As you've probably guessed by now, one of my pet issues is education. I've covered the subject for nearly 20 years as a reporter and news commentator. I've taught for the last 10 at the high school, undergraduate and graduate level, and I consult for the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice. I am big believer that education is the great equalizer in that it gives a child from even the most impoverished background to have the opportunity to become a leader amongst men. Now with that said, when charter schools fail and close down, it's a good thing.
I'll give you a second to catch your breath.
Let me say this again, if a charter school fails and closes down, it's a good thing. Here's why: The purpose of a charter school is to give educators and teachers the freedom to craft a course of instruction that best fits the students. If a charter school isn't working and not doing the job, it can and more importantly should, be closed down. A recent report showed Indiana was not doing enough to close down charters that weren't performing. Now we can debate what constitutes failing and how long a school should be on the "failing list" before someone intervenes, but no one in their right mind in the choice community would ever advocate that a failing school be left open to miseducate children.
So closing a failing charter school is a good thing. That means the school was not doing its job. How many kids have gone through traditional public schools where a school was failing and instead of cries for accountability there was just simply crying. How many kids have walked across the stage with high school diplomas that they couldn't read? Or ended up having to take remedial classes in college because their received a poor high school education? Exactly.
Proponents of choice cannot make excuses when charters don't work. It is not uncommon for a charter to get students who are two to three years behind their peers, but get caught up by the end of the year. However, when the job doesn't get done, we cannot make excuses like our traditional public school counterparts. The children tend to come from the same neighborhood pool so they all face the same challenges and obstacles. Therefore, you have the same responsibility to provide a quality education. And if you don't get the job done, then you have to go. It is just that simple.
A failing charter school is not a bad thing, when it is closed down. It is unfortunate, however, that when traditional public schools fail, they tend to be like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going and going and going. And the sad part is, they waste our tax dollars and, more importantly, all but guarantee that children who are on a path to become second-class citizens will not be redirected.