Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Charter Schools Remain a Focus

There is an interesting article in The Washington Post this morning (here) about tensions between charter schools and traditional (neighborhood) schools.

The specific focus of Bill Turque's reporting is funding disparities in Washington. Whereas charter schools with soaring enrollment have to improvise to find library, gym, and auditorium space, traditional schools (including those with declining student populations) have received major upgrades in the past few years:
Even as charter schools soar in popularity, D.C. officials have often relegated these schools to second-class status, maintaining funding policies and practices that bypass charters and steer extra money to the traditional city school system. D.C. officials contend that the differences are not inequities but the hallmarks of a different educational model.

While traveling last week, I read articles in the Atlanta and Memphis newspapers about debates related to charter schools in those jurisdictions.

In Atlanta, for instance, there is significant political debate about a proposed state-level entity that could authorize charter schools in order to bypass reluctant local school boards. 

551. As the charter movement continues to expand, will the tension between charter schools and neighborhood systems increase?  Are there any new responses/defenses to the claim that charters will lead to a "two-class" public school system?  The standard pro-charter argument is that the competition introduced into the system will cause the neighborhood schools to likewise improve. I gather from the various local debates that the issue is far from settled.

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