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Students in Limbo

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The nervous anticipation and anxiety that greets each new school year just increased for 10,000 California students. California Charter Academy, the largest operator of charter schools, announced the closing of 60 campuses throughout the state [via L.A. Times]. Investigations surrounding the organization’s misdeeds and problematic academic programs and performance are in part to blame. The Charter Schools Association is now rushing to find seats at other schools for the California pupils whose schools will be shut down.

This news is an untimely setback to the charter school movement, which also suffered this week from a national study by the U.S. Department of Education of charter school academic performance. According to the report, the test scores of a sample of fourth grade charter school students were generally lower than those of public school students. In California, over 180,000 students attend the approximately 500 quasi-independent charter schools. That’s a significant number of the 600,000 youth enrolled in 3,000 charter schools (out of 88,000 public schools) nationwide.

Students, teachers, and education policy makers will deeply feel the impact of these recent developments. Proponents of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind act are none too pleased about these findings either, since the legislation heavily supports charter schools. Whatever your stance on this issue might be, LAist remembers the angst of the back-to-school blues and remains outraged at the current condition of education in this state and country. Our heart goes out to those 10,000 students.