Wave of the Future: Why charter schools should replace failing urban schools

Andy Smarick:

In a decade and a half, the charter school movement has gone from a glimmer in the eyes of a few Minnesota reformers to a maturing sector of America’s public education system. Now, like all 15-year-olds, chartering must find its own place in the world.
First, advocates must answer a fundamental question: What type of relationship should the nascent charter sector have with the long-dominant district sector? The tension between the two is at the heart of every political, policy, and philosophical tangle faced by the charter movement.
But charter supporters lack a consistent vision. This motley crew includes civil rights activists, free market economists, career public-school educators, and voucher proponents. They have varied aspirations for the movement and feelings toward the traditional system. Such differences are part of the movement’s DNA: a National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) study found that the nation’s charter laws cite at least 18 different goals, including spurring competition, increasing professional opportunities for teachers, and encouraging greater use of technology.
Because of its uniqueness, chartering is unable to look to previous reform efforts for guidance. No K–12 reform has so fundamentally questioned the basic assumptions—school assignments based on residence, centralized administrative control, schools lasting in perpetuity—underlying the district model of public education. Even the sweeping standards and assessments movement of the last 20 years, culminating in No Child Left Behind, takes for granted and makes use of the district sector.

Rotherham has more.

One thought on “Wave of the Future: Why charter schools should replace failing urban schools”

  1. The Hoover Institute continues with their demagoguery that charter schools are the solution to all educational ills.
    All schools should be chartered and be accountable to the public they opine.
    If that does not sound familiar, let me clue you in.
    All corporations are chartered, have to be registered to do business in a given state, and if they are “public” are supposed to controlled by the public and accountable. (S.E.C for example).
    Okay, now name one corporation (for profit or non-profit) that is accountable to the public or to their customers or to any but the largest shareholders. Can you say Enron?
    Now, name any government agency or institution that is accountable.
    List any educational problem that is a direct result of the legal organizational structure that the corporation happens to be chartered under.
    But, under no circumstances should one actually look at what goes on in the classroom — where the real teaching and learning happens or doesn’t.

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