Report: Nevada Charter Schools Lag Behind Public Schools - 8 News NOW

Report: Nevada Charter Schools Lag Behind Public Schools

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LAS VEGAS --  A Stanford University report shows Nevada charter schools lag behind public school learning by as much as seven months.

The findings were pulled from 2008 to 2011 when the state's charter authority says it knew schools weren't doing well, but action was taken to turn things around from the state house to the school house.

Educators say there is work to be done.

"I think it's disappointing," said Marla Tsuchiyama of Silver Sands Montessori Charter School. 

She says it's heartbreaking to hear that the state's charters fall behind public schools. She said 82 percent of her students meet or exceed state expectations, but she says Nevada has little charter experience.

"Compared to other states that have had charter schools for many many years, we're kind of at an adolescent stage."

The CREDO report shows charter schools benefit black and Hispanic students more than whites and Asians.

But Silver Sands is predominantly white and students are making the grade.

At The 100 Academy of Excellence, a minority charter, students are showing improvement.

"There are thermometers that we use to track student progress," said asst. principal Shawn Smith.

Less than half, 46 percent, of students at the 100 Academy of Excellence meet expectations  and there's a reason why some are behind.

"Many students come to us behind grade level so normally we're trying to make up more than one grade level per academic year," Smith said.

There are 31 charter schools in Nevada and the average school rating has three of five stars. Nevada's Public Charter School Authority says the charters are headed in the right direction, but it takes time.

"The news is not something that we like, it's certainly a challenge to charter schools to perform, but I think the state has taken dramatic steps to strengthen their laws and regulations around this charter school sector," said Steve Canavero, the director of Nevada Public Charter School Authority.

In 2011, the governor and Nevada Legislature removed the authority of charter schools from the State Board of Education to a separate board. This was a huge reform effort that helped charters with applications, oversight and managing student achievement. In the most recent legislative session, a bill passed that creates performance based charter contracts that basically hold schools accountable.

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