Charter-challenged

According to the Superintendent of Denver, Tom Boasberg, "Charter schools are public schools, and they must be public schools in every sense of the word." That's why he wants Denver's charters to accept all students within their geographic boundaries. The idea isn't really new, surprising, or troublesome; most charters must take all students who apply and some even abide by boundary rules. But Boasberg's thinking behind the move is cause for concern. Boasberg says that "effectively" there should be "absolutely no distinction between charter schools and district schools." But charter schools were founded as an alternative to, not copycat of, district schools; their very structure is the result of being released from various organizational restraints, such as the length of school day and year, and central office decision-making, such as staff hiring and firing decisions, that in fact define district schools. Boasberg's proposal seems relatively harmless; but if this decision foreshadows others rooted in the goal of erasing the "distinctions" between charter and district schools, then we've got a problem.

DPS unveils plans for changes in schools,” by Jeremy P. Meyer, Denver Post, November 10, 2009

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