Voters support charter school reforms ensuring transparency and accountability


by Brian Washington

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A recent national poll is giving lawmakers new incentive to push for charter schools that are more transparent and accountable to students, parents, and the taxpayers who invest in them.

The poll shows overwhelming public support for measures addressing fraud, mismanagement, and poor student performance linked to charter schools. Improving teacher training and qualifications, preventing fraud, serving high-needs children, and making sure that traditional public schools are not hurt by charter schools also received strong support from those surveyed.

The survey, which involved 1,000 registered voters, was released by In the Public Interest (ITPI) and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). CPD also released a recent report alleging that tens of millions of dollars have been lost to charter schools nationwide due to fraud and mismanagement.

“$100 million in taxpayer dollars have been wasted and over 100-thousand children attend charter schools that are failing to meet the needs of children,” said Kyle Serrette, director of education at CPD. “It’s time for lawmakers to add stronger oversight provisions before more money is lost and more children are enrolled in failing charter schools.”

Some of the poll’s other key findings include the following:

  • 62 percent of voters want to hold constant or reduce the number charters in their area;
  • 63 percent rate the quality of education at public schools in their neighborhood as excellent or good;
  • 68 percent hold a favorable view of public school teachers; and
  • When it comes to problems facing K-12 education, school choice ranks last.

Overwhelming majorities, some as high as 89 percent, also indicated support for proposals contained in the Charter School Accountability Agenda being pushed by ITPI and CPD. The Charter School Accountability Agenda contains the groups’ solutions for making sure that charter schools fulfill their original purpose—to serve as incubators for new and innovative ways of teaching and learning that could later be adopted by traditional public schools. The proposals are based on standards outlined in the Annenberg Institute’s report for improving charter schools.

Charter school growth has increased exponentially in recent years but critics charge that lawmakers have done very little in developing standards to ensure that these schools give all students a quality education and are accountable to the communities they serve. Currently, more than 2 million students attend the nation’s more than 6,000 charter schools, which make up 6.3 percent of all taxpayer-funded K-12 schools.

Click here to tell your legislator(s) to adopt common sense standards for charter schools.

Reader Comments

  1. Charter schools receive my tax money therefore should be held to the same standards as public school. Charter schools will be the demise of quality education. They are an embarrassment to our society! Sadly we will experience the lack of thier education thur unqualified workers and remedial college courses. Charter schools are disgraceful and in my opinion dishonest!

  2. I’ve taught in both regular public schools and charter schools for quite some time now, and it’s biased, misinformation like this that gives people the wrong impression of charter schools. In the same breath, critics will say, “oh, charter schools should be held to the same testing standards [which they are, ignoramus], AND they should be innovative [i.e., “different” than regular public schools].” So which is it? Do you want them to be DIFFERENT or the SAME? Right now, by and large, charters are held to the same testing standards and pressures, which nearly forces them into the same, short-sighted testing paradigm as public schools. They are not realistically free to be innovative or risky as long as the one-dimensional, FOR-PROFIT TESTING INDUSTRY is setting the agenda for education in this country. Maybe this website should do some thinking and research about the testing industrial complex?

  3. Charter schools should b declared unconstitutional in PA. They serve the financial and/r political interests of billionaires,such as the Gates and Walton families, corporate hedge fnd owners investing in for profit charter schools, and politicans like the Bushies who have financial stakes in Charter schools and have made multi-millions via the taxpayers. The legislation come right out of the ALEC(American Legislative Exchange Council’s) playbook. Demand the repeal of Charter schools being funded by the American taxpayer. Shut them down forever!

  4. My elementary school is being affected by a for profit charter. My district’s current administration allowed a for profit high school charter school CVLCC to stay temporarily that eventually became permanent without our school’s feedback. Sneaky. We are dealing with increased traffic, public displays of affection, and our young children are hearing inappropriate language. The are added 12th grade next year and building a two-story building while students and staff are present. The only flyer given to our parents promised otherwise. Shame on this charter school. Taking public dollars. They chose students through interviews. How is this fair? Taxpayers should not be paying for this.

  5. All schools supported by public tax money should be under the STRICT governance of the people. If a person wants a private school, he needs to come up with his own money.

    Frankly, I’m amazed that privatization was allowed to happen on the backs of taxpayers. Hopefully they are now waking up to this shameful hustle.

  6. Charter schools only work to keep costs down for profit on teacher salaries and political control of teachers communities. They do not stack up equally nationwide.
    Competition it’s always the Republican solution till they have to pay up.
    Results show what a bad idea this is.
    Public education suffers which the Republicans don’t care about because their kids don’t go here or the service!

  7. Would it be a good idea for the Charter schools, who receive public funds, to be held to the same rules about testing that public schools are held?
    Why would they be given a pass?

  8. This proposal doesn’t go far enough. Public funds should go to public schools; not private companies. As charters fail and are exposed as frauds across the country it’s become clear that our corporate politicians have created a system that grants a license to steal to these “educational” entrepreneurs. Time to shut them down!

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