I recently read an article published by Aljezeera America in which they cited a number of reasons that some believe charter schools to be a “gravy train”. Referencing research done by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at University of Colorado Boulder, they note a number of concerns frequently cited by those opposed to charter schools, namely inequities between salary structure between administrators and teachers, and the opportunity for companies to achieve significant profits at the expense of classroom investment. Click here to read the article itself.
Lost in this debate about so called “privatization and profiteering”, however, is the real issue that should be discussed, namely how charter schools do or do not offer enhanced educational opportunities for students. For my part, and not to diminish the concerns outlined above, there is not enough discussion and focus on the impact of charters as publicly funded entities that are not governed by locally elected boards of trustees.
Do children attending charters have the same opportunities and are charters held to the same accountability standards as traditional public schools? The answer to the first question is “maybe” but the answer to the second question clearly is “no”. That fact alone should be cause for concern as we strive to address the challenges in educating today’s youth. For publicly funded schools, it’s time to level the playing field and to hold all public education entities to the same standards and expectations.