ORIGINAL RESEARCH | pages 1

Rob Levine
May 7, 2017

Twenty five years later charter schools a costly, failed experiment

Ember Reichgott Junge's book provides a clear view into the history of charter schools in Minnesota, just not the one she intended

This is a big year for charter school aficionados in Minnesota, as 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the the nation’s first charter school in St. Paul. The legislation that authorized charter schools, enacted a year earlier, though limited in scope, promised a thorough consideration of the experimental education model, which has since sprouted up in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Since that time rules have been loosened, spending has multiplied many times over, and hundreds of charter schools have opened in the state. Many others have been closed. Have charters lived up to the grand boasts of supporters? Have the effects been more negative than positive? Do charters represent a threat to local, democratic control of public education? On the silver anniversary of the landmark school opening the local discourse is heating up.

Gotcha.

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Rob Levine
April 23, 2017

Free to choose a Walmart school

Poverty Academies, Segregation Academies and a foundation plan to erase the Minneapolis public school district

“School choice” is all the rage in Minnesota these days. The kind of school choice most in vogue are charter schools, where, according to promoters, less affluent parents can experience the same kind of education “marketplace” that rich people enjoy with their private schools.

Ok – that's an argument. But just what kind of choices are there for, say, low-income parents of color in the core Twin Cities?

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Percentage of students in segregated school settings by race and school type

February 1, 2017

Segregated 'Poverty Academies' underperform public schools

The implicit deal was to trade charter school integration for higher test scores - but it hasn't turned out that way

Questions about segregation, integration, and academic performance have been intrinsically linked in American education policy since at least 1954, when Brown v. Board held that segregated educational facilities are inherently unequal. The research leading to that decision,and the overwhelming social science consensus ever since, has suggested that segregated schools produce a host of harms for their students, and integrated schools generate a host of benefits.

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Rob Levine
September 4, 2012

"High performing" Charter Schools

Beating the odds, or beating the test?

“Odds-beating charter school.” Those words are like an impenetrable shield for those who operate such places. They are also the holy grail of the education reform movement, which is constantly seeking shortcuts to radically increase measures of educational achievement, which these days is pretty much defined by increased math and language test scores.

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Rob Levine