Closing Charter Schools – A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

About 15 percent of the nation’s charter schools close—and that’s not a bad thing, according to a newly released report, which argues that those shutdowns are proof that the system weeds out institutions that can’t cut it for one reason or another.  Of roughly 6,700 charter schools that have opened in the United States, 1,036 have closed since 1992, says a report unveiled today by the Center for Education Reform.

The center advocates for charters and school choice, in its report, “The State of Charter Schools,” as the “first-ever national analysis” of the charters that have closed shop over the past two decades.

So why do charter schools close?

The greatest portion of them, 41.7 percent, go under for financial reasons, the center found. Mismanagement—which could be misspending, failure to provide adequate programs or materials, or an overall lack of accountability—is the next most likely reason, at 24 percent, followed by academic problems, at 18.6 percent.

Of the rest, 4.6 percent close because of problems with their facilities. “District obstacles” are another barrier, at 6.3 percent. The report maintains that in those cases, school systems may saddle charters with unrealistic paperwork or regulatory burdens or treat them with outright hostility.

So is the closing of charter schools a good thing or a bad thing in your opinion?  Public schools that are performing poorly are rarely or never closed.  What bothers me is that over 40% of charter schools are being closed because of financial problems and not because they are not performing better than the traditional public schools they were supposed to replace.