Monday, February 25, 2008

Charters not a silver bullet, but one good option of "education wishlist"

Though she acknowledges they are not a 'silver bullet', Harvard economics professor Caroline Hoxby weighs in again in support of charter schools.

"Charter schools accelerate students ’ academic performance while creating a competitive environment that strengthens the traditional schools around them, a researcher said Friday.

"The schools are gaining momentum across the United States, Hoxby said. There were no charter schools in 1992. Today, there are more than 4, 000 charter schools in the United States."
Though supporters of the status quo (read 'board of education' and 'teachers' unions') will oppose charter schools, Ms. Hoxby claims, in this and previous writings, that the competition presented by charter schools not only does NOT destroy the public school system in which they exist (as opponents love to cry), but their presence actually causes the public schools to improve:
"As a result of the increased competition, the traditional schools nearly doubled their yearly gains in math and reading comprehension after the charter schools open, the study found.
Administrators at traditional schools see charter schools as a motivating factor to eliminate ineffective teachers from their staffs and to implement instructional techniques that may not have been favored without the concern of decreasing enrollment, Hoxby said."

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