Study Finds Dropout Rates for Black Students Are Higher at Charter Schools

A new study by scholars at the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University finds that Black students who enroll at private charter schools in Texas are more likely to drop out of school than Black students at traditional public schools.

The study found that Black students at charter schools in Austin, Dallas, and Houston had a dropout rate of 13 percent compared to a drop out rate of 4 percent for Black students in urban public schools.

Lead author Julian Vasquez Heilig, assistant professor of educational policy and planning at the University of Texas, stated, “Prior to this there were no real examinations of just how successful the charter schools have been at retaining minority students and raising their school completion rates. While some charter districts have had pretty low attrition rates, it’s clear that there are districts with as many as 50 percent of their black students leaving and 90 percent dropping out.”

The study was published in the Berkeley Review of Education.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Hello JBHE,

    Thanks for sharing this announcement about the recent research study by scholars at the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University. It appears that there is a heavy emphasis to exploit what has already been well documented. Seems to be the same old bad news about drop-out rates among black students – nothing new here?

    Is there an underlying assumption that I am missing here? Was there to be an expected difference between the learning environment of the Charter Schools and the Public Schools that would have produced different results about drop-out rates?

    Perhaps this research is subtly indicating that the learning environment and the curriculum of both the Public and Charter Schools are not conducive and supportive of the psych-sociological development needs and the learning styles of our urban students.

    Makes me wonder if the purpose of such efforts has merely been researching to validate this systemic problem instead of seeking to discover a viable solution?

    Peace …

    • Educated Insolence says:

      I could not agree more with this point:
      “Perhaps this research is subtly indicating that the learning environment and the curriculum of both the Public and Charter Schools are not conducive and supportive of the psych-sociological development needs and the learning styles of our urban students….”

      The mere notion that most high-school curriculum’s continue to use a pedagogical model to teach a population that should be classified under the blanket of ‘adult learners'(based on their day to day experiences)is rather disconcerting, to say the least.

      Thank you for sharing.

  2. Bev Seaberry says:

    This study is highly questionable is it is based on the drop-out rates published by Texas public schools which have been refuted by professionals within the school district. Please refer to the accounts of coding fraud whereby schools report that students have not dropped out when in fact they have. Their leaving has been coded as “entering a GED program, ” transferring to another school,” so as to hide the true rate–said to be 40 to 50 percent in high poverty, high minority school populations. A drop-out rate of 4% is simply unbelievable.

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