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When the charter school movement began, skeptics said public charter schools would serve a more advantaged, less diverse student population than traditional public schools. That has not necessarily been the case.

During the 2014-2015 school year, nearly half a million Black students were enrolled in charter schools and more than half a million Hispanic students were enrolled in charter schools. In addition to that, charter schools are serving 56 percent of students from low-income families, compared to 52 percent of their peers at public schools across the country.

Studies that examine long-term outcomes, like high school graduation, college attendance, and future earnings for charter school students, consistently cite that charter schools are producing significant positive results.

A 2011 study by Mathematica examined high school students in Chicago and Florida who were enrolled in charter schools in 8th grade, and then either enrolled in a charter or district-run public school for high school.

Long-term benefits of charter schools 

  • More likely to graduate by 7-15%
  • More likely to enroll in college by 8-10%

Dr. Karen Thomas, Founder and CEO of Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, and Ana Ponce, Chief Executive Officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles, California spoke with Roland Martin about the benefits of charter schools during Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now.

Thomas told Martin that Marion P. Thomas Charter School is focused on careers: “While we’re preparing every child to go to college, we’re taking two things that are intrinsic in our community that are celebrated and using them across all of our curriculum — cooking and performing arts.”

She added, “There’s lots of studies about how the performing arts help to enhance your core content subject areas.”

Ana Ponce said charter schools allow administrators the “autonomy and flexibility to be responsive to community needs.”

Ponce said the charter school educational platform also allows for “course corrections,” while presenting the opportunity to “stay very connected to what our students need and what the needs of the community are.”

Watch Roland Martin, Dr. Karen Thomas, and Ana Ponce discuss the benefits of a charter school education in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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