Wisconsin State Journal Editorial, via a kind reader:
Charter schools have no bigger fan than President Barack Obama.
The federal government gave Wisconsin $86 million on Thursday to help launch and sustain more charter schools across the state.
State schools chief Tony Evers said $5 million will go to two dozen school districts this year, with the rest of the money distributed over five years.
Madison, to no surprise, wasn’t on Thursday’s winner list. And don’t expect any of the $86 million for planning and implementing new strategies for public education to be heading Madison’s way.
That’s because the Madison School Board continues to resist Obama’s call for more charter schools. The latest evidence is the School Board’s refusal to even mention the words “charter school” in its strategic action plans.
In sharp contrast, Obama can hardly say a word about public education without touting charters as key to sparking innovation and engaging disadvantaged students.
Obama visited a New Orleans charter school Thursday (and raised money that evening in San Francisco at a $34K per couple dinner) and is preparing to shower billions on states to experiment with new educational strategies. But states that limit charter growth will not be eligible for the money.
I am in favor of a diffused governance model here. I think improvement is more likely via smaller organizations (charters, magnets, whatever). The failed Madison Studio School initiative illustrates the challenges that lie ahead.