So You Want To Start A Charter School?

Oct 5, 2019 by

So you want to create a charter school? Are you some kind of right-wing ideologue, intent on destroying public schools and teachers’ unions?

Tom Watkins-

As a Democrat, I have been asked this question (and meaner versions) often over the past four years. Yes, I support public schools and believe they have helped shape this country. No, I do not believe that teachers or their unions are the problem. Yes, I do support public school choice and breaking up the exclusive franchise that public school districts currently hold on parents and children.

In spite of public schools’ past achievements, the current system is leaving far too many children behind. Efforts under way to “fix” or help existing public schools may be laudable, but more can and should be done for the students and their parents–not for the district or the system.

I often hear the following questions: “How could you collaborate with the enemy (conservatives, Republicans, free marketers, etc.) in supporting the establishment of charter schools?” “Don’t you realize that this is the ‘camel’s nose under the tent,’ the first step down the slippery slope to a voucher system?” I have pointed out to these questioners that of the first eight states to pass charter-school legislation, four had Democratic governors and four Republican. More impressively, in those first eight states, 13 of the 16 legislative bodies involved in the charter-school decision were controlled by Democrats. Hey, even President Clinton, the “New Democrat,” supported the student-focused value of charter schools in his 1994 State of the Union address. If I am wrong, I am not alone.

But neither am I naive enough to believe that all charter-school advocates share my vision of public, child-centered charter schools. Certainly there are those who see this innovation as a back-door route to using public funds for private and religious schools–or simply as a way to make a profit. From my recent experience in this area, I would put charter-school advocates into three main categories:

Source: So You Want To Start A Charter School? – Education Week

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.