Another day, another report on failing charter schools, these in St. Louis. But wait. I thought if you just invoked the magic word “charter” they HAD to be better than public schools.

Oh, and about that Arne Duncan Chicago miracle? Forget about it.

Another result that contradicts state data is a consortium finding of a widening achievement gap, especially during the Duncan administration. Over all, schools in more advantaged areas had stronger gains, while schools in disadvantaged areas tended to show less growth.

This happens in public schools and it is also what the charter and voucher movements are about. Skimming those kids most likely to make it — on account of family income, parental commitment, individual talent and motivation — and not worrying much about the remnants (except to use them as a handy foil for the “success” stories.) It will be the ruination of egalitarian American public education, once the country’s great leveler. The emphasis needs to be about making all better, not merely creating escape hatches that widen the divide between haves and have nots.