There were several compelling speakers Tuesday when the House Education Committee considered Senate Bill 8, the Republican proposal to dramatically increase the number of charter schools and to set up a powerful new charter school commission that would operate almost as a parallel school system.
One of them was Travis Collins, the principal of Meadowbrook Elementary School in Haywood County. Here is part of what he told the committee. It sums up the problems with the GOP charter plan very succinctly.
I don’t think any of us are opposed to the idea of creating and cultivating vibrant learning communities that meet the needs of all of our children. Unfortunately we do not believe that Senate bill 8 does that. Instead it would siphon tens of millions of dollars from traditional public schools and give access to money that our families raise through our various fundraising funds to charter schools.
Furthermore it would limit student access by failing to require transportation, food services or guaranteed enrollment for students with special needs as other publicly funded schools must provide.
I want to believe that the authors of Senate bill 8 crafted it to provide more opportunities for the children of our state. As someone who has devoted the last 16 years of his life to public education, I can tell you that it simply does not.