The Senate is currently holding up the reauthorization of the Student Success Act, hurting the futures of children in 42 states. This bill had been reauthorized in the House. Students do much better in charter schools, yet liberals get upset because they have less control in them.
What the Senate is holding up
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, gave an opening speech at some hearings on the charter school topic and what the Senate was holding kids back from. The most important part of it, Common Core has less impact in these type schools.
In his opening remarks, Chairman Kline said, “For many children and their parents, charter schools are a beacon of hope for a better education – and a better life. The schools are extraordinarily in demand; wait lists for charter schools have grown steadily in recent years, reaching a new record of 920,000 students in 2012.”
Chairman Kline highlighted House efforts to support charter schools, noting the House-passed Student Success Act included provisions to reauthorize the Charter Schools Program and encourage the growth and expansion of these institutions. Read more about the Student Success Act here.
“However, the Student Success Act has been awaiting Senate consideration for more than six months,” Chairman Kline said. “Each day without Senate action is another day thousands of students remain trapped in underperforming schools…If the Senate refuses to bring education reform legislation up for a vote, then the House will explore opportunities to advance targeted legislation to encourage charter school growth.”
How well do charter school kids do
Here is testimony from Deborah McGriff, Chairman of the Board, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Managing Director, New Schools Venture Fund, before the House hearing on the charter schools.
When the Congress first created the Charter Schools Program in 1994, public charter schools were an emerging reform effort. States and the federal government gave seed money to test the notion that student outcomes could be improved if you gave schools freedom to make school-level decisions, in exchange for greater accountability. Today, 15 of 16 “gold standard” research studies conducted on public charter school student achievement since 2010 have found that public charter schools are succeeding in their missions. The research shows that CSP investments are paying off.
Not only is the investment paying off, it is helping students who need it most. A 2013 study conducted by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) on public charter school performance in 27 States found that charter school students are outperforming their peers in traditional public schools and closing the achievement gap between student subgroups. The study’s findings were particularly impressive for students from specific demographic backgrounds: low-income students enrolled in public charter schools, regardless of race, gained 14 additional days of learning in reading and 22 days of learning in math compared to traditional school peers; English learners (ELs), regardless of race, gained 36 days of learning in reading and 36 days of learning in math by attending a public charter school.
I should point out that public charter schools are not just outperforming peers, but are top ranked on national lists of the best schools. For example, public charter schools are 28 of the 100 best American high schools as identified by the 2013 U.S. News and World Report, and 16 of the 25 schools on Newsweek’s Transformative High Schools list-which looks at student achievement and socioeconomic background to identify schools that are really changing their students’ lives.
Public charter schools are also going beyond turnaround efforts to pilot new instructional models and support systems that focus on college readiness and success for students from low-income backgrounds. Many networks, such as KIPP, the Denver School of Science and Technology, and YES Prep have designed college readiness programs that include formal arrangements with colleges and universities to ensure student enrollment and retention in postsecondary education.
The Senate is holding back help on education that works. The federal government may not need to be involved in education, but until they are taken out of the equation, still better to go with what works, not indoctrinates and fails the kids.