Today the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a new report examining 18 cities that are pursuing an improvement strategy that gives families choice among public school options, both district and charter. Researchers find that while basic indicators of academic achievement are on the rise, cities need to double down on meeting family preference for more high-quality school options in their neighborhoods, providing better information, and being more responsive to parent concerns.
National Alliance Vice President of Research and Evaluation Susan Aud Pendergrass has released the following statement:
“The Center for Reinventing Public Education’s (CRPE) new report underscores the need for increased district-charter collaboration. Public school choice is here to stay: Charter schools have grown to serve more than 3 million students because families are seeing the results these schools achieve, and are demanding them for their own children. Communities can’t be divided between serving district and charter school families. Only by working together can we sustain strong systems that put all public school students on the road to success.
“The CRPE report highlighted many promising signs of improvement in the cities studied. In a majority of the cities, schools in the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state moved out of that position over the course of 3 or 4 years—demonstrating that choice can be a lever that leads to all public schools improving. A majority of the cities also saw improvement in high school graduation rates, and some of the cities showed statistically significant improvement in math and reading rates.
“But having choice for choice’s sake is not enough, and we agree with CRPE’s recommendations for addressing the common challenges cities must address to make complex school systems work better for all families:
Improving how families are informed and supported, so that all have real choices and can find the best school for their child.
Being more strategic about improving school quality and fit so schools meet students’ needs and family preferences for schools in their own neighborhoods.
Improving communication and relationships with community members, so they can be part of building a sustainable, responsive education strategy.
“We look forward to being a continued part of the work toward more district-charter collaboration.”
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.