Why Massachusetts Voters Should Think Twice About Charter Expansion
This post highlights excerpts from a September 22, 2016, post written by New Jersey teacher and ed policy doctoral student (Rutgers), Mark Weber.
In his post, Weber compares the attrition of Boston charter high schools to Boston public high schools, and he considers groups of students who begin as 9th graders and remain at a given school to complete 12th grade (such a group is known as a cohort).
When comparing Boston charter high schools to Boston public high schools, Weber found that across ten years (2005 to 2014), the lowest percentage retained by Boston public high schools (66 percent) was higher than the largest percentage retained by Boston charter high schools (56 percent). (Click image to enlarge.)
In the last decade, Boston’s charter sector has had substantially greater cohort attrition than the Boston Public Schools. In fact, even though the data is noisy, you could make a pretty good case the difference in cohort attrition rates has grown over the last five years.Is this proof that the independent charters are doing a bad job? I wouldn’t say so; I’m sure these schools are full of dedicated staff, working hard to serve their students. But there is little doubt that the public schools are doing a job that charters are not: they are educating the kids who don’t stay in the charters, or who arrive too late to feel like enrolling in them is a good choice.
Weber discusses the importance of considering both the coming and going of a school’s students. If a school does not “backfill,” or replace students who leave with other students who arrive later, then the cohorts become smaller with passing years– with remaining students representing “a less mobile population, as Weber notes:
…This (backfilling) is a key issue in determining if charters can be scaled up to take a larger share of students. If charters are not backfilling, they areWhy Massachusetts Voters Should Think Twice About Charter Expansion | deutsch29: