I found the article titled “AACS opposes sale to charter school” in a recent edition of the Star Beacon to be more of an advertorial for a public institution than a news story. To be clear, my wife and I are financial supporters of AACS by way of federal, state and local taxes. We have always gone out of our way to directly support programs at the school through voluntary means with both time and money, because children deserve to have the opportunity to succeed. We do this despite that fact that we home school and pay out of pocket for educational supplies while also sacrificing a second income in order to provide the best possible education for our children. While we have a choice and can make that sacrifice, not all parents are as fortunate.
One would think there would not be a market where the concept of choice would be more important than in a market that is compulsory. That is to say; if children shall be educated under command of law, then that funding should not be monopolized. Public funding for institutions of higher learning is not monopolized by the public sector. Students are able to use grant dollars to attend either public or private universities, and despite that, state schools retain the lion’s share of students and higher education flourishes in both sectors.
Charter schools and the charters they produce as their governing documents, pave the way for a more direct and transparent contract between the school and the parent. They permit teachers and parents to employ innovative strategies and disciplines that have been shown in many circumstances to better meet the needs of some students ... strategies and disciplines that cannot be employed under the rigidity of centralization and top-down regulation. And while it is often said, “Charter schools are not held to the same standards as public schools,” I would assert for many parents, the fact they are held to different standards is precisely the point. Charter schools have the liberty to teach differently.
While the school board and administrators are concerned with keeping the education market as consolidated as possible for obvious reasons, I would suggest instead that they should embrace the importance of free choice, of innovation and of cooperation. Through an open dialogue and synergy, the district and charter schools could stand to benefit from one another, but more importantly, benefit the students that they serve.