who oversee many of the nation’s approximately 5,600 charters have, in recent years, shut down fewer schools. Only 6.2 percent of those that came up for renewal in 2010-11 were shuttered, down from 8.8 percent in 2009-10 and 12.6 percent in 2008-9.
A 2009 study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that 37 percent of charter schools performed worse on student test measures than their traditional counterparts. Given that data, closure rates should clearly be higher. Those rates vary widely across the country. The District of Columbia Public Charter School Board is one of the agencies that sets clear standards and shuts schools that fail to meet them, according to the study. It oversees 98 charter schools and has closed 14 over the last three years.”
In New York City, the rate of closures of charter schools is about 4 percent, below the national average. This is an area in need of closer scrutiny.