A new report released Wednesday by the state Department of Education shows that charter schools in Georgia trail the performance of traditional public school on the critical AYP measure.
The report will likely tone down the praise being heaped on charter schools in the Legislature, which is considering a constitutional amendment to allow the state to approve charters over the objections of local school boards.
In promoting the amendment to wary colleagues, some lawmakers have contended that charter schools outperform traditional public schools in the state. Not so, according to the in-depth annual review of charter school achievement by DOE.
According to DOE, 70 percent of charter schools made AYP or adequate yearly progress last year. In comparison, 73 percent of traditional public schools made AYP.
In one of the most telling lines, the 2010-2011 DOE report concludes, “The general trend of Georgia charter school performance mirrors the trend of traditional public school performance.”
Charter schools have become less successful than traditional schools in meeting federally mandated annual yearly progress targets, a report to the state Department of Education shows.
The report, presented to the state Board of Education Wednesday, also said graduation rates at charter schools are about the same as the state average. The findings are sure be a factor in the high-stakes fight brewing in the Legislature over charter schools, which are public schools that have been granted some freedom from state mandates in exchange for innovation.
Last week the state House of Representatives fell 10 votes short of getting the required two-thirds majority needed to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would give the state more authority to approve charter schools.
Legislators, prodded by determined charter school supporters, are expected to reconsider the bill. A virtually identical bill has been introduced in the state Senate.
Some state school board members, mindful of the political battle being waged at the Capitol, said they were disappointed by the findings in the report, prepared by the charter schools division of the state Department of Education.
“In this current political climate, I’d like to see some information that points out the benefits of charter schools,” board member Linda Zechmann said. “I’m not seeing that here, and it’s kind of disappointing.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog