Sunday, June 4, 2017

NPE and Charter Schools

The Network for Public Education has issued a clear, concise and pointed statement about charter schools in the US, and it's worth your eyeball time.*

The statement is useful if you have been trying to explain to friends or civilians why, exactly modern charter schools are such a contentious concern. It nails some of the fundamental problems of the charter industry:

We believe that taxpayers bear the responsibility for funding those schools and that funding should be ample and equitable to address the needs of the served community. We also believe that taxpayers have the right to examine how schools use tax dollars to educate children.

Most importantly, we believe that such schools should be accountable to the community they serve, and that community residents have the right and responsibility to elect those who govern the school. Citizens also have the right to insist that schooling be done in a manner that best serves the needs of all children.

The NPE statement addresses in simple, clear, non-hyperventilating language, the fact that charter schools simply are not public schools. This does not make charter schools a Terrible Evil Thing, but it gets at the heart of the great charter bait-and-switch. Charters repeated pitch themselves as free public schools, and the public takes them at their word, only to be shocked later when some charters won't take all students, make operators rich, and engage in all manner of bizarre shenanigan. "Wait! How can they do that-- aren't they a school??" Modern charters have worked hard to be seen as public schools, rather than what they are-- private schools funded with public tax dollars.

The NPE statement does not demand that charters be banished from the surface of the earth, but lays out a series of steps that legislators could take to make charter schools a productive and healthy part of the public education landscape-- so this is not just a slam job.

The statement is short and eminently shareable. Follow the link, share the statement, and help push for the conversation about charters that we should be having in this country.

*I am not a board member of NPE, but I am a member of the orgnization

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