Here follows the eleventh entry in Fordham’s “Charter School Policy Wonk-a-Thon,” in which Mike Petrilli challenged a number of prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy analysts to take a stab at explaining why some charter sectors outpace their local district schools while others are falling behind.
Mike posed an extremely important question at the start of this wonk-a-thon: “How to build a high-quality charter school sector?”
With now over a million students on charter school waiting lists, we reformers ought to be seeking the answer to this question with a sense of urgency.
Simply stated, we need more choices in the type of education available to families. We need more children sitting in more seats in more schools made available by more choice. We need more public discussions about school choice, truthful and deeper conversations, in forums that matter.
We need more people—moms and dads, community groups, elected officials—calling for more options in education. And we need to give more power to parents over their own children’s education.
Unfortunately, too few activities in today’s education-reform movement, especially when it comes to charter schools, have focus primarily on expanding all options available to schoolchildren and expanding parents’ access to those options.
Many current policies, proposals, and practices artificially and unnecessarily constrain growth and deter investment in schools of choice. Some risk is inherent in innovation and growth. There is greater risk—especially to our nation’s children—from setting limits on the expansion of school choice.
It is time to push...