Charter school critics often argue that public schools of choice post high standardized test scores largely because they enroll only a select group of students who know to apply to them. A new comparison, however, finds that charters compete with, and, in some ways, surpass New York’s selective public schools, showing the achievements of charters are not so easy to dismiss.
Charters have no control over who enrolls in their schools; anyone can apply. When more students apply than there are available seats, enrollment is granted randomly. It is true that those who apply might be more advantaged than others in the neighborhood – after all, their parents had the necessary informational resources to know how to apply and that they wanted to do so – but charters can’t weed out undesirable applicants directly. And many students apply to charters specifically because they are having trouble in traditional public schools.
Meanwhile, the common claim that traditional public schools are open to all is simply wrong. Traditional public schools aren’t open to all students....