May 16, 2021

Carl J. Petersen: Will Charter Schools Fail If They Have To Follow The Same Rules As Public Schools?

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Carl J. Peterson is a special education advocate who keeps an eye on the LAUSD. In this post, he looks at a proposal that charter advocates say is “anti-charter,” yet does nothing more than hold charters to the same accountability standards that public schools deal with.

A proposed bill before the California Assembly would help to toughen the requirements on those who are auditing education institutions. In part, AB 1316 would require “charter schools to follow the same audit procedures and audit schedules, and use the same Standardized Account Code Structure, as school districts.” Auditors for both school districts and charter schools would be required to receive training and their work would be peer-reviewed. To ensure that the law was being followed, an Office of Inspector General at the California Department of Education (CDE) would be created.

From the CCSA web site

Charter School Capital says that these proposed new rules would “create parity between school districts and charter schools.” It also describes AB 1316 as being an “anti-charter school bill” claiming that “the financial impact would be incredibly harmful.” This organization, which provides loans to charter schools, does not explain why these same requirements are not “incredibly harmful” to their public school counterparts.

The charter school movement was built on the premise that these privately run organizations could deliver education more effectively than the public education system. The results have been less than spectacular with these publicly funded private schools not providing the results that were promised. Any improvements in outcomes are often achieved by cherry-picking students more likely to achieve than by actually providing opportunities for all students.

In a system based on competition, all players should have to compete using the same rules. Yet, groups like the California Charter School Association (CCSA) continuously fight to exclude charter schools from regulations meant to protect taxpayers and students. This benefits the adults running these schools and does not support the #KidsFirst philosophy that charter school proponents like Nick Melvoin claim to espouse.

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