I just read an exceptionally candid lament from the charter school industry. In response to a summer of miserable news about the charter movement, Steve Zimmerman, Co-Director of the Coalition of Community Charter Schools states:
The truth is that there have been a slew of scandals…..concentrated in states that, in their haste to provide market-based reforms, did not provide strong charter oversight and failed to keep foxes out of the proximity of chickens.
But my greater concern is…
with the complaints against charter schools raised by civil rights advocates.
The author goes on to call out charter supporters on the harsh rhetoric that is used against public school advocates. He calls for ‘thoughtful engagement with those who find fault with us.’
Basic assumptions that competition not collaboration will improve options for helping children is at the core of the school reform movement. The limits of that argument have become clear. Over and over we have stated that dividing the funding for education among competing sectors only ensures that no sector has enough. Maligning critics in either sector seems to have been the only way to be heard, but the net result undermines the credibility of our entire educational system. We have had an extraordinary public education system in the United States. It needs tweeking. It needs better equity in whom it serves. It needs to respond to our changing social and economic realities. It does not need to be pulled apart. I commend Mr. Zimmerman for acknowledging that a thoughtful dialogue is in order. Read his article here.