For Further Reading:
School grades don’t prove that charter schools are doing a bad job, of course. There are issues with Indiana’s grading system; and the whole idea is applying a single letter grade to a school seems suspect. But the results do strongly suggest there’s no magic to “charter-ness” – that charter schools don’t have a monopoly on what works.
Yet some officials continue to push charter schools as the way to improve public education. Look at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s “road map” for education legislation, for example. Three of six proposals aim to promote the use of charter schools.What's wrong with charter schools is that they originally were supposed to be created to collaborate with public schools and help them solve common problems. Because they have now been taken over by the idea of competition, they have become part of the movement to turn education into a consumer product rather than a social and a public responsibility. ...What’s apparent from all these charter school scandals is that these schools need way more scrutiny and, yes, government regulation. But the charter movement and its ardent backers in state legislatures are adamantly against that. Charters, we’ve been told, “need to be free to innovate.”
Yet for all the “freedom to innovate” that charter schools have, the results of these schools generally fall far short of being, well, innovative.Charter schools have become a parallel school system unto themselves, a system controlled largely by for-profit management companies and private landlords — one and the same, in many cases — and rife with insider deals and potential conflicts of interest.
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