Charter schools that overhaul the usual public school model — such as the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy, which the school board rejected in 2011 — are another approach. Madison has not embraced the charter school movement with nearly as much vigor as some other districts with race- and income-based achievement gaps.
This is not to say other districts that have adopted these or other more radical changes have shown consistent success.
Some ideas for improving public education have a basis in research, while others have proven only anecdotally effective.
Carol Carstensen, a former Madison School Board member who also was instrumental in getting Schools of Hope started, said she’s not aware of evidence that charter schools, on the whole, make more progress than traditional public schools.
By contrast, the “summer slide” and need for remedial education in the fall, especially for low-income students, have long been documented and seem a pretty good rationale for year-round school.