Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why the double standard on charter schools v. public schools?

Dave asks a great question in Why do we hold charter schools to a higher standard? He starts with:

Charter schools must petition their chartering agency every few years (depending on the length of the charter granted) to have their charter renewed. This gives the chartering agency an opportunity to review the school's progress at raising achievement. A significant number of charter schools have lost their charters because of poor academic achievement.
I think this is a good thing. Schools should be held accountable for improving academic achievement. If a school has very low academic achievement, year after year, we owe it to the students to either fix or close the school. I think this is a positive aspect of charter schools, closing the ones that don't work.


Then later Dave turns to the question of why regular public schools get a pass:

As I said, I don't have a problem with these new "bars" for charter performance. What I find puzzling however is why we're only holding Charter schools accountable. Why are only charter schools required to improve achievement?

Clearly part of the reason for the double standard is government schools have entrenched bureaucracies and union support. Often when there is an attempt to improve a failling government school the reformers are attacked as being anti-education. The truth is many reformers are more pro-educatio that almost any union leaders.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education


Eric H said...

And don't forget the public school mantra against private: "but they get to pick and choose their students".

This is exactly what the public system does when charters are finally (if ever) allowed to operate. They usually will permit only the very worst performing districts and students to become the baseline students for the charters - usually at about 60% of the public school per-student funding level. It then becomes the teacher union's life mission to point out how the charters fail with the public system's most neglected students with 40% less funding, even if the students show improvement over their miserable past.

Don't you think homeschoolers should get the same free pass as public schools if only 60% of your kids actually graduate? Why is it that every single homeschool student is expected to pass?

Henry Cate said...

I do struggle with the double standard.

Someone will point out that there is a homeschooler, some where, who struggles with basic academics, and claims that homeschooling doesn't work.

But every year our public school system graduates hundreds of thousands of students who can't read or write.