Why don’t we have these in Wichita?

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.

Read The Key To Better Schools in the Washington Post for more.

3 Comments

  • Joe Williams -

    I would like to see vouchers, but didn’t the Wichita Government School District try the Edison Schools back in the 90’s? I faintly remember something like that.

  • One of the main factors about the success of charter schools is that the parents are likely much more involved especially as they have taken an affirmative step to advance their children’s education. Dedicated concerned parents are more important than anything else.

  • One reason there are no charter schools in Wichita is that the local school board has to approve the charter school idea. I have visited a few charter schools in surrounding districts and they do great work. Students in the Wichita area have needs that could be filled by a charter school. The right type of charter school could reach students and involve parents in such a way that is not possible in the present system, especially in a year when budget cuts are looming.

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