As a parent, teacher, member of education advocacy organization Stand For Children, and member of the teachers union, I see charter schools as a distraction from improving education for all students.
Supporters say charter schools are places to try out new ideas that, if successful, could also be applied in traditional schools. But really, we already know what an effective education system looks like: smaller class sizes, extra instructional time for struggling students, and a systematic way to connect with parents and get help to families in chronic stress/crisis. Charter schools have already provided evidence of these principles.
Sometimes I think that we are like a person trying to lose weight. She knows it boils down to eating right, sleeping right and exercising right, but instead she spends years trying one diet after another -- to no avail. I'm afraid charter schools distract us from our focus on getting quality instruction to all students now. Instead of bringing charter schools into Washington, how about focusing our efforts on implementing what we know works and helping all children in all public schools?