Sizing up Baltimore's charter schools
Here's the report on Baltimore charter schools that I write about in today's newspaper. Not surprisingly, the report found that academic performance at the city's charters varies significantly. Climate-wise, they seem to be better than regular city schools, especially at the middle school level. We've always known that charter students (except those at neighborhood conversion charters that take the place of zoned schools) have an inherent advantage because their parents are making a choice and seeking out a quality option on their behalf. Now we know how that translates: The charters have fewer special ed, over-age and free/reduced lunch students than regular schools do. As a whole, they're also more racially diverse, though there are examples of charters that are almost completely segregated and charters that are almost perfectly integrated. One finding that was a little surprising: There aren't many students coming to the charters from out of the system, though seven schools are the exception to that and draw students who wouldn't be attending city public schools otherwise.