Always controversial, and always under scrutiny, charter schools are subject to a million criticisms.
They cream students, or use harsh discipline rules to push them out. They don't serve their fair share of special education students. And, they don't do any better than the traditional public schools in terms of student achievement.
That might be true in some places, but not D.C.
Charter schools in D.C. are succeeding according to the district's third annual citywide School Equity Report.
Even though D.C. charters serve a higher percentage of special education, economically disadvantaged, and black students than other district schools, they have a lower rate of students withdrawing mid-year, and they've had steady decreases in the percentage of students being suspended.
For the 2014-2015 school year charter schools lost 21,078 days of lost instruction time due to suspensions.
In 2015-2016 those days dropped to 15,098.
While expulsion rates (.21%) are still double the district's (.10%), there are 85 charter schools with zero expulsions.
Even while serving a tougher demographic, D.C. charter schools are achieving student outcomes above the district.
Students attending charter schools are graduating at higher rates across nearly all student subgroups:
Here are results for English Language Arts:
Here are the results for Math:
See all the slides from the district's equity report here.