I take a look at the charter sector in a column for U.S. News and World Report today. A lot of good, plenty of room for improvement, and some hard questions emerging:
Are charter schools – independently operated public schools – at an inflection point? While education advocates fought about Common Core and teacher evaluations charter schools continued to grow and now serve 6 percent of all American public school students. This growth, which is even more pronounced in some cities and states, is highlighting both the promise and challenges of charter schooling.
At education conferences, among special interest groups and in the media the debate over charter schools is three to five years behind the current state of play. People are arguing about charters version 1.0 while version 2.0 unfolds around the country. The disconnect is bizarre: As public opinion about charters becomes much more favorable the historically bipartisan charter school issue is threatening to become partisan. Pundits question the sustainability of charter schools even as their numbers are poised to top 7,000, public finance in key states is becoming more equitable for charters and many of these institutions operate on public funding alone. And charter school performance is improving even as critics escalate their calls for charter moratoriums, bans or other steps to hobble the movement.
Here’s what is happening today…
You can read the entire thing here via USN’s “Report.” Tweet your inflection points to me @arotherham or tell me what’s surprised you most about charter schools.