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Report: Charters excel at getting disadvantaged students into college over traditional schools

Craig Clough | May 2, 2016

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California Charter Schools AssociationA recent report issued by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) found that charter schools in the state are excelling at getting historically disadvantaged students into college over traditional schools.

According to the report, “African-American and Latino charter students almost twice as likely (19 percent) to apply to [the University of California system] as their traditional public school peers (11 percent).”

The report also concluded that charter schools serving majorities of low-income students have a college acceptance rate of 21 percent, compared to a traditional school rate of 11 percent.

“This new report demonstrates that charters are excelling at providing the critical educational acumen and strong preparation support needed for all of our students to attend college,” CCSA CEO Jed Wallace said in a statement. “Moreover, it shows that the college-going culture and mission that guides many charter schools translates into results.”

The report also found that “charter schools are helping students achieve entry into higher levels of college education (16 percent) than they would have had they attended traditional public high schools (14 percent). More charter students who would have otherwise enrolled in CSUs are gaining entry into UCs. Similarly, more students who would have otherwise enrolled in community college are gaining entry into CSUs.”

The report also said, “Charter high schools are providing a greater proportion of their students with college access (37 percent) through higher A-G subject requirement completion rates than their traditional school peers (24 percent).”

According to CCSA, the report’s findings support three of its policy recommendations:

  • Reinforce the need for access to A-G completion for all historically disadvantaged students as one of the starting points to ensure educational equity in college-going outcomes.
  • Improve data collection and availability of post-secondary data to facilitate additional research into what is working for charter schools and how to replicate their students’ college and career readiness.
  • Open more high-quality, autonomous charters as a promising way to give our students a step up into higher levels of post-secondary education which will influence the trajectory of their lives.

The CCSA report, called Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access, will likely by cited by charter school supporters in Los Angeles as they look to drum up support for Great Public Schools Now, a nonprofit that wants to expand charter access in LA Unified. The plan has been denounced by some members of the school board and the LA teachers union, UTLA, as one that could bankrupt the district and union due to the potential enrollment loss.

• Video and read more: 13 things to know about charter schools

The report, which was released April 19, comes just in advance of National Charter Schools Week, which is a public campaign run by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Last week the organization released the results of a poll finding that 78 percent of parents support a charter school opening in their neighborhood and an equal number of parents favor more public school choices, regardless of where they live.

“During National Charter Schools Week, we recognize the role public charter schools play in providing America’s daughters and sons with a chance to reach their fullest potential, and we recommit to strengthening our nation’s classrooms for all,” President Obama said in a statement.

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