I’m pretty much a fan of charter schools. (Anyone living under the tyranny of the Los Angeles Mummified School District would just about have to be. Would you believe that Los Angeles doesn’t have a single top-ranked high school? Not one, for a city of 3.5 million people, some of them very prosperous brain-workers?)
So I can’t say I’m happy to read a report that charter-school students tend to do worse than students in regular public schools. And it’s not hard to come up with some explanations that aren’t too devastating: perhaps the kids who go to charter schools are the ones who weren’t doing well where they were. Perhaps the charter schools, not as burdened as others by the No Child Left Behind nonsense, have decided not to teach to the tests, and their kids are actually learning more than others even if their multiple-guess scores are lower.
Still, as Checker Finn says, the report on its face is a body blow to the charter movement. And I can understand that friends of that movement, including the Bush Administration, might want to downplay the report.
But that’s no excuse for the Department of Education trying to bury the results by posting them on its website without so much as a press advisory.
Anyone who believes that this was an oversight should contact me urgently about a high-return investment in urban transportation infrastructure.