The Albany PTA’s opposition to charter schools isn’t all that surprising. National and state PTAs have often sided with anti-charter forces. In fact, the PTA joins hands with other members of the education alphabet soup on most issues, not just charters. We take this for granted, but it’s actually a bit odd. Sure, there are lots of issues on which public school parents, teachers, and administrators have aligned interests — like ensuring adequate school funding and facilities. But on other issues, like school choice, interests get more complicated. Lots of parents clearly want more options. Others are satisfied with what they have, or at least prefer to work with their existing school rather than opting out. Yet to the extent the possibility of “exit” increases the power of “voice,” even the stay-put crowd has something to gain from choice. For PTAs everywhere that are disappointed with the influence they wield — that’s something to consider.
–Guestblogger Bryan Hassel, member of National PTA Unit #00005908