Depending upon your view, charter schools are the key to improving public education in America, including here in Massachusetts. Or, they represent a threat to a public education, shifting money and resources away from schools that are open to everyone, toward a small number of schools that serve a small group of students.
Then there's the debate about whether charter schools actually do a better job educating kids. Proponents say the evidence shows they do.
One of the latest studies comes from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO).
It found that "charter students in Boston are learning at double the rate of Boston district students, making 2 years worth of academic progress in English and math for every year they're enrolled in a charter (compared to district students.)"
However, it also found that English Language Learners had lower gains in reading at charter schools.
Critics say charter schools do not do a better job than traditional public schools, because they serve many fewer kids learning English or who have special needs.
The disagreement over charter schools in Massachusetts is set to get louder, as state lawmakers consider a bill to eliminate the cap on the number of charter schools that can operate in low-performing school districts.
Massachusetts currently limits the number of charter schools state-wide to 120.
Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation.
Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teacher's Association.
This segment aired on May 6, 2013.