This guest blog post is written by a former administrator at a charter management organization. Robb Snowe is a pen name.
Charter schools were born of the idea that, endowed with more autonomy and flexibility than traditional public schools, they would be free to experiment with different educational approaches, thereby serving as laboratories of innovation. Presumably, such experimentation would, at least in some cases, lead to better outcomes. The jury is still out on whether charter schools are, on the whole, “better” than district schools, but there is no question that some charters significantly outperform their district counterparts (and, of course, others compare much less favorably).
One could argue that CMOs are inherently involved in the business of “reform.”
To the extent that high-performing charter management organizations (CMOs) scale up by continuing to add schools, one could argue that they are inherently involved in the business of “reform.” After all, replicating a model that is different and, in some senses, “better” than the district model necessarily alters the educational landscape in a district, city, state, etc. The imprimatur might not have come from above (i.e., from government), but that doesn’t make it any less transformative.