A new study demonstrates that Boston charter schools significantly outperform Pilot Schools as well as the city’s traditional schools. The study examined state standardized test scores for students of similar backgrounds over a four-year period.
In particular Boston Pilot school proponents, because of the “ambiguous or disconcerting results” posted by the Pilots in the study, need to take a second and hard look at what they created initially in response to Charters. Whatever they did, whatever program they adopted, was clearly not enough.
It’s noteworthy that the Pilot proponents include the school department and the superintendent of schools, the Teachers Union, the Center for Collaborative Education and its executive head, Dan French (a particularly loud and talkative Pilot School champion), and even Paul Grogan, the president of the Foundation carrying out the present study.
And furthermore Governor Deval Patrick’s recently announced public education overhaul program, created in collaboration with Paul Reville, the state’s education secretary, and which would include the creation of new pilot-like “readiness schools,” now becomes highly questionable, and not only because the State has little or no available funding.
In short this study shows that Charters (it was clear to many of us well before the study) have successfully and significantly reduced the achievement gaps between different races and classes, as well as between the inner cities and the suburbs. Most important this study supports the long held position of the Charter leaders that poverty isn’t destiny.
And how have they done this? By holding the kids themselves accountable, by laying on the kids the principal responsibility for their own education. The Charter kids are told there are no excuses for their not learning.
Not the school, not the teacher, but the kids themselves, by being made accountable for their use of their own time, by undertaking longer school days, additional homework, by adopting disciplined behavior in the school and classroom, by accepting shorter summer vacations and more, are learning, and as a result are moving ahead of their peers in less rigorous public school settings.