A Bay State Referendum on Charter Schools

bay-state-referendum-on-charter-schoolsA half-dozen times in recent years I have participated in “book club night” at a local charter school—a not-for-credit event where seventh- and eighth-graders meet with adult volunteers to discuss a book we have all read in advance.
These nights are pretty much a charter proponent’s fantasy. The kids are wide-eyed and respectful. They not only have read the material, they are brimming with questions. Every one of them is black or Hispanic and lower-income—what is commonly referred to as “disadvantaged.” Except, they don’t appear disadvantaged.
These students have big plans for the future—including college. And why not? They are learning twice as fast as their peers in traditional schools, on average. According to a 2013 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Boston charter students “gain an additional 12 months in reading and 13 months in math per school year.” Remarkably, African-Americans in the city’s charters are progressing faster than white students at traditional public schools.
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