Good Data for Charters, but Some Urge Caution

From the New York Times:

He was born to a drug-addicted mother, struggled in school and as a child was bounced among the homes of several relatives. Yet doors began to open for Shantell Hopkins four years ago after he entered a new charter public high school in Chicago. Now he is preparing for his freshman year at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., on a full-tuition scholarship from the school.

Shantell received his opportunities because of the Renaissance Schools Fund, a Chicago philanthropy started by business leaders through the Commercial Club of Chicago. Since 2005, the group has raised $50 million for 67 new charter and contract public schools in Chicago. Six of its high schools graduated their first class this spring, and more than 90 percent of the graduates have been accepted to a two- or four-year college. By contrast, the most recent data from the Chicago Public Schools, from 2008, shows that 52 percent of all graduating seniors had enrolled in college for the following fall.