Commentary, Education

Editorial blasts ‘double standard’ on charter school accountability

Be sure to check out this morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record (“Coddling charter schools”). In it, the authors do a fine job of summing up the way state lawmakers have allowed the charter school experiment to stray from its original stated goal of creating “incubators of innovation” and how they’re currently attempting to do even more harm. As the editorial notes:

“A bill passed by the state Senate would lower standards for charter schools, allowing them to operate even if their students are performing worse than children in traditional public schools. The bill says that charter schools should be renewed for 10 years unless the percentage of their students who are proficient on end-of-grade tests is more than 5 percentage points worse than students in the local district.

This continues an unacceptable double standard in accountability for charter schools. Remember, the premise was that charter schools would provide sound educations for their students while leading the way in innovative approaches that might be models for all schools. Instead, they would be allowed to fall behind and hurt the cause of education across the state.

If that’s not bad enough, the bill also would eliminate the enrollment cap on two struggling online charter schools, Connections Academy and North Carolina Virtual Academy. Both are virtual schools that have consistently received “D” grades on the state’s performance report cards for schools, and their students are not meeting growth expectations.

The editorial rightfully calls for rejection of the proposed changes and concludes this way:

It’s hard not to think that lowering standards and expanding charters is related to legislators’ support of vouchers that give parents tax dollars to send their children to private schools. Both programs give lip service to “choice,” and both have contributed to a disturbing resegregation of schools….

Charter schools were supposed to improve education across the state, not undermine it. And they certainly weren’t supposed to roll back the progress that’s been made over the last half century by helping to resegregate the schools.

This misguided bill should not become law.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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