The "Charter Movement" Is Not The No-Excuses Movement
Or: Why There's So Much Charter-Love And So Much Bad Charter Data
A user, under the nom de plum of cybergrace, posted this comment yesterday, on an old post in this blog. Thank you cybergrace, whoever you are, for bringing this up.
Since I put up my page on the No-Excuses Movement, and since Waiting for Superman started generating all this media hype, a number of people have come to me with data of the kind cited in cybergrace’s comment—data showing that charters, on average, are worse than public schools. Well, what do you say to that? everyone wants to know. There’s a lot of legitimate confusion around this issue, so let me try to clear this up.
When Arne Duncan, Davis Guggenheim, and the like say that there’s a model out there that works and is ready to “go to scale,” they’re not talking about charter-schools in general; they’re talking about a specific pedagogical model, called No-Excuses education. Debates on the subject have been careless about maintaining that distinction, however, and the result is a peculiar tangle of incidental ideological alliances and confusing data.