The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Charter school policy can’t be based on aspiration

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at a campaign event on Oct. 29 in Laconia, N.H. (Elise Amendola/AP)

The key phrases in the Oct. 29 editorial “Ms. Warren’s plan to hurt students” came in the fifth paragraph: “Charters at their best” and “high-quality charters.” Sure, if you look only at the most successful charters, students do better than in public schools. Turns out that if you look only at the best public schools, there’s no need to use the teachers’ unions as a political punching bag and, in fact, no need for charter schools at all.

But rather than base education policy on aspiration, let’s base it on facts. When you take all charters and all public schools into consideration, students at charters do worse than those at public schools. According to the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, public school students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades outperform charter school students in math, reading and science. This fact seems to make the call from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for tighter regulations and oversight of charters a no-brainer.

Elliott Vanskike, Takoma Park

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