- Students and parents alike give their charter schools high grades. For example, a November poll showed nearly 3/4s of charter parents in Detroit rate their schools as above average to excellent. In contrast, only 44% of parents from other schools responded so positively.
- Charter students learn the basics, plus have opportunities for advanced work, including options such as dual college enrollment.
- Charter schools often feature a character education culture that builds on the foundation parents work hard to build at home.
- Because charters are small, teachers see each student's progress and respond accordingly.
Highlights of state MEAP results released in January 2007:
- Charter public schools in Detroit exceed the local district on 24 of 27 tests - up from 20 last year. They tie on two additional tests and are within 1 point on the remaining exam.
- Fifty charters - 42% of the 120 that took all 27 K-8 tests and had classes large enough to record scores - exceed the state average on 10 or more tests. More than half beat the state score on at least 20 tests.
- They're small, so students spend more time one-on-one with their teachers.
- Charters stress high expectations for all students, and the tight-knit environments help children excel.
- They're clean, orderly and fun, with lessons taught in hands-on, engaging fashion.
- Teachers, administrators and parents together support students and learning. There's a sense of community and constant collaboration.
- Decisions and policies focus on students and learning. Because charters are independent public schools -- not part of a larger district -- teachers and administrators are free to act quickly and with innovation as they monitor achievement and see what's needed to help the children.
- Charter teachers must meet state and federal certification requirements. They are also highly qualified teachers. Despite erroneous reports, many charter schools have fully certified staffs. Sometimes teachers fall outside normal certification because they're specialists, leading advanced, unique programs.
- Many educators say charters have revitalized their careers, thanks to the constant emphasis on students and an ability to act swiftly to serve children, without wading through bureaucracy.
- Charter schools are set up so excellent teachers are rewarded and retained, in the best interest of what works well for students.
- No other public schools are scrutinized like charters are. Charter authorizers (often state universities) have large staffs that monitor the schools and ensure compliance with lengthy, written performance contracts. Charters keep their contracts if they are academically and fiscally sound.
- The state also has staff assigned to monitor charters. This staff produces an annual report to the Legislature about charter schools, providing a review that exists nowhere else in public education.
- Charter schools have publicly appointed boards, and of course, they exist only if they serve families well and parents continue to enroll their children.
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