Charter schools shine on Newsweek list of top schools

In a newsletter, the Center for Education Reform points out that charter schools are gettting recognition for excellence:

CHARTERS TOPPING THE CHARTS. Newsweek’s annual ranking of US high schools is out, and once again, charters are disproportionately represented — in a good way. Charter schools represent fewer than five percent of all US high schools, but they land a 22 percent share of the top 50 spaces alone onNewsweek’s list. Obviously, they’re doing something right…

…OR NOT? Joining the chorus of the uninformed, Newsweek editorializes about the alleged failures of charter schools, citing as evidence one, well-rebuked study by a group known as CREDO, whose Stanford affiliation seems to impress reporters enough that they keep repeating the results as dogma, when in reality, there is nothing truthful about it. Newsweek fails the test of sound journalism by telling a one sided story that masks the real achievement in charters. Check out CER’s Daily Data Point for more about charter achievement.

I’ll pass on commenting on CREDO for now, other to say that poorly run schools ought to be closed, whether they are charter or traditional public schools. Unfortunately, traditional (non-charter) public schools rarely closed for poor management or performance.

The Newsweek list of high schools is based on “how hard school staffs work to challenge students with advanced placement college-level courses and tests.” That’s not necessarily the whole scope of a high school (not all students can or should go to college). But it’s noteworthy that charter schools get such a good representation on the list, since (a) they usually spend less money than traditional schools and (b) many of them explicitly focus on student populations (low-income, minority, single-parent families) that are not known for sending children to college.

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