Just 12 years later, economically disadvantaged students — defined as those eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches — in secondary charter schools are twice as likely to score at advanced or proficient levels on math and reading tests as their peers in traditional public schools, based on federally mandated national tests.
Wow. That sounds like something we could use in Wichita. Charter schools, wherever they are allowed to exist, often produce results like those described above. Why?
Autonomy is the linchpin of the charters’ success. Independence lets charters control their own academic programs, enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of their students. It allows schools to specialize in certain subjects and to hire teachers who will do the best job for the children. This freedom to innovate enabled charters to pioneer longer school days, weeks and years and to find new ways for parents to get involved.
Charters schools are criticized by the existing education establishment because some fail. The difference between charters and regular public schools is that charter schools, when they fail, go out of existence. That doesn’t happen with regular public schools.
Do we have charter schools in Wichita? No. There are very few in Kansas. Our state’s charter school law is so stacked in favor of the existing public school monopoly that it’s rare for anyone to attempt to form a charter school. The existing education bureaucracy doesn’t want them, and they can block their formation.