In the ‘90’s when charter schools were being authorized in a number of states and educators began getting wind of this “intrusion” into what had been their exclusive public school territory, I was a district administrator in Connecticut.
Generally, we met the news about charters with some confusion, but also with suspicion and even hostility. After all, the charters were getting money for each student they enrolled, instead of that money going to the “real” public schools.
It is important to understand that charter schools are real public schools and are thus free to all students, just like their home district facilities.
In California, the state has waived hundreds of pages of Education Code rules so that the charters can give freedom and flexibility to educators, empower professionals, provide parents with choices, create competition with regular public schools, and increase learning opportunities for low achieving students through innovative teaching methods.
Traditional public schools worried that charters would skim off the alleged cream of the crop and leave only those students in district schools who for various reasons evidenced less academic prowess and/or had a host of behavior problems.
While local charters are quite varied in their demographics, it appears to be true that the charters with reputations for high achievement have attracted a more middle-class population which does not necessarily reflect the range of demographics in regular local school districts.
Read the whole story at the Fresno Bee.