By Mary Ann Zehr | Ed Week
September 16, 2009
The question of whether charter schools do a good job of educating English-language learners is being debated in Massachusetts, as legislators consider two proposals that would expand the number of such schools.
The discussion highlights the incomplete picture educators and researchers there and nationwide have of how charter schools, compared with regular public schools, are serving ELLs.
Whether charter schools do a better job than regular schools in closing the achievement gap between English-learners and students who already have a command of the language is expected to be a thread in testimony at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 17 before the state’s joint education committee. The hearing is on a proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick to increase the number of charter schools. The issue arose during a July hearing by that committee on a proposal by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to convert low-performing schools within some public school districts to charter schools, which are publicly financed but largely independent.