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What We Should Ask About Charter Schools

In the News | September 16, 2019

What would our school system look like if charters took the place of district schools? In his new column for Forbes, MƒA President John Ewing tackles the topic of charter schools, questioning if charter schools are part of the education system we want for our country. In his piece, Ewing says that to make progress on the charter issue, we need to start talking about, and agreeing on, some larger matters. Here’s an excerpt:

“There are shifts in messaging that portray charters as a new kind of permanent, market-driven school system. What would this market-driven system look like? What happens to those students who are forced out or expelled from their schools? Who makes decisions about curricula and practices? Who controls admissions? Who protects special-needs students? What role would private schools play in such a market-driven system?”

Ewing reminds us that although both arguments for and against charter schools have validity, schools that can act not only as alternatives to public schools but also as testbeds for innovation would be more than sensible. Yet most charters are far from this ideal. 

“Charters make little effort to interact with district schools to spread ideas… they are not always high-quality alternatives for desperate parents. Some charters are run by people who are uniquely unqualified. Some are unstable and quickly close, leaving families worse off than before. And as for miracles schools, they are invariably debunked.”

Read Ewing’s full Forbes column on charter schools here.