Charter schools are subject to the same testing and accountability rules as traditional public school districts. The Texas Education Agency‘s most recent report on charter school accountability was released last August. “Charter Ratings Down”, San Antonio Express-News, August 22, 2011.
The ratings use a number of factors, but rely heavily on standardized testing (formerly TAKS, now STAAR) and graduation rates. In general, ratings for both charter schools and traditional school districts dropped between 2010 and 2011 because the TEA changed how it scores students who are showing improvement on standardized testing.
Some charter schools are designed to help dropouts go back to school and earn their high school diplomas. The administrators of those schools say that, despite their best efforts, they tend to have higher dropout rates than traditional schools because of the population of high-risk students they serve.
The 2011 report rated 13 charter schools as “academically unacceptable,” 24 charter schools as “academically acceptable,” and three charter schools as “recognized.” None were rated “exemplary” in 2011.
So, clearly not all charter schools are successful. For parents who are researching where to send their children, it’s important to do your homework and focus on the high performing schools.