In terms of research studies and reports, it’s been a summer of great news for the charter school world.
In June, Stanford University’s CREDO Institute released a study that showed students in many of Michigan’s largest charter school networks are gaining months of additional learning every year, compared to their traditional school counterparts.In July, Temple University released the results of a study that revealed charter schools actually help raise the performance of nearby traditional public schools, confirming the notion that when it comes to educational choice, a rising tide really does lift all boats.
And we close out the summer with this great charter-research news: Charter school graduates aren’t just GETTING to college at a superior rate; they’re SUCCEEDING in college at a superior rate.
Tracking college graduation rates
The education website The 74 Million recently released the results of a research study it conducted that looked at how well charter school graduates were actually doing in college. Past research has consistently showed that charter school students are getting accepted to college at a higher rate, but how were they actually doing once they got to college?
The 74 Million identified nine large charter networks with enough alumni to roughly calculate degree-earning success rates. They looked at how many of those charter school students graduated from college in the space of six years, and then compared it to the number of non-charter students who graduated from college.
The results were pretty overwhelming: Charter school students are graduating from college at a rate that’s three to five times higher than the national average.
Helping students beyond high school
In Michigan and elsewhere, we’re seeing a trend in charter high schools that they’re continually looking for ways to help their students succeed after they’ve picked up their diplomas. What’s the point in helping a student GET to college if they don’t SUCCEED in college? Exactly!
At the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit, for example, they have counselors dedicated to tracking their graduates through college. They continually monitor their progress, and if they need help in college – in everything from financial aid to tutoring – they make sure they get it.
Another mark of charter school accountability
We’ve always known that charter schools set themselves apart because instead of shying away from accountability, they embrace it. As the story in The 74 Million points out, this is another example of that.
“Hold us accountable, the educators said, for how our kids do once they leave us, marking a remarkable paradigm shift in the way charter schools define success.”
I particularly enjoyed reading this story of what a charter school in Boston is doing:
“Today, the college graduation goal has been widely adopted, even by many single-site charters. At the small, relatively new Boston Prep, which serves students in grades 6–12, for example, classes are referred to not by the year students will graduate from high school, but the year they expect students to graduate from college. Next month, incoming sixth-graders will begin introducing themselves as the Class of 2028.”
That’s the charter school difference!