Elections have consequences.
One of those consequences may be the Charter School system here in North Kackolackey.
And I have mixed feelings.
I’m all for choice. AND I’m all for public education. The perfect marriage would seem to Charter Schools:
Charter schools in the United States are primary or secondary schools that receive public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter. Charter schools are opened and attended by choice. While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and are not allowed to charge tuition. Where enrollment in a charter school is oversubscribed, admission is frequently allocated by lottery-based admissions.
Public money funds the schools, you may attend if you want to and if full, the school will admit based on a lottery system. Seems pretty straight forward and fair.
I have school aged children and we might enjoy the experience that attending a Charter School would give our kids. So my wife and I attended an orientation to one of the Charter Schools in the area.
I was immediately struck by one obvious and uncomfortable fact. Everyone in the room seemed to be from an upper middle class background. Or higher. And virtually every single family in the place was white. If this was a representation of the kids and families that attend these schools, the data we have is vastly skewed in favor of the school. While even upper middle class kids should have the opportunity to attend quality public schools, these kids did not strike me as lower performing kids. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if you were to leave every single kid who attended the orientation in the public school that are or would be attending, their achievement would be way higher than the overall achievement of the average public school.
That is, put ’em in a Charter School or not, these kids are gonna do well.
So, by creating a school that self selects children based on their parent’s desire and ability to attend orientation, sign up for attendance and THEN commit to the sacrifices required of families, you are building a school that keeps out the very “at risk” kids we’re trying to save.
Charter schools aren’t good because they’re charter schools. At least not wholly. They’re good, in large part because only families that demand high educational outcomes attend.
We should continue down the path of school choice. But we should do it with eyes wide open.