Beware of the U.S. charter school doom loop

Friday, October 25, 2013

For decades, education reformers in the U.S. have championed the establishment of charter schools, public schools empowered to operate outside the control and union work rules of traditional public school districts. Charters have generated noisy debates and relatively modest results. The latest report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes found statistically significant benefits for some students, reversing findings from a similar study in 2009. But the gains are nothing to write home about.

Still, the schools are gaining traction. More than 2 million American kids attended them in the 2012-13 school year, that’s 4.6% of the total student population, according to Moody’s analysts. And their growth has real implications outside of the classroom, too.

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