Don’t Believe the Hype

A new study from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that charter schools perform no better than traditional public schools. Newsweek has more:

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) finds that charter school and public school students have the same academic performance in testing conducted at the fourth- and eighth-grade level.

“In 2017, at grades 4 and 8, no measurable differences in average reading and mathematics scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were observed between students in traditional public and public charter schools,” the “School Choice in the United States: 2019” report found.

Despite these findings, Governor Bill Lee continues to make expanding charter schools a top policy priority. He increased funding for a charter school building fund this year and also successfully pushed legislation to create a new charter authorizing commission.

While policymakers like Lee hype non-solutions, evidence from actual schools suggests an urgent need to address poverty:

Districts with concentrated poverty face two challenges: Students with significant economic needs AND the inability of the district to generate the revenue necessary to adequately invest in schools.

Nevertheless, it seems Bill Lee and his allies will remain content to chase the latest shiny object and avoid a serious examination of policies that have the potential to change lives.

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