Comments on the Charter School Debate: US Department of Education knows charter schools are public schools
If you have not taken time to read our major charter school debate with UK professors Wayne Lewis and Martin Solomon, you owe it to yourself and Kentucky’s children to take some time to do so. The professors provide a good introduction into the issues of establishing charter schools in Kentucky from the viewpoint of both a strong proponent of charters and a sharp critic of these school choice options for parents.
Now that the professors have weighed in, I’ve been adding more to the discussion. Today, I want to deal with an incorrect comment repeatedly pushed by one of our debate members and which we hear far too often from the teachers’ unions and other opponents of charter schools. That incorrect assertion is that charter schools are not public schools.
The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth. Just because charters don’t fall in the “same old, same old,” union-dominated mold of traditional public schools does not mean they are not public schools.
While charters most definitely are different from traditional public schools, in the essential characteristics, charter schools are very much public schools. For example, they are ultimately subject to the same state regulatory bodies and their students must take state accountability tests. Children attend charter schools without paying fees, too, just like traditional public schools.
But, you don’t have to take my word for it. While I was putting together another blog on our debate, I noticed that even the US Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports clearly recognize that charter schools are public, not private schools.
Notice the line for charter schools. The US Department of Education’s NAEP report clearly lists them in the “National Public” domain.
So, even the US Department of Education does not buy the notion that charter schools are somehow private. That incorrect notion might sound useful to teachers’ union spokespeople who believe charter schools represent a threat to the union monopoly lock on traditional public school policies, but it’s just not right. And, degrading the value of charter schools isn’t right for our kids, either.