Just this past week, on May 11, 2022, over 1,000 parents banded together in Washington D.C. to oppose new regulations on the Charter School Program being discussed by the U.S. Department of Education.
As part of National Charter Schools Week, these parents needed their voices to be heard about their choice of a high-quality education for their children. So they went to D.C. to share their stories of how their local charter schools have had a positive impact on their children.
The new regulations being proposed by the Administration would cripple growth, expansion, and the startup of charter schools across the nation and the 3.6 million students they serve. And about 65% of these charter schools are in low-income, Black, and Hispanic neighborhoods where students are already struggling to get a quality education from public schools.
Why are charter schools important? The evidence is undeniable:
Charter schools are important for several reasons. The first reason is that charter schools are usually created by former teachers or groups that want to pursue education in an innovative way. Some charter schools tend to lean more into the arts while others focus more on STEM, and still others concentrate on college prep. Each charter school is unique. So the curriculum is very student-focused with specific goals. More specific goals can allow for smaller class sizes.
In addition to smaller class sizes, a study by the Manhattan Institute discovered that charter schools average an additional 59 learning days of math and 44 days of reading. This means that students in charter schools generally perform better on tests, but more importantly, they have higher graduation rates for Black and Latino students in comparison with traditional public schools.
A study done by the New York Department of Education showed that Black students who attended a charter school in elementary and middle grades were 60% more likely to get into the most desirable secondary schools. Latino students who attended charter schools were 2 times more likely. This then transfers to higher graduation rates for minority students as well as higher college acceptance rates.
And, charter schools have better behavioral records in general, because charter schools often have more community involvement. This means their attendance is more steady, teen pregnancy rates are lower, suspension rates are lower, and incarceration rates are also lower.
Be an advocate for Charter Schools!
As part of National Charter Schools Week, the National Alliance for Charter Schools is celebrating 30 years. You can also join the festivities and learn more about charter schools and how you can support them in your community.