Where they open a charter school, and everyone lives happily ever after?
WASHINGTON — When it comes to charter schools, the bad ones stay bad and the good ones stay good, according to a report on charter school growth released by an influential group of Stanford University scholars on Wednesday.
“There are very predictable lanes on quality, and once you get into a lane, a new school tends to not move very much,” said Macke Raymond, the economist in charge of the university’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes institute and an author of the report. “High stays high and low stays low.”
The report, “Charter School Growth and Replications,” found that, with some exceptions, charter schools that start strong are likely to stay that way, just as low-performing schools usually remain at the bottom. The study ranked charter schools within five levels based on performance, and found that 80 percent of schools in the bottom level during their first year remained there for five years. Similarly, 94 percent of schools that started at the top remained there. The only schools that changed levels were elementary schools and those in the second-lowest group, with half becoming worse and half becoming better.
“Substantial improvement over time is largely absent from middle schools, multi-level schools and high schools,” the authors wrote. “Only elementary schools showed an upward pattern of growth” if they started out in the bottom two levels.