A U.S. Department of Education (DOE) study shows charter schools lagging behind public schools in meeting state performance standards.
“In five case-study states, charter schools are less likely to meet state performance standards than traditional public schools,” the report states.
The states – Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and North Carolina – have invested heavily in charter schools, The New York Times reported Nov. 23. The Times obtained the education department’s report only after filing a freedom-of-information request in October. Apparently the report was delivered to education department officials in June.
The DOE research revealed that in Texas, 98 percent of public schools met state education standards as opposed to 66 percent of charter schools. The Dallas Morning News reviewed state education data in October that showed charter schools were “performing well behind other public schools.”
The newspaper’s study apparently did not deter Gov. Rick Perry from announcing in November that Texas needs more charter schools. Perry disclosed information from a report prepared by the Governor’s Business Council, which called for a private-school voucher program and for the state’s education commissioner to have the option of converting “low-performing” public schools into charter schools.
Home school advocates and education department officials tried to downplay the report’s significance.
Deputy Education Secretary Eugene W. Hickok told the Times that the federal study is merely “a snapshot, and it is impossible to know whether charter students are catching up or falling behind.”