Opinion: Time for a moratorium on charter schools – Charters have failed to deliver, and their expansion should be put on hold

Source: Amy B. Dean, Al Jazeera America, April 14, 2015

Charter schools are everywhere. Not long ago, these publicly funded but privately run institutions were a relative rarity. Those that existed served mostly as experimental academies whose successful lessons could be applied elsewhere in their host school districts. But in the last 15 years, swaths of the U.S. public education system have been turned over to charters. In fact, they are being used as a means to crush teachers’ unions and to pursue high-stakes testing.

Charter advocates justify this ascent by promising an antidote to the disappointing outcomes of traditional public schools in segregated and underfunded urban districts. But the research is in: Charter schools have failed to deliver on their promises.

It is time lawmakers freeze their growth and consider how to provide the best education possible for all students.

Underwhelming performance

There are recent precedents for a moratorium on charter schools. Philadelphia, which issued dozens of charter licenses before 2008, did not allow any new ones from 2008 to 2015. The Chicago School District declared a freeze on charters for the 2015–16 school year. Connecticut and Delaware are considering similar actions. Other school boards and states should follow suit.

As a bevy of recent studies prove, charter schools are not substantially outperforming neighborhood public schools. In Arizona, for example, “on average, charter schools in Arizona do no better, and sometimes worse, than the traditional public schools” according to a study by the Brookings Institution. A similar study in Ohio showed that public schools were producing better results than their charter peers in most parts of the state. In Illinois the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity found that Chicago’s charter schools are “less likely to be racially or ethnically diverse” than and “consistently underperform” their public school peers……