NPR Explains Charter Schools
Claudio Sanchez at NPR decided to kick off March with a charter school explainer, and boy did March come in like a big, fuzzy, lamb. Sanchez decided that the best way to get a fully rounded explanation of charters was to talk to three charter advocates, a journalistic technique akin to interviewing the NRA about guns or the RJ Reynolds company about cigarettes. The resulting piece assures us all that charter schools are pretty awesome with no real down sides at all. Also, guns are basically freedom sticks and cigarettes can help you stay healthy.
Sanchez talked to Ted Kolderie (Education Evolving, and longtime charter law developer), Greg Richmond (National Association of Charter School Authorizers), and Nina Rees (National Alliance form Public [sic] Charter Schools). And together, they hit all the PR points one would expect in a charter puff piece.
Let's follow along with Sanchez'a Q&A format.
What is a charter school?
Kolderie notes that charters create a "two-sector system." One is a traditional centrally managed district, while the charters "are independent, not owned by a central school board." Which is to say, not owned by the taxpayers-- even though taxpayers foot the bill. Charter schools are, among other things, a system by which taxpayers buy a school system, but don't end up owning anything.
He also notes that charters are subject to performance, which is only kind of true in some states that have some accountability rules on paper. But some states have weak rules, and some states, CURMUDGUCATION: NPR Explains Charter Schools: