The Daily News editorial on charter schools (“Frankencharters“) includes scary Halloween analogies but does a disservice to genuine efforts to improve education in Philadelphia. Referring to charter schools as “fiscal monsters” flatly ignores that charters spend and receive fewer dollars per student than district schools.
Despite significantly less funding, Philadelphia charters outperformed district schools on the 2012-13 State Performance Profile. Charters actually operate with maximum accountability, since poor academic performance or financial mismanagement will result in closure – a fate that rarely, if ever, befalls district schools. Will the Daily News similarly refer to failing district-run schools as “monsters” that need to be “reined in” when the next cheating scandal occurs?
It should come as no surprise that charters receive their funding from school districts, since charters are public schools, too. That so many families have opted for charters reflect their success – it illustrates the overwhelming demand for expanding school choice.
Continued oversight and transparency is an appropriate policy goal for charter and district-run schools alike – especially in light of the closure of Walter Palmer, which is indeed devastating to the students and families involved. But the unique circumstances surrounding Walter Palmer do not justify demonizing largely successful charters citywide.
The 34,000 students currently languishing on charter waiting lists illustrate the urgent nature of school reform. Denying them more educational options – just to prop up the failing status quo – does not serve the best interests of Philadelphia.