Are charter schools overrated?
That question has long divided education policymakers and drawn renewed attention since the confirmation of school-choice crusader Betsy DeVos as U.S. education secretary. On Wednesday, it was the basis for a debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S., a nonprofit that gathers four experts at a time to publicly weigh in on a controversial topic.
During the debate held at New York City’s Kaufman Center on Wednesday night, professors from California State University Sacramento and Western Michigan University argued that charter schools have not shown stunning academic success overall and that the schools, which are privately run and publicly funded, exacerbate inequity. Their opponents, advocates from the Center for Education Reform and the American Enterprise Institute, rebutted the claims and said parents should be allowed to vote with their feet.
When the dust settled, the crowd — almost perfectly divided to start — said they had been swayed by the argument that charter schools need reform.
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