An editorial in today’s New York Times comments on a recent study by the federal Department of Education showing that fourth graders in charter schools scored worse on reading and math test than students in public schools.
It follows another recent federal study concluding that students from equivalent socio-economic backgrounds did no better in private schools than similar students in public.
However, one or two studies really aren’t enough to make a conclusive judgment about a topic as complex as education. And popularity often has little or no connection to quality.
So, why the push by many politicians to privatize public education, despite minimal accountability required of the alternatives and little evidence of student improvement?
Too many lawmakers seem to believe that the only thing wrong with American education is the public school system, and that converting lagging schools to charter schools would cause them to magically improve.
School choice as a magic wand. We hear that a lot from voucher supporters as well.
But in the end, there is one major reform that would go a long way to improving American education, something that has nothing to do with public money funding of charter or private schools.
Four years later [after the passage of NCLB], the national teacher corps is still in a shambles. Until Congress changes that, everything else will amount to little more than tinkering at the margins.