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Charters Don't Seem to Make the Grade

Results reported by the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate that charter school students often do worse than their public school counterparts, data that Amy Stuart Wells calls "really, really important." According to the professor of sociology and education, "It confirms what a lot of people who study charter schools have been worried about. There is a lack of accountability. They're really uneven in terms of quality."

Charter schools are self-governing public schools that operate outside of the authority of school boards. They are often located in urban, low-income neighborhoods. Despite the NAEP findings, the number of charters is expected to increase under the No Child Left Behind federal policy which advocates this type of school as an alternative to traditional public institutions.

The article, entitled "Nation's Charter Schools Lagging Behind, U.S. Test Scores Reveal," appeared in the August 18 edition of the Spartanburg-Herald Journal.

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