Check the original charter-school blueprint.
Specs say "choice for all."
Photo by Will Scullin
As originally conceived twenty years ago, charter
schools were to offer alternatives to the traditional public-school model—maybe
Betsy wants a school that focuses more on drama than the football team or Davey
wants one that prioritizes STEM learning. Somewhere along the way, however,
many states restricted charters to “high need” communities awash in disadvantaged
kids and failing schools. As a result, 70
percent of charter students are on free or reduced-price lunch, and most charters
are urban. But that’s starting to change. Greater numbers of suburban students
are venturing into the halls of charter schools—central Ohio alone had more
than 10,000 suburban and rural students attend charter schools last
year—sparking what Fordham’s Terry Ryan dubbed a “second generation” of
charters. And it couldn’t come fast enough. Like their urban counterparts,
kiddos in suburbia deserve the ability to choose schools that are right for
them. Just ask any of the original architects of the charter theory.