Misguided Attack on Charter Schools

One of New Mexico’s few groups of educational innovators came under attack recently when the National Center for Education Statistics released a study that argued, in part, that students in charter shools lagged behind their peers in regular public schools. Unfortunately, as is so often the case when the results of studies fail to make common sense, the analysis used government data that failed to fully account for the socio-economic differences between charter school and public school students.
The charter school concept is a compromise between those who would like to see significant educational reform that goes far beyond the limits presented by the public schoos and those who grudgingly view some forms of school choice as essential tools for improving existing public schools. It is, nonetheless, hard to believe the results of a study that finds students doing worse at schools that are targeted to their needs and interests than similar students who remain in traditional public schools where socialist-style mass production is the name of the game.