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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Charter Industry is built upon lies.

Yada, yada, yada, yes there are good charter schools, unfortunately most of the industry is made up of mercenaries and bad actors looking to make a buck.

A recent study however said kids that attend charter schools have higher graduation rates by as much as 7-11 percent! Start the fireworks and cavalcade of charter folks extolling their virtues.

First let me spit, okay, now let me tell you what is so fundamentally wrong with this study.

First as a group charter schools take fewer disabled and English as a second language speakers. Well friends that has got to be worth a percentage or two.

Next charter schools benefit from selection bias as well as being able to “counsel” out poor performers and discipline problems. Well friends that’s worth another five points or so.
But it gets even worse, much worse.

In Florida over 250 charter schools have opened, taken money and closed leaving students, families and communities in a lurch and when that happens the charter industry and studies like the Mathmatica one pretend like they never existed. It is as if there were shadows in the fog.

How many charter schools have closed nationwide? I don’t know but I imagine the number is in the thousands but regardless that is tens of thousands of kids in Florida alone the study likely excluded as I imagine the vast majority once bitten returned to their public schools. That’s probably worth a whole bunch of percentage points.

This however doesn't matter to charter school advocates because at the end of the day they don't want the right answer they want their answer to be right.I get it though, the concept of charter schools is an attractive one but the thing is how we do things is a travesty that only benefits their owners and the politicians they donate to.  

Note: I talked to one of the authors of the study and this is what the said, which by the way was nowhere in the Forbes article. The Florida part of the analysis was based on four cohorts of students who were enrolled in 8th grade in school years 1997/98-2000/01 (ie. students who began high school in years 1998/99-2001/02).  The sample was limited to these years in order to allow us to track students through college and into the workforce.  Thus the findings reflect the impact of charter high schools operating  in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  We did not determine whether or not those schools are still in operation.  The quality of charter high schools in Florida could be different today.  I hope this answers your question.

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