Charter Schools Work

Behold some very useful evidence:

Two of the nation’s leading economists and education scholars—Harvard University’s Richard Murnane and University of California-Irvine’s Greg Duncan—showcase the UChicago Charter School North Kenwood/Oakland Campus in their most recent book, Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education, in which they highlight the nation’s most promising educational solutions.

Duncan and Murnane lay out America’s educational challenges in a context where growing income inequality has severely diminished the life opportunities of children born into poverty. The authors then analyze three initiatives around the country that are producing real and replicable results: Boston’s preschools, New York City’s small high schools, and the UChicago Charter School’s K-5 NKO Campus.

For each program the authors find “compelling evidence not just that these initiatives have worked, but that they have done so for a significant number of years.” The book cites the study led by sociologist Stephen Raudenbush which found that compared to students who applied to NKO but were not selected in the admissions lotteries, students who enrolled at NKO scored on average 30 points higher in reading and 40 points higher in mathematics on an SAT-type scale—equivalent to closing roughly half the gap between white and black students in the United States.

With studies like this available, there is, of course, no longer any excuse whatsoever–as though there ever was to begin with–to refrain from employing school choice policies and using charter schools to save kids who are currently trapped in a failing and immoral public education system.