Public Charter School Education Proves To Be An Excellent Choice For Hispanic Students
Today, one in three Hispanics in the United States are of school-going age, and parents are presented with the difficult task of giving their children the best possible education. In the past choices were limited between traditional public schools and private schools; however, as new public charter schools continue to open in neighborhoods with concentrated Hispanic populations, parents are weighing the benefits of this new opportunity. According to the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools, the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement, there are several key factors for parents to consider before they go the traditional routes.
Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools to open to all children. They are unique because they are given greater flexibility in exchange for greater accountability to student outcomes.
“Across the country, charter schools are working with families and communities to help put students on a path to success,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “The charter school movement is made stronger by the diverse backgrounds, talents, and dreams of our students, including the nearly one-third of all charter school students who identify as Hispanic.”
Public charter schools work to create a strong partnership between parents, students and teachers that promotes collaboration and high achievement. Some of the most important aspects of public charter schools include:
• They serve all children, including English learners and students with special needs.
• They serve higher percentages of Hispanic students than district-run schools (30 percent vs. 25 percent).
• Charter schools are located in 43 states and Washington D.C.
• Between 2010 and 2013, 15 out of 16 independent studies found that students attending charter schools do better academically than their district schools peers.
Throughout the years, public charter schools have proven to be an excellent choice for Hispanic students. A recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that urban charter schools generate learning growth equivalent to roughly 22 extra days of math and six days of reading for their Hispanic students. For Hispanic students in poverty, these numbers rose to 48 extra days in math and 25 extra days in reading. However, the most significant gains seen in charter schools are for Hispanic English learners (EL). These students gained 72 extra days of math and 79 extra days of reading when enrolled in charter schools, advancing at levels in math that are on par with their white non-EL peers.
Importantly, the charter school community is standing up for the Hispanic families they serve. This month a coalition of over 100 charter schools, colleges, and advocacy organizations wrote to Congress to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its proposed successor, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. And the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools continually advocates for federal Charter Public Schools (CSP) funding, so that more charter schools can open, replicate, and provide high-quality public school options for Hispanic students – and all students.
“As public school educators and leaders of institutions of higher education, we feel it is our duty and responsibility to educate all children who enroll in our schools, regardless of their immigration status,” reads the coalition’s letter in part. “In doing so, we want to see all our students achieve their dreams to make our country as strong as it can be. To allow one important group of young people to do that, we ask you to spur the passage of the bipartisan BRIDGE Act.”
Furthermore, charter schools are closing the achievement gap as they are raising the bar of what’s possible—and what should be expected—in public education. Some states, such as California and Texas, are producing outstanding results in charter schools that serve high percentages of Hispanic students. In California, where 48 percent of charter school students are Hispanic, a Hispanic charter school student was 2.9 times more likely to be enrolled in a top 10 percent school in the state than a Hispanic student in a non-charter school.
Similarly, all seven high schools within the South Texas-based charter network IDEA Public Schools—which currently serves more than 30,000 students, 95 percent of whom are Hispanic—are ranked within the top 1 percent of the nation’s “most challenging high schools.” A consistent 99 percent of IDEA’s Hispanic high school students graduate on time with a regular diploma.
According to a parent survey commissioned by the National Alliance, 84 percent of Hispanic parents say they favor or strongly favor allowing parents to choose which public school their child attends regardless of their address. The same survey found that, after the economy, Hispanic parents believe education to be the most important issue facing the nation.
It is not surprising then, that 3.1 million students are enrolled in 6,900 public charter schools across the nation, and of those, roughly 30 percent are Hispanic students.
About Charter Public Schools
Charter public schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.