Colorado Charter-Friendliness Gets a B, As 41,000 Students Wait to Get In
I don’t know about you, but some parents give their kids money for getting certain grades on a report card. Not mine (at least they tell me they’re not going to), but that’s a different story. If Colorado were getting money based on how well it treated charter schools, how would it do?
The Center for Education Reform‘s new report Accountability Lies at the Heart of Charter School Success says Colorado’s charter school law merits a B. Only eight states do better. Further, though our state’s charters receive significantly less funding than their other public school counterparts, their overall performance is commendable:
In 2007, 74 percent of charters made federal accountability targets of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) while only 59 percent of conventional public schools did the same. Charter middle schools in Colorado are making the grade as well. In 2006, 55 percent of middle school charters were rated excellent or high by the state Department of Education, compared with 41 percent of conventional public middle schools.
Also according to the report, there currently are 151 charter schools operating in Colorado that serve more than 54,000 students–with 41,000 more on waiting lists to get in! With performance like that cited above, it’s not hard to see why. In addition, over the past 15 years, a total of 10 charter schools have closed down, mostly for financial reasons. One good thing about charters is that if one of them isn’t working, it’s easier to shut down than other schools — a point elaborated on by Matt Ladner.
Here are some other great resources on Colorado charter schools, in case you’re wondering:
- Colorado Department of Education Charter Schools Page
- Colorado League of Charter Schools
- Colorado Charters blog
My friends in the Education Policy Center tell me that one of the Independence Institute‘s co-founders, the late David D’Evelyn, was instrumental in bringing charter schools to Colorado. And they keep the memory of his work alive by improving parents’ understanding of their choices for charters and every other education option on the School Choice for Kids website.