Sharon Eckard: Charters don’t make grade

February 9, 2013 

Charters don’t make grade

Wake County commissioners are considering the use of taxpayer money to construct charter schools in Wake County.

Have they considered that a 2009 Stanford University study conducted in 16 states, comparing charter school student achievement to that of traditional public schools, found that only 17 percent of charters reported academic gains significantly better than their traditional counterparts? Almost half, 46 percent, showed no difference in academic performance from traditional public schools and 37 percent produced significantly worse achievement scores than traditional public schools.

Charter schools are often smaller than traditional public schools, are racially and economically identifiable and do not typically serve students with disabilities. An overabundance of charter schools will only serve to resegregate our schools by race and economic status and drain the resources of traditional public schools in both taxpayer dollars and parental support.

When existing public school facilities need serious upgrades and new schools are required to accommodate Wake County’s tremendous growth, why would we use taxpayer dollars so inefficiently, and in such a fiscally irresponsible way, to build new charter schools that will educate fewer numbers of students and exacerbate racial and economic divides for no greater, or perhaps a worse, outcome for our students?

Sharon Eckard, Raleigh

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