More Students Attending Charter Schools

CNN recently released a podcast on the growing number of students attending charter schools throughout the U.S., based on a report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Among those interviewed was Education Next’s own editor-in-chief, Paul E. Peterson, who gave his thoughts on the successes charter schools have had. From the transcript:

Paul Peterson, director of Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, says students seem to benefit most when cities have a mix of charter and traditional public schools.

“When some new school sets up that’s a competitor with the local public school, that public school tries to meet the competition. So the more competition there is, the better they become,” Peterson said.

Some opponents of charter schools contend that they take resources away from regular schools. Peterson says that’s not the case. “Generally speaking, charter schools operate with less money per pupil. They only have about 80% of what the traditional public school has.”

Charter schools tend to attract younger teachers with little to no experience in a classroom. Peterson says that has actually worked to the schools’ benefit. “They are very upset about the traditional public school. They feel it is bureaucratized and regulated and over-controlled, and they feel very hamstrung.”

Many of Peterson’s students go on to work in charter schools. “They really are the drivers of the charter school supply side: young entrepreneurs coming out there with their ideas, and they get very excited about the possibility.”

You can listen to this podcast and read the accompanying article on CNN’s blog School of Thought here.

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