Editor’s Note: For another perspective, see Point: Putting Students Before Profits.
Charter schools are still public schools and prioritize the learning needs of each student. As such, we oppose the term “for-profit” charter schools because it is misleading. It is true that about 10 percent of these innovative, tuition-free, student-centered public schools contract with companies for management functions. This does not make the schools themselves “for profit” entities.
Many have questioned whether a public charter school that contracts with a management company should receive federal funding. To this we say the answer is clear. Charter school students are public school students and deserve equitable access to federally funded programs that aim to support them. A student with a disability is entitled to free and appropriate education under federal law, regardless of the tax designation of the company that provides human resource support, accounting or facilities management services for their public school. The same goes for students from low-income families who are entitled to Title I funding.
Distinguishing charter schools from other public schools and threatening to jeopardize their federal funding over the types of partners they work with is unfair, detrimental, and puts millions of students at risk of losing all of their federal funding simply to because of the type of public school they attend. – a public charter school.
Let us also set the record straight for public schools that contract with for-profit companies. They all do. Whether it’s for meal services, transportation, textbooks, recruiting, building maintenance, or any of the hundreds of other things needed to run a school, public schools often turn to businesses. for-profit for help. It is not uncommon for district public schools to outsource some or all aspects of management, programs, testing, transportation, facilities management, payroll, IT support, etc. It is an unfair double standard to penalize charter schools for doing the same. . And it must end.
Charter schools are held to higher standards, and often with fewer resources than district schools. The National Alliance believes in quality, accountability and transparency – not only to the state and the licensing body, but most importantly to the families and communities that a school serves. This should be true for all public schools, both district and charter.
Charter schools are an important part of the American educational landscape serving 3.5 million students – two-thirds of whom come from low-income, black or Latino communities. A recent report from the National Alliance indicates that enrollment in public charter schools increased by 7% in the 2020-2021 school year. In total, nearly 240,000 new students have enrolled in these unique public schools, while 1.4 million students have left their district public schools.
The millions of families who send their children to charter schools – and those who wait for their chance to send their children there – prioritize student achievement and success. Schools that are doing well for their students and communities should stay open and those that do not need to close. This is the key feature that sets public charter schools apart from other public schools – and this is exactly what happens in the public chartered sector – regardless of the tax designation of a company that may provide administrative support. .
Charter schools achieve results with the freedom and flexibility to design an education that responds to students where they are and prepares them for success in college, in their careers and in life. This year, 24 of US News & World Report’s Top 100 High Schools were charter schools, although charter schools made up only 7% of public high schools. Stanford’s CREDO found that in urban charter schools, low-income Latino students earned 48 extra days of math and 25 extra days of reading, while low-income black students earned 44 extra days of reading and 59 days. additional math per year.
Families are sending a clear message: they want more public school options for their children’s education and they want results from public charter schools. Our leaders must not only listen to families, but also take action and strive for the continued funding and growth of these schools.