An OD editorial to agree with: Our view: More school choices better for everyone supports the idea of a charter school in the area that is being proposed by Dr. Anthony-Lopez Williams to integrate education therapy for students with special needs or behavior issues. The response from the Utica Public Schools, of course, is to oppose it because money would be taken out of the public school system budget and put into the charter school.
The basic concept of charter schools should raise taxpayers'concerns because their duly elected school boards will be required to fund the charter schools in their areas, but will have no authority to control how that money is spent since charter schools are answerable only to the state. This sets up the possibility that individuals with good Albany connections will use them to obtain charters to benefit themselves at local taxpayer expense.
Meanwhile, taxpayer oversight of regular public schools has NOT ensured that taxpayers get value for their dollars. Public Schools take more money than ever to produce unacceptable results. This has happened because those with vested interests in public schools (teachers, their unions, administrators, their unions, other school employees, their unions, school architects, school construction firms, textbook publishers, computer manufacturers, and other special interests) have gerryrigged the system with rules, regulations, licensing certificates, PERB, "best practices," "higher" standards, ruberics, etc., that the taxpayers have no effective control.
Charter schools at least will give parents another choice, increasing parental control if not taxpayer control.
But why stop there? If a set amount of public dollars were simply made available to parents to spend on educating their children, don't you think that they would seek out the best value for their bucks? That, in fact, has happened in the District of Columbia, which has some of the worst public schools in the nation, but also has a voucher program giving parents choice.
Of course, the "vested interests" have asserted their power and Congress recently voted to end the program.
It's time for people to demand that their government serves them rather than the special interests who are profiting. Demand more school choices. Demand charter schools. Demand school vouchers.