Saturday, October 30, 2010
What's so scary about charter schools?
On this day before Halloween when we think of ghouls and goblins and other scary things, I wonder why some people think charter schools are so scary. I can see why some people are skeptical. I can see why they might not choose to send their kids to a charter school, but I can't seem to get my head around why people think charter schools are so scary.
So, let's say the worst is true:
Let's say that charter schools are not financially efficient because they take money away from their districts.
Let's admit that charter schools, on average, perform worse than their districts.
Let's admit that charter schools don't protect teachers the way unions do.
Is all of that really that scary? Charter schools educate less than 5% of all students in the U.S.
Do you know what is really scary to me?
Charter school opponents want more money, haven't produced results, but can't tell us how much money would be enough to help them fix their problems.
Charter school opponents fight charter schools rather than making their own schools better. Instead of fixing their own problems, they complain about all of the limitations they have.
Charter school opponents are more concerned with protecting teachers and teachers' unions than protecting and improving the lives of children.
Now, that's something to be frightened about.
On the other hand:
Charter schools do their best with the money they are given, even though they usually have to provide facilities with their per pupil revenues. In fact, the extra expense of paying for facilities out of per pupil revenue is one of the main reasons that charter schools pay teachers less money that other public schools do. The two biggest expenditures for a school system are salaries and facilities. Charter schools don't want to pay teachers less than the surrounding district schools. Most of the time, it's the only way that charter schools can meet their budget. If charter schools ultimately prove a failed idea, it won't be for lack to trying. Charter opponents on the other hand are guaranteed not to fail because their funding just keeps on flowing no matter how well or how poorly they perform. Now, that's a Halloween nightmare.