High turnover for New York City’s charter school principals

By their own numbers, New York City charter schools have a tough time holding onto their principals, with nearly one in five of them heading for the door from one year to the next, according to a report released by a charter school advocacy group on Monday.

The New York City Charter School Center, a nonprofit group that supports charters, composed the report, which is a close-up look at the 136 charter schools that have sprung up across the five boroughs in the last 13 years. As the report notes, the schools still tend to be young — most have been open for four years or less...

Like previous studies by researchers at Stanford, the center’s report praises the city’s charters for their students’ positive results on the state math and English tests, which are taken annually by third through eighth graders. Last year, 69 percent of charter school students scored at the “proficient” level or higher in math, compared with 57 percent of students in traditional public schools. On the English exam, the charter school students came out ahead, but not by much.

Despite that academic success, there are staffing problems. About a third of teachers leave charter schools each year, which far exceeds the rate of 15 percent at district schools.

And in 2011, about 18 percent of charter school principals left their jobs, according to the report, which hypothesizes that the schools’ reliance on young teachers and “start-up mode” struggles wear out employees after a few years...

The center’s report also takes a critical look at the number of special education students and children who are not fluent English speakers who attend charter schools, figures that are significantly lower than in the district schools, as has been reported and pounded by critics.

Last year, about 6 percent of charter school students were English language learners, compared with 15 percent in traditional schools...

The charter school center has also organized the data by school, which can be found on its Web site.

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