“For decades now, charter schools have been positioned as the cure to all that ails the public school system. Supporters point to them as the gold standard. What we fail to acknowledge, however, is that for every successful KIPP or Democracy Prep, there are mediocre or struggling charters that aren’t improving outcomes. There are leaders and laggards in the charter movement, and many observers choose not to make the distinction.
Moreover, at best, charter schools are a strong value-add to the public school tapestry. Currently, about 4 percent of public school students are enrolled in charter schools. Even if we doubled the number of students in charters tomorrow, that would still leave more than 90 percent of public school students in traditional public schools. The Holy Grail of school improvement simply cannot be based on a type of school that 95 percent of students don’t attend, and likely will never have access to. . . .
The time has come to turn away from the divisive, us-vs.-them approaches of past policy fights. Instead, we must work together with educators to improve our public schools. We must focus on options and opportunities that can have real impact on all our children, not just a select few. And we must do so in a way that improves teaching and learning for all.
Otherwise, we are merely tinkering around the edges, seeking to set the next boundaries for the next fight. Our kids, our communities, and our nation deserve far better than such rhetorical posturing.”
–Patrick Riccards (aka Eduflack), “It’s Time for Reformers, Educators to Work Together” on EdWeek