This week in school choice: Doing battle over charter schools

Debates over school choice accountability and regulations often become surrogate battles over whether states should have, or expand, options in the first place. This week saw several of these fights flare over charter schools.

Democrats in Philadelphia’s mayoral race couldn’t agree on whether they support charter schools, but they almost all seemed to agree on imposing a moratorium. In Newark, the city council took a different path, passing a resolution to oppose a bill that would limit charters.

An effort to clamp down on state-approved charter schools in A- or B- rated districts was defeated in Louisiana. A district judge there also ruled 33 charter schools authorized by the state are constitutional.

Differences in minority and special needs enrollment between charter schools and public schools had one Idaho teacher wanting a moratorium on the state’s brand new charter school system.

Charter schools in Ohio aren’t performing as well as charters in other states, so Republicans and Democrats are looking to overhaul their system of oversight. However, virtual charter schools feel some of the rules aren’t appropriate.

Unexpected closures of charter schools in Florida have left legislators looking for ways to reign in unqualified operators. One Florida city is trying to take matters into its own hands by developing policies that may restrict new schools.

charter school kitten.

This week, a Connecticut columnist played the kitten card on charter schools.

Charters are here to stay, so the goal of these debates should be to ensure the system meets the needs of families, including those who fill charter school waiting lists in search of new options. There’s more at stake here than some imaginary kittens’ lives.

Meanwhile…

President Barack Obama gave remarks on poverty and education at Georgetown University that provoked a strong reaction from conservatives, libertarians and school choice supporters.

Quotes of the Week:

“We have thousands of children in Newark alone who are on waiting lists to attend charter schools. The last thing the legislature should be doing is limiting their growth.”  – , Newark City Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr.

“So, it’s in our hands. Our friends—Governor Cuomo, so many assembly Democrats, and the Republicans—tell me they can’t get it done unless we back them and hold them as accountable as the opposition does. And, it’s not us bishops who have the clout, they whisper, but our parents and teachers You’re the ones who vote! They report to you!” – Cardinal James Dolan, proclaiming efforts in the New York Assembly to pass an Education Investment Tax Credit are not over.

We, for out part, report to you. Send your points and counterpoints to tpillow[at]sufs.org and pgibbons[at]sufs.org.

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