Op-Ed: School Boards Down on Charter Schools
School boards and their individual members have often been the most vocal opponents of school choice. On several occasions The Voice has pointed out that schools would be better served by trustees who bettered the educational offerings of districts, rather than using their positions to oppose reform. You can read about that here and here.
In addition to generally complaining about families having school choice options, many school boards show particular animosity toward charter schools. Click here to read about two notoriously low-performing school districts bullying a new charter school on the grounds that the new option could "adversely affect children in the district." Yes, the hypocrisy is overwhelming.
A short opinion-editorial by Bert Walker on the Bluffton Today website deals with the topic of why many school boards are eager to push around neighboring charter schools. It's short, and worth the read.
"Why Do Boards of Education Fear Charter Schools?"
“The public school system is already so beleaguered by bureaucracy; so cowed by the demands of due process; so overwhelmed with faddish curricula that its educational purpose is almost an afterthought.” — CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown
Justice Brown could not be more on point. I recently attended an enlightening tour of the Riverview Charter School with a small group of people for school choice. The group was very surprised to learn how the staff manages to run a school so conducive to learning, while at the same time overcoming obvious road blocks put up by the board of education. The faculty’s enthusiasm for the students and the unique learning environment at the school was very apparent. The fear of charter schools by our school board is also very apparent. Charter schools embarrass local public schools because they often do a better job educating children, for less money.
Charter schools are also free from much of the regulations and controls that regular public schools have to put up with. Charter schools therefore threaten the public-school monopoly because they introduce a little competition into the system. The tour provided everyone with a refreshing look at a public charter school of high caliber succeeding in a county struggling with low academic achievement. When the public demands more charter schools, authorities will lose much of their monopoly power over our children’s education and educational outcomes will improve. For better schools, think school choice and charter schools.
Bert Walker, Bluffton