In today’s Washington Post, there’s a nice summary of the latest research on achievement in charter schools. Two decades in, the report says, there isn’t definitive evidence either way on whether the national experiment with deregulating education has made any difference on the nation’s report card:
“The people who said this was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread were wrong,” said Robert Maranto, a University of Arkansas professor of education reform, who counts himself in that group. “The people who said it would be a calamity were equally wrong.”
And in The New York Times today, there is a report on the increasing conflict resulting from the competition between charters and traditional public schools for space. New York City has been much more welcoming to charters than many other school districts, but its charter expansion has caused tension. In one anecdote, a public middle school has to sacrifice its library to accomodate a charter high school — maybe it’s just me, but that kind of sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Amazingly, today’s L.A. Times also suddenly has an editorial acknowledging that charter schools are not the amazing miracle cure for problem schools, cancer, war and world hunger:
The funny thing is that it fails to acknowledge that it’s a near-total reversal of the L.A. Times’ past gushing adoration of charter schools. That’s not the first time the press has worked that way — the New York Times’ sudden reversal on Edison Schools back in the day (from Ed Wyatt’s reverence to Jacques Steinberg’s businesslike and devastating fact-checking) would give you whiplash — but it’s interesting.