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Indiana: Indiana Barrister
Time to Charter a New Course?
By Abdul Hakim-Shabazz
Opponents of charter schools are using a new report out by the Indiana University to argue there is practically no difference between the academic performance of students in charter schools versus those in traditional public schools.
The 180-page report evaluates charter school performance at the elementary level and has reached a number of conclusions, including the following…
- Charter school enrollment has grown 175-percent over the past four years, while traditional public schools (TPS) in the same communities have either lost population or remained unchanged.
- Charter schools serve a higher percentage of minority and low-income students than TPS’s.
- Charter schools are complying with the open enrollment and lottery provisions of the the state’s charter school law.
- TPS’s serve a higher percentage of special needs children than charter schools.
- There is a high demand for charter schools at the elementary level.
- Schools, whether a TPS or charter in high mobility areas are impacted equally by student turnover.
- TPS’s get more funding than charter schools which includes dollars for construction and transportation.
- Students in charter schools tend to spend an average of 6.5 more days in school than TPS’s.
- The jury is still out on the positive/negative impact of charter schools on TPS’s in Indianapolis and Northwest Indiana.
- There is more accountability in charter schools today than in the past.
- 85-percent of parents of children in charter schools say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the education their kids receive.
- The report says while there is no practical difference between student performance in charter schools and TPS, it also acknowledges that the study’s results were not long-term and that the schools surveyed taught lower achieving students who were more at risk of dropping out of a TPS.
Opponents of charter schools, such as State Representative Vernon Smith of Gary are using the opportunity to push legislation to put a moratorium on charter schools across Indiana.
Supporters of charter schools, like myself, can’t understand the critics. They would rather spend money, time and resources on a school district that is closing schools, losing population and firing teachers than one that has a waiting list and 85-percent parental approval ratings.
It makes me wonder whose interest do opponents of charter schools really have in mind?
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