Putting Education Reform To The Test

What Happens To Students When A Charter School Closes?

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Florida International Academy charter school students in Opa Locka, Florida.

A Hechinger Report story asks an important question: What happens to students when a charter school closes?

The story looks at Akron’s Lighthouse Academy, which is being shut down due to low state standardized test scores. Some parents had vowed to never send their children to district schools, but now make have to do so.

New York City recently decided that average was not good enough when it came to city charter schools. There are arguments for and against closing charter schools:

Robert Slavin, director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, believes closure should be a last resort, after giving schools support and experimenting with solutions. Otherwise, well-meaning educational programs could wind up hurting the very kids they are trying to help.   “Letting alone or closing are not the only two options,” Slavin said. Closing “is very damaging to kids.”

Nonetheless, the crack down on ineffective charter schools has the backing of charter supporters as well as critics.  In an effort to save the charter movement, which has come under increasing scrutiny, advocates have asked for more accountability, supporting forced closures of low-performing schools…The California Charter Schools Association has said it will start urging school boards not to allow faltering schools to stay open.

Florida has a unique perspective on the issue, since the state is more likely than many to shut down charter schools — more than 60 — though more likely for financial or management reasons than student performance.

What’s your opinion on closing charter schools? Should maintaining a stable environment for students outweigh the long-term benefits of culling poor-performing charter schools?

Did your children attend a charter school which closed? What was your experience?


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