Report shows how charter schools stack up against public schools

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New findings show that the top public schools in New Mexico for 2016 are charter schools found right here in Albuquerque.

Based on the findings, Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School and the Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science come in at number one and number two on the list, while La Cueva High School comes in at number six for Albuquerque Public Schools.

U.S News and World report used criteria like standardized test scores, graduation rate, and how the school prepares students for college.

In total, three charter schools cracked the top 15.

The Executive Director of New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools says she believes the reason they’re at the top of the list is the specialized education charter schools provide and smaller class sizes.

“They have a niche. They have a specialty that they offer to parents and students. Some examples are performing arts, dual language, STEM. There are dropout recovery schools. That specialization allows for greater choice for parents and students,” said Kelly Callahan, Executive Director.

She says the enrollment numbers show it.

‘We are now at 100 charter schools with approaching 25,000 students. That’s approximately 7 percent of the student population in public schools in New Mexico,” said Callahan.

While charter schools are at the top of the list, there are four APS schools scattered throughout at sixth, seventh, tenth & thirteenth.

In February, News 13 reported that enrollment at APS is dropping, with estimates showing the district with 10,000 fewer students over the next decade.

When asked about the rankings, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation felt that it was unfair to base schools off of its standardized test scores, saying that it actually comes down to socio-economics.

“It’s when you mix it all up together and you don’t control for that, that it really looks like some schools do better than other. Really it’s some families are doing better than others,” said Ellen Bernstein, ATF President.

Bernstein says the best way APS should handle this is by creating more magnet schools that focus on themes such as arts but say that would create a transportation issue.

“We don’t have a variety of transportation so people on one side of the city can get to another side of the city. So we’d have to make a lot of magnet schools,” said Bernstein.

We reached out to APS who declined to comment saying they don’t want to talk about comparisons.

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