A key motivation for charter schools is that, if we can liberate schools from bureaucracy and teachers unions, students will do better. This is a very testable hypothesis, as I’ve discussed before. And here’s what we find in the Great State of Georgia:
Charter schools have become less successful than traditional schools in meeting federally mandated annual yearly progress targets, a report to the state Department of Education shows.
The report, presented to the state Board of Education Wednesday, also said graduation rates at charter schools are about the same as the state average….
The report found that:
— In 2010-11, 70 percent of charters met annual yearly progress targets established by the federal No Child Left Behind law while 73 percent of traditional schools in Georgia met those AYP targets that year.
— Charters had an 82 percent graduation rate in 2010-2011; the state average that year was 80.9 percent. Some experts have questioned whether Georgia’s graduation rates are inflated by the calculation method used.
Charter school supporters also have been having less success getting applications for new schools approved. In 2004, all 15 charter school applications were approved. By 2010, only 40 of the 80 applications were approved.
I really don’t have a problem with ‘specialty schools.’ But this seems pretty good evidence that teachers unions and bureaucracy aren’t fundamental problems.