CREDO, Bill Clinton, Two Requests


This might be the most powerful chart on the charter movement. It appeared in CREDO’s national study.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 5.40.21 PM

The graph demonstrates how aggregate charter school performance would increase in Math (they also have a graph for reading) under 5 closure scenarios.

Scenario B involves closing all charter schools that achieve significantly less growth than traditional schools. Under this scenario, aggregate charter school performance in math would be a .08 effect size (in reading, charters would achieve a .05 effect).

In short, there is one policy – close all charter schools that achieve significantly less growth than traditional schools – that would firmly establish charter schooling as a high-quality education intervention.

Note: charter schools already achieve .05 effect sizes with African-American students in poverty.

Bill Clinton 

“If you’re going to get into education, I think it’s really important that you invest in what works,” Clinton said. “For example, New Orleans has better schools than it had before Hurricane Katrina, and it’s the only public school [district] in America where 100 percent of the schools are charter schools.”

But the reforms shouldn’t stop there, he added. “They still haven’t done what no state has really done adequately, which is to set up a review system to keep the original bargain of charter schools, which was if they weren’t outperforming the public model, they weren’t supposed to get their charter renewed,” he said.

I wish Bill Clinton had reached out to me before erroneously claiming that New Orleans has not held up the original charter school bargain. To date, 100% of charter schools in New Orleans that have not achieved their academic goals have been closed. I know this from both data and personal experience. Four of the thirty schools or so that I was a part of launching were eventually closed for poor performance.

Two Requests

1. The many mediocre charter authorizers out there need to close their worst schools. If they don’t, the state should revoke their license to authorize. To their credit, many leaders of the charter school movement are pushing hard on this issue.

2. Anyone who begins a sentence “bad charter schools need to close” should end the sentence with “and the great ones should be allowed to expand.” Too often, anti-charter reform advocates are very vocal on closing bad charters but very silent when it comes to expanding the best.

In sum, everyone needs to live up to the bargain.

HT Mike Goldstein for raising some of the above issues.

5 thoughts on “CREDO, Bill Clinton, Two Requests

  1. Mike G

    You write: “anti-charter reform advocates are very vocal on closing bad charters.”

    This may sounds crazy, but it seems anti-charter advocates are rarely vocal about closing bad charters*, and mostly critical of good charters.

    Moreover, among Boards of Education, it seems the members who vote to PROTECT bad charters up for renewal….are actually the most anti-charter.

    I don’t think it’s a plot! It’s just that when kids are struggling, they’re generally averse to any sort of school-closure accountability, and most receptive to a narrative that “It may seem like our kids are struggling on tests, but WE think they’re doing great by other measures.”

    *This is in states like NY and MA, with an average charter that is pretty good, and not a state like Ohio, where average charter is not good.

    1. nkingsl

      Mike – you make a good point (and sorry if I didn’t pick this point up as much as I should have).

      I think you’re generally right that those who are against charters at the outset actually don’t always push for there closure, for the reasons you site.

      Ultimately, they are more anti-closure than anti-charter.

      I think this makes sense from a values consistency standpoint – and its an important nuance to understand.

  2. Travis Pillow

    I have a question about this. In some places (e.g. Florida), the districts are the only, or basically the only, authorizers allowed under the law. And the spectrum of districts’ views toward most charters range from anti- to skeptical. So revoking their right to authorize would be something many of them would welcome – no more competition! How do you get meaningful authorizer accountability in an environment like that?

    1. nkingsl

      I hear you – I think regulating authorizers is best accomplished in environments that allow multiple, non-governmental authorizers….

  3. Pingback: Charter Schools are Opening, Charter Schools are Closing | relinquishment

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