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25 June 2013

New Study Says Minority & Poor Students Gain from Charter Schools Opposed by Georgia Democrats

Democrats like to say they're the champion of minority and low-income Georgians. Democrats also like to say Republican policies are bad news for minority and low-income voters. A new study released Tuesday seems to rebut that argument, however.

A policy championed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats benefit minority and low-income Georgians -- charter schools.

Charter schools benefit students from poor families, black students and Hispanic English-language learners more than their peers in other groups, a study shows.

. . . according to the National Charter School Study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University . . . black students gained the equivalent of 14 days of learning by attending charter schools but that black students living in poverty saw even greater benefits, the equivalent of 29 days in reading and 36 days in math. Hispanic English-language learners saw even higher gains, though Hispanics in general scored similarly to Hispanics in traditional public schools.

The study analyzed student data from Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Thompson, Carolyn (25 June 2013). Study: Minority, Poor Students Gain from Charters. Associated Press. Retrieved on 25 June 2013.

In 2012, Georgians were asked to approve a constitutional amendment allowing for the creation of charter schools.

The charter schools amendment was unanimously opposed by the Young Democrats of Georgia. The Georgia House Democratic Caucus opposed the charter schools amendment. Democrats in the Georgia Senste opposed the charter schools amendment.

In spite of the Democrats' opposition, the charter schools amendment passed with 58% of the vote.

Even more poignant was the amount of support the charter schools amendment received from black voters.

Douglas Blackmon, writing for the website Slavery by Another Name, noted, "In the 20 Georgia counties where African-Americans make up half or more of the population, the amendment was approved by 61% of all voters and in 14 of those 20 counties."

Democrats, the self-proclaimed champion of minority and low-income Georgians, did not back an issue championed by minority and low-income Georgians.

The charter schools amendment, backed by blacks in large numbers, was pushed through by Georgia Republicans in the state legislature.

According to the National Charter School Study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, minority and poor students are benefiting from this distinctly Republican policy.

That's something to think about.