Friday, September 25, 2015

The Big Map O' Charter Failure

The Center for Media and Democracy has done a great public service, collecting and sorting a big pile of charter school failure data that the USED somehow just wasn't interested in pursuing all that much.

They have taken the NCES data from 2000-2013 and pulled out a state-by-state list of failed charter schools. This gives you, or your local press if they actually feel moved to pursue a story, a heaping database of charter failure info. One interesting feature from a Your Tax Dollars at Work perspective-- the charter schools that hoovered up some tasty public tax dollars and never even opened in the first place! In Michigan in the 2011-2012 school year, according to CMD, twenty-five charters received grants and never opened.

But for those of you who are visual learners, CMD has a big interactive map. I'll include that here, but I recommend you go over to CMD and read the whole piece for more details. Here's what charter failure to the tune of 2,500 schools (2,500!!) looks like. (And remember-- this is only through 2013)

Source: NCES Common Core of Data Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey for school years 2000 to 2013. Data are available at For purposes of this analysis, schools coded in the survey as “closed since last report,” and “inactive-temporarily closed” were deemed closed. Schools that changed status from “charter” and “open” to “not applicable” and “closed” in subsequent year were also deemed to be closed charter schools. Additionally, schools coded as open charters in one year that then are missing from the survey for at least the next two subsequent years are also deemed to be closed. - See more at:


  1. Peter
    Can you get us the map of the charter schools that have developed or discovered new and innovative ideas, strategies that work really well with kids, that can be scaled up and exported to our public schools? These so-called laboratories for creative and innovative solutions for better teaching and better learning have now had two decades to come through. Its time they share their secrets with those of us constrained by laws and regulations.

  2. The secret: attract kids whose parents are involved enough to sign them up, drive away the most difficult kids with militaristic discipline, and narrow education to mostly test-prep focused English and Math.

  3. Off the top of my head: KIPP, Uncommon, North Star, Basis, Aspire, Alliance, Noble Street, Urban Prep, Mastery, Success Academy, Yes Prep, Summit, Denver School of Science and Technology, and the Montessori School of Englewood.

    Secret ingredients: more time, rigorous curriculum, blended learning, support and feedback for teachers, continuous parent engagement, love.