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Charters as a diverse sector.



Charter schools are too often treated as a monolithic Single object. Self contained. One unit.  reform and too rarely treated as a diverse sector. When we think of charter schools as a reform, we tend to either praise or criticize crit·i·cize  
v. crit·i·cized, crit·i·ciz·ing, crit·i·ciz·es

v.tr.
1. To find fault with: criticized the decision as unrealistic. See Usage Note at critique.
, depending on the particular snapshot (1) A saved copy of memory including the contents of all memory bytes, hardware registers and status indicators. It is periodically taken in order to restore the system in the event of failure.

(2) A saved copy of a file before it is updated.
 of charter schools we're discussing. When we think of them as a sector, we understand that charter schools mirror other sectors--private schools and traditional publics--in their range of quality and outcomes. And we can learn from their successes and failures.

Viewed from this sector perspective, your two charter school articles ("Brand-Name Charters," features, and "New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.
 Charter Schools," research, Summer 2008) offer valuable contributions. From a reform perspective? Not so much.

The article about franchise charter schools describes a vibrant subsector. It explores the problem of growing beyond a small number of successful schools while simultaneously addressing quality control. Where the article runs into trouble is when it tells readers, with no empirical backing, that the charter movement began "with tremendous potential for narrowing the achievement gap," suggesting that there are "too few" charter schools to fulfill that promise. In truth, research has shown charter performance to be similar, on average, to the performance of traditional public schools.

The second article offers a more direct comparison of charters to other public schools, using a random lottery design. The results add one more data point to the diverse assortment of studies about charter performance: an example of the charter sector outperforming, on the whole, nearby traditional schools. The comparison here, it should be noted, is to New York City schools that have been criticized as underfunded un·der·fund  
tr.v. un·der·fund·ed, un·der·fund·ing, un·der·funds
To provide insufficient funding for.

underfunded adjinfradotado (económicamente) 
 and underperforming. The study thus tells us either that the charters did well, the other schools did poorly, or a combination of both.

The authors are careful to state that the significance of the findings is limited to large cities with similar student populations, to which I would add a caution about the generalizability beyond New York City itself. As with the first article, the second is strongest when it approaches charters as a diverse sector, teasing teasing

the act of parading a male before a female to see if she displays estrus, and is therefore in a state where mating is likely to be fertile.
 out the sorts of school practices associated with higher test scores. Let's keep trying to learn about what works.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

KEVIN G. WELNER

Education and the Public Interest Center University of Colorado University of Colorado may refer to:
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (flagship campus)
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
  • University of Colorado system
 at Boulder

As one of the next generation of Education Next editors, Martin Raymond West Raymond West, K.C.I.E. (1888), M.A. and Hon LL.D Queen's University of Belfast, Hon LL.D Edinburgh; Barrister King's Inns Dublin 1871, Puisne Judge of the High Court of Bombay, 1873-87; President of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vice Chancellor of the University  V (known to his friends as Quinn), lends a helping hand.
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Title Annotation:correspondence
Author:Welner, Kevin G.
Publication:Education Next
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 22, 2008
Words:401
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