By Marcia Lynx Qualey, Engage Minnesota
On Monday, Minnesota education officials released a report on our state’s charter schools, and not all the news was good. In particular, the achievement gap between white and non-white students has widened considerably. This certainly should give us pause.
But test-score troubles didn’t just hit schools with primarily non-white or low-income students. Math was one area where Minnesota kids seemed to have the hardest time. According to education reformer Joe Nathan, math-passing rates declined by half from third to 11th grades.
But there were some bright spots. The Star Tribune reported that—among schools with a majority of low-income kids—the best math performer was Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy. Indeed, that’s the same charter school that was attacked by Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten. Her charge that the publicly funded institution was “teaching Islam” was shown by the state’s Department of Education to have been unfounded.
At Tarek Academy, 84 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Eighty-six percent reached math proficiency.
Congratulations to Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy.
Join the charter-school discussion:
Minnesota Public Radio (91.1 FM) will devote its 11-noon block Tuesday to discussions of Minnesota charter schools. You can listen and phone in at 651-227-6000 or 800-242-2828.
Read more about the state’s charter schools:
- Audit: Praise for charter schools’ finances but pause on academics
- The experiment continues — as it should
- Study: Charter schools a mixed bag
Marcia Lynx Qualey is one of the editors at Engage Minnesota.