Charter schools need to be more innovative, according to a report released this week by a pro-charter organization.
Although the report says charters, specifically those serving low-income minority students in urban areas, outperform their district counterparts in many cities,in the nearly 25 years since the first charter law was passed, according to the analysis funded by The Mind Trust, a nonprofit that helps incubate new schools in Indianapolis. The result is that many charters look similar to one another, and not that different from regular district schools. Furthermore, achievement gaps persist and charters have struggled to serve enough English-language learners and students with disabilities—issues that endure, the report says, because of a lack of innovation. Among the major barriers to innovation, the report lists risk-averse authorizers and philanthropists opting to back established models with a track record of success over untested ideas.
A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as Charter Schools