Charter Schools Face High Demand, but Few Seats
Obama Wants to Expand the Alternative Program, but Laws, Labor Unions Will Make That Hard to Achieve

Robert Tomsho:

The waiting lists for charter schools, already notoriously long, look like they are about to get longer.
President Barack Obama and Arne Duncan, his new education secretary, are trying to entice states into opening more of the alternative schools. But despite brisk enrollment growth and long waiting lines for many existing charter schools, states appear to be in no hurry to oblige.
With 1.4 million students in 4,600 schools, charters are by far the most significant achievement of the “choice” movement that strives to promote educational gains through school competition. Enrollment in charter schools, which are publicly funded, has more than doubled in the last six years.
But obstacles loom to accommodating more charter-school students. The recession has intensified school districts’ concerns about competing for public funds with charter schools. Some charter-school supporters say such schools need more oversight. But unions are using any missteps at charter schools, which aren’t typically unionized, to oppose their expansion.

One thought on “Charter Schools Face High Demand, but Few Seats
Obama Wants to Expand the Alternative Program, but Laws, Labor Unions Will Make That Hard to Achieve”

  1. The title of this article is a bit off the mark in some important ways. Though unions and laws may restrict charter schools (but if laws demand accountability, fiscal responsibility, ethics — is that a problem?), other issues are discussed in the article.
    1) pro-charter group says 12.5% charters closed because of financial or mismanagement reasons.
    2) Minnesota: Improper financial ties between charters and Board of Directors;
    3) Pennsylvania: nepotism and financial improprieties in some Philadelphia schools.
    4) Ohio: 2/3’s of charter schools fail to graduate even 50% of students; 17 schools financial records are so poor as to be “unauditable”.
    5) National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (pro-charter): “There are too many lousy charters out there”.
    There are likely many reasons for a school being “good”, “bad”, “successful”, or ‘unsuccessful”. But, one of the reasons is never going to be “private”, “charter”, or “public” schools.
    Those who advocate for private, charter, public, or any other institutional forms for schools clearly are bereft of knowledge on how to improve schooling.
    Of course, that arguments over such pseudo-issues maintain center stage is proof that our educational decline began decades before, having produced an adult population of citizens and “authorities” thoroughly lacking in basic intellectual skills — who grab at any “solution” that meets their fancy.
    And, I certainly don’t count myself among those who know how to improve the educational system. It’s easy to find fault with all the magic-bullet solutions — it is much harder, maybe impossible, among all the noise, to find those nuggets of truths that could form a core for educational success. Given the quality of discourse, anyone who is optimistic is delusional.

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