Tag Archives: Center for Education Reform

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability

24 Dec

Moi supports neighborhood schools which cater to the needs of the children and families in that neighborhood. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education. It is for this reason that moi supports charter schools which are regulated by strong charter school legislation with accountability. Accountability means different things to different people. In 2005 Sheila A. Arens wrote Examining the Meaning of Accountability: Reframing the Construct for Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning which emphasizes the involvement of parents and community members. One of the goals of the charter movement is to involve parents and communities. http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf

What is a Charter?

There are several definitions of charter school but this definition from Education Week seems to capture the essence of what it means to be a charter.

According to the U.S. Charter Organization the reasons individuals seek to set-up a charter school are: 

The intention of most charter school legislation is to:

·         Increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students

·         Create choice for parents and students within the public school system

·         Provide a system of accountability for results in public education

·         Encourage innovative teaching practices

·         Create new professional opportunities for teachers

·         Encourage community and parent involvement in public education

·         Leverage improved public education broadly

Business Week has a concise debate about the pros and cons of charter schools featuring Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas; Manhattan Institute arguing the pro position and Jeffrey Henig, Columbia University arguing against charter schools. The Education Commission of the States succinctly lists the pros and cons of charter schools 

Alison Consoletti has written the report, The State of Charter Schools: What We Know-And What We Do Not-About Performance and Accountability for the Center for Education Reform.

Of the dozens of state and national entities that collect data about charters, only a handful actually document achievement from year to year, and only one — the publisher of this report — formally and annually collects, analyzes, and assesses the schools that are approved, opened and closed from year to year. That general data shows that, not only do charters schools deliver on student achievement, but a substantial percentage of charter schools are closed from year to year for reasons that any school should be closed. Far from a condemnation, these data points suggest a movement that has been amenable to course correction and closure since its inception.

Closing a charter school requires, first, that some government entity has enough data and authority to make an assessment. Second, once revealed, the assessment data must be available to the public and the media, so that pressure can be brought to bear to intervene and account for whatever failures are discovered. Regular, ongoing news reports must reveal the processes that are at play even when no one sees them. The fact that such reports often do result in positive change should make every charter advocate not only proud, but interested to know the facts.

That those facts seem often to escape some charter leaders, who prefer generalizations to clear, unambiguous achievement data (which sadly, is often lacking or unusable) is the reason for this report, which reveals not only that charters are successful, but also that accountability for results is alive and well in a way that is unique to these public schools.


See, Charter Schools Rarely Closed For Academic Performance: Report http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/21/charter-schools-closure_n_1164104.html

There is no one approach that works in every situation, there is only what works to address the needs of a particular population of children. If the goal is that ALL children receive a good basic education, then ALL options must be available.


1.      YouTube Link of Professor Carolyn Hoxby Discussing Charters

2.      PBS Frontline – The Battle Over School Choice

3.      The Center for Education Reform’s FAQs About Charter Schools

4.      WSJ’s opinion piece about charters and student performance

5.      Charter School Students More Likely to Graduate and Attend College

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©