In the new Bluegrass Institute report, “Kentucky’s ‘Unbridled Learning,’ Unrigorous School Accountability for African-American Students?,” we provide dramatic evidence of schools in the Bluegrass State where whites or blacks are being solidly left behind in mathematics. In 2013, Kentucky schools at every level from elementary through high school posted single-digit math proficiency rates for one or the other race. In a number of cases, black math proficiency was reported as 0.0 percent!
The new 2013 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress tell a similar story. Only 41 percent of the state’s fourth grade students were proficient in math. In the eighth grade, it was only 30 percent, less than one in three students!
In the end, as the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools points out, “these students are leaving school unprepared for the workforce or higher education, and limiting their long-term potential.”
The Alliance continues, “These children and their families deserve a better option, and public charter schools can provide that option for families who need it.”
Here are some points made by the Alliance:
• Charter schools are closing the achievement gap. They are raising the bar of what’s possible – and what should be expected – in public education.
• Charter schools are shattering low expectations and breaking through long-standing barriers that have prevented large numbers of students from under-served communities from achieving educational success.
• Charter school studies that use the best data and most sophisticated research techniques show charters outperforming comparable traditional public schools. (I would add here that even the often quoted CREDO studies, including the very first one, show that students in charter schools do outperform their traditional public school peers once those students have spent sufficient time in charters to benefit)
• Charter schools are always public schools. They never charge tuition, and they are designed to boost student achievement. If a traditional public school is not addressing a student’s needs, charter schools offer parents another public school option. Increasingly, when given that option, parents are choosing to enroll their children in charter schools. In fact, the demand for charter schools is far outpacing the supply in most communities, with more than one million names on charter school waitlists across the country.
When kids around the state clearly are not being served by our traditional school system, it is ridiculous for our legislators to keep on holding out on allowing Kentucky’s parents to have more options in education. It is well past time for charter schools in Kentucky, and I hope that legislators will step up to the plate this year to do their part for our students and better choices on where they can attend school.
(Developed and largely directly quoted from “Why Charter Schools” from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ web site)