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After 10 Years, Reports on Charter Schools Still Mixed

After 10 Years, Reports on Charter Schools Still Mixed

According to the American School Board Journal, charter schools still face many of the same problems as when the movement started a decade ago. Researchers also say that there is not enough research data to conclude whether or not charter schools have been successful in narrowing achievement gaps for minority students. Many charter schools still struggle with funding, administration, facilities, staffing, and governance. Federal funding for charter schools continues to increase, however; the Bush administration provided $200 million last year and is likely to request an additional $100 million for the coming year. Researchers say it is difficult to assess the success of the charter school movement as a whole because charter school legislation is different in every state. Some researchers also worry that charter schools will increasingly be run by for-profit companies, as they are an overwhelming task for small non-profits and community groups. Amy Stuart Wells, a charter school researcher at Teachers College released "Where Charter School Policy Fails" this summer. She points out that even though the number of states with charter school legislation increased between 1999 and 2001, the number of new schools decreased.

"It seems there are a limited number of people with the knowledge and experience to educate children, the business acumen to keep an autonomous institution running, the political connections to raise the private funds needed to keep schools afloat, and the ability to forsake virtually all of their personal life in order to work 6 or 7 days a week for 12 to 14 hours a day," Wells said.

The article, entitled "American School Board Journal Report on Charter Schools" appeared in the October 29th edition of U.S. Newswire .

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