North Texas didn’t have a single charter school with the state’s top academic rating two years ago. Now there are four.
But those campuses remain outnumbered by low-performing charters: 11 this year across the region, up from eight a couple years ago. The same trend holds for the rest of the state: 51 of Texas’ 317 charters were rated “academically unacceptable” based on 2007 test scores, while only 15 received the top rating “exemplary,” according to data released this month by the Texas Education Agency.
The 16 percent of charters labeled unacceptable compares to 4 percent of traditional public campuses. Charters, which are public schools run by nonprofit groups and exempted from many state regulations, are also less likely to earn the best rating of “exemplary” or second-best of “recognized.”
Charter schools, of course, were supposed to show us all how private industry could produce better schools than those produced with public funds, under public scrutiny, employing certified (unionized) teachers. And, in fairness, some of them have done so. But on average, they clearly do not.
I’m all for experimentation. When we experiment on our children, though, we have to be a bit more careful.