Friday, August 19, 2011

Charter School Law

Today, Governor Markell signed HB 205 into law. The bill increases the oversight and accountability of charter schools. This is the first change in Delaware charter school law in the 14 years since the schools were established in the state.

The Governor said, "Charter schools empower parents to choose the school that best fits their child's needs. But the promise of charter schools is not just added flexibility - it is added flexibility coupled with heightened accountability."

Perhaps another way of phrasing this is the old saw: To whom much is given, much is expected.

Certainly we have given charter schools a lot. They have the exclusivity of private schools, but with all the public funding (except capital construction)of your local community public school. Additionally, charters have been given unmitigated praise by education reformers across the country. The lavish praise has been reinforced by an unquestioning media.

Intentionally deaf ears and blind eyes ignore research showing that when comparable populations are examined, charter schools do no better and even worse in some endeavours than traditional public schools.

The new Delaware law will require charters to disclose finances, to come under the governance of a state Financial Recovery Team if they are in fiscal trouble, have criminal background checks for operators, and evaluate the impact on community public schools before expanding or replicating.

The Governor worked closely with DSEA, legislators, and charter schools to make this legislation happen. Congratulations to the Markell Administration for the courage to do it, and the smarts to do it right.

1 comment:

  1. Tim,

    This is unreal The Markell administration and the DOE lay down on HB 119 for years, execute the charter school application and review processes haphazardly at best.... then two public messes happen, and the best we get is the DSEA, the Governor, the DOE, and select legislators patting themselves on the back over legislation that literally legislates common sense and holds charter schools to the standards already mostly laid out for them?

    Is it any wonder our teacher's union needs so much help helping its members?