In the relentless debate over charter schools, one factor is persistently given short shrift (“Toughening up on charter schools, finally,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 29). If charter schools are indeed public schools, then they should be required to act as such.
The truth is that charter schools demand public financing but resist public scrutiny for their practices. For example, unlike traditional public schools they aren’t required to admit all who show up at their door at any time of the year, and they aren’t forced to retain the most incorrigible students. As a result, they have a distinct advantage that makes comparisons with traditional public schools unfair.
All the scrutiny in the world will not matter if traditional public schools remain the schools of last resort. What good do transparency and accountability mean as long as charter schools operate essentially as private schools? I support parental choice, including charter schools, but they operate under a completely different set of rules.
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