Carlos Afaro wishes his parents would have had the same education freedom for their children that Arizonans have today. When Afaro, now the Arizona Coalitions Director for The LIBRE Institute, came to the United States as a child, he struggled in the traditional school setting.
In a recent op-ed, Afaro explains the one-size-fits-all approach to education put kids like him at a serious disadvantage.
For kids like me, the national statistics are sobering. On the latest NAEP assessment for math, Hispanic fourth-graders had an average score that was 22 points lower than that for white students. On the NAEP reading assessment, Hispanic fourth-graders had an average score that was 25 points lower than that for their White peers. And in 2015 Latinos in Arizona had one of the highest dropout rates of all ethnic and racial groups.
Thankfully, Afaro says, Arizona implemented reforms that put families in control and allow them to choose the education that meets their child’s unique needs. And it’s working.
Arizona now boasts five of the top 10 high schools in the nation. And Arizona students led the country in academic gains for math, reading, and science between 2009 and 2015. What’s more, these achievements occurred at a time of decreased funding during the great recession…
… What is most uplifting about this for me is that national studies have shown that charter schools close the learning gap for minority students. The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University says, “learning gains for charter school students are larger by significant amounts for black, Hispanic, low-income, and special education students in both math and reading.”