Great Wall St. Journal piece today on “the tragedy of American politics.” This tragedy is the opposition of civil rights groups like the NAACP that “oppose education reform, even as reform’s main beneficiaries are poor and minority students in places like Harlem and New Orleans.”
The Journal looks at a report from the California Charter School Association that compared tests scores of the average black charter student to the average black traditional school student. No creaming here: “The African American populations in charter public and traditional public schools are very similar,” notes the report, with the same level of parental education, similar household income and nearly identical attrition rates.”
The real difference is that charter schools are free of the traditional school system’s union contracts and bureaucratic rules, which shorten the school day, stifle innovation and protect ineffective teachers. This autonomy doesn’t guarantee charter success, but it allows the schools—and their students—to benefit from creativity, competition and accountability.
Minority parents increasingly understand this, which is why they work so hard to get their kids into charters. The report finds that 9% of California charter school students are African-American, compared to 6% of students in traditional schools.