Quote of the Day:

It’s difficult to identify an antipoverty program that has been as successful as charter schools, but don’t expect the NAACP or the NEA to acknowledge that.

–Richard Whitmire in today'sWall Street Journal


The NAACP and the National Education Association have intensified their bashing of charter schools now that we have a pro-school choice secretary of education. Their timing might be bad.

A Wall Street Journal piece shows that the organizations may be running up the heat at an inconveniet moment, given that we now have data from a study of the first generation of charter kids to graduate from college that shows that charter grads have a leg up in college.

Data from the study indicates that charter students graduate from college three to five times the national average. The data is released by The 74. Here is how the Wall Street Journal article (by Richard Whitmire, who writes on education at The 74) characterized the findings:

Graduates from the top charter networks—those with enough high school alumni to measure college success accurately—earn four-year degrees at rates that range up to five times as high as their counterparts in traditional public schools.

These are low-income, minority students from cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Newark, N.J. Their college success is going to make bashing charter schools far more challenging for the NEA and the NAACP.

. . .

Roughly half the graduates of Uncommon, YES Prep and the KIPP New York schools—among the biggest and best known charter networks in the country—earn bachelor’s degrees within six years. About a quarter of the graduates of the lower-performing charter networks earn degrees within six years. That may not strike wealthy parents as something to brag about. Eighty percent of children from America’s wealthiest families earn four-year degrees within six years. But charters primarily serve low-income families, where only 9% of students earn such degrees. Charters make a difference for poor families.

Whitmire makes a great point: charter schools may be the most effective anti-poverty program ever developed.

Many low-income families want charter school educations for their kids, not only because they believe such schools afford more economic opportunities but because charter schools are often safer than failing public schools.

Why then are the NAACP and teachers' union dead set against charter schools? Easy:  

Independently run charters generally don’t employ unionized teachers, and they pull students from traditional district schools to which the NAACP is deeply committed. In short, charters disrupt the status quo—for adults.