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The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools

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'Charter' photo (c) 2009, Sean - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I’ve previously written several times about my concerns about charter schools and how they are often described by some school reformers as the answer to all that ails public education.

I thought it would be useful to readers, and to me, to bring together some articles that I’ve found useful in learning about charters.

You might also be interested in A Beginning List Of The Best Posts & Articles On The Charter School CREDO Study.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools:

Schools Of Last Resort by Walter Gardner at Education Week.

The Myth of Charter Schools by Diane Ravitch at The New York Review of Books.

Charters vs. public schools: Behind the numbers by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post.

What charter schools really tell us about education reform by Raina Kelley at Newsweek.

Charters: To Skim or Not to Skim? by former Executive Director Claus von Zastrow at Learning First.

What’s not to like about charter schools?

Question raised about new KIPP study (with update) by Valerie Strauss

10 Things Charter Schools Won’t Tell You is the headline of an excellent article from, of all places, The Wall Street Journal.

Myths and realities about KIPP is an excellent column in The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog. It’s written by Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. Here’s an excerpt:

The big difference between KIPP and regular public schools, however, is that whereas struggling students come and go at regular schools, at KIPP, student leave but very few new children enter. Having few new entering students is an enormous advantage not only because low-scoring transfer students are kept out but also because in the later grades, KIPP students are surrounded only by successful peers who are the most committed to the program.

The McEducation of Charter Students is a very impressive essay at NPR. It’s written by Natalie Hopkinson

More questions for KIPP was published in the Washington Post.

Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say? comes from Miller-McCune.

Measuring poverty in education policy research comes from School Finance 101.

Among Charter Schools, Inconsistency Begets Opportunity is from the Shanker Blog

KIPP Schools Enroll Fewer ELLs and Special Ed. Students is by Mary Ann Zehr at Ed Week. Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools is also by Mary Ann.

KIPP’s Advantages — And Drawbacks is by John Thompson at This Week In Education.

Same Kids, Same Building, Same Lies is by Gary Rubinstein.

KIPP and Its Critics Are Both Right is by John Thompson.

Obama and Duncan Are Wrong About Charters by Diane Ravitch is a couple of years old but still worth reading.

The Offensively Defensive Ideology of Charter Schooling is from School Finance 101.

Low-income students and KIPP charter schools appeared in Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog.

Facts and opinion from Steve Brill’s new book comes from The Hechinger Report.

A ‘Summary Opinion’ Of The Hoxby NYC Charter School Study is from The Shanker Blog.

Peer Effects And Attrition In High-Profile Charter Schools is another great post from The Shanker Blog.

Reports on charter schools expose new problems is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

New Charter Study by Mathematica With More Bad News for Corporate Ed Reform is from Schools Matter.

Matthew Di Carlo at The Albert Shanker Institute has recently published — in three parts — what is probably the best and most even handed analysis of charter school research. The three posts are:

The Evidence On Charter Schools

Explaining The Consistently Inconsistent Results Of Charter Schools

The Uncertain Future Of Charter School Proliferation

Also:

Private Money For Public Education is from The New Yorker. The Educated Reporter has an interesting commentary on the article, too.

Charter schools: public in form but private in essence is by Mike Klonsky.

New Policy Brief: The Evidence On Charter Schools And Test Scores is from The Shanker Blog.

Charter schools are not the solution: The widow of famed UFT leader Albert Shanker blasts ‘reformers’ appeared in The New York Daily News.

Charter Schools: The Good, the Bad, the…In-Between? and Studies Find Charters Vary in Quality, Creativity are both by Jackie Zubrzycki at Education Week.

Secrets of ‘miraculous’ charter management organizations appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post.

Charter schools aren’t the right answer is by Paul Thomas.

Are Charter Schools Public Schools? is by Diane Ravitch.

Time for Charter Schools to Come Home is by John Wilson at Ed Week.

How to fix the charter school movement (and what Albert Shanker really said) is by Diane Ravitch.

School Choice & Social Capital is by Justin Baeder.

Gerald Coles: KIPP Schools: Power Over Evidence is from Education Week.

Bad Teaching Practice #1: “I am Only Going to Teach Those Who Are Ready To Learn” is by Anthony Cody at Education Week.

Charter schools that start bad stay bad, study finds is from Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Surprising — To Me, At Least — Statistic On Charter School Teacher Turnover

Charter schools put parents to the test is from Reuters.

Special Report: Class Struggle – How charter schools get students they want
is also from Reuters.

How charter schools choose desirable students is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

From Portfolios to Parasites: The Unfortunate Path of U.S. Charter School Policy is by Bruce Baker.


The Line Separating Reformers from “Reformers”
is by John Thompson, and is one of the more thoughtful pieces I’ve read about charter schools.

Excellent Post On New KIPP Charter Schools Study

A Controversial Consensus On KIPP Charter Schools is from The Shanker Blog.

Charter schools possess no magic formula is by Kevin Welner and appeared in USA Today.

What Makes KIPP Effective? Review examines a recent study by Mathematica Policy Research is from The Great Lakes Center.

A new round of segregation plays out in charter schools is from The Hechinger Report.

An Eye-Opening Article On Charter School Teacher Turnover

Teaching Lessons: What KIPP Did—and Didn’t—Learn From America’s “Best” Teacher is an excellent post by Andrea Gabor.

Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City is from Forbes.

Charter Schools and the Future of Public Education is by Stan Karp at Rethinking Schools.

The charter-school lie: Market-based education gambles with our children is by Jeff Bryant and appeared in Salon.

The False Markets of Market Based Reforms is by Bruce Baker.

Chicago charter schools expel many more kids than district schools — new data is from The Washington Post.

The Tragedy behind Noble Street Charters – a Skimmed Lottery is from the Classroom Sooth.

New York Schools: The Roar of the Charters is by Diane Ravitch at The New York Review of Books.

Charter School Refugees is an excellent New York Times column by Andrea Gabor.

CPS fails to nurture a true vision for charters is from Catalyst.

EPI Stands By the Rigorous Methods and Findings of Its Report on Privately Run Charter Schools and the Rocketship Company is from The Economic Policy Institute.

At Success Academy schools, high-octane test prep leaves nothing to chance is from Chalkbeat.

Wait, Wait. Don’t Mislead Me! Nine Reasons to Be Skeptical About Charter Waitlist Numbers is from The National Education Policy Center.

Charter Schools Fail: New Reports Call Their ‘Magic’ Into Question is by Jeff Bryant.

What About the Kids Who Don’t Work Hard and Won’t Be Nice? is a great post by EdGator.

Charters, Public Schools and a Chasm Between appeared in The New York Times.

Everything You Need To Know About Charter Schools is from Vox.

What Explains KIPP’s Success? Peers May Be A Big Part of the Story is by Richard Kahlenberg.

Feedback is always welcome, including additional suggestions.

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You might also want to explore the 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. Is this really the list of the best posts analyzing charter schools, or just a list of the best posts that provide an analytical opposition to charter schools? Is the purpose of this list to encourage enlightened and thoughtful debate or is it to marshall forces against something that could become a threat to the current public school system/teachers’ unions?

    As in any large and wide-ranging debate, there is some truth on both sides. When people fail to admit that the other side may have some validity, we reach stagnation and then the winner will be whoever has power – and they will likely write the loser out of the decision making process.

    • Aaron,

      I believe that these posts accurately describe many of the positive aspects of charters, which I, too, believe they offer. At the same time, they describe the limitations of charters, and how they are often being used by others as a tool to attack non-charter public school education.

      In fact, I believe that most of these posts give far more credit to charters than many charter advocates, such as the “Waiting For Superman” movie, offer to non-charters.

      That being said, however, I’d invite you to share links to a few articles in the comments section that you believe provide a different perspective.

      Larry

  2. Recently had this link shared with myself and Diane Ravitch by @stuartbuck1 on Twitter. It is a study on KIPP schools from Mathematica Policy Research that is a thorough going analysis that directly addresses some of the common hot spots on the topic of KIPP. It is the most rigorous and thorough analysis of the data I have found. Here is the link: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/education/KIPP_middle_schools_wp.pdf

    In addition the quality of charter schools very greatly. Here are two recent studies on the Boston charter school scene that focus the debate not on “charters” as a whole, but where they may be working: one from the Boston Foundation: http://t.co/CuVQWPgM and one from the National Bureau of Economic Research http://t.co/PjFk1mtH.

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