Saturday, November 26, 2005

Letter to the Editor from a school board member sinking his own ship

Charter schools accountable to the market
Columbus Dispatch
Saturday, November 26, 2005

Charter schools and accountability are once again making the headlines. A common claim is that charter schools are not held to a high level of accountability, but that claim is not based on a complete understanding of market forces.

Charters are held to the highest level of accountability: the market. A charter school that fails to serve a student or parent will soon see the child transferred elsewhere.

In addition, a charter school that does not satisfy the wants and desires of a sufficient number of parents and students is bound to fail.

Parents have a host of reasons for placing their children in charter schools. In the school market, safety, delivery of instruction, rigor, academic concentration, etc., may trump tested outcomes.

That parents are utilizing charter schools shows that they believe that their children will be best served at these schools. One must never lose sight that parents seek the best for their children. But not everyone adheres to such a view.

As evidenced by his Nov. 16 letter, Tom Mooney, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, along with other opponents of charters, appears to believe that he knows what’s best for every child, under every circumstance.

This is quite an authoritarian and omniscient stance to take.

Charter-movement opponents also appear to fear the market. But why would they if they are indeed providing a higher-quality product?

Member Olentangy Local Board of Education
Lewis Center
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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