To the Editor:
Scott Reeder’s Nov. 14 column in the Northwest Herald about charter schools requires the reporting of a few of the many facts his column omitted in his profuse praise of privatizing our public schools.
First of all, charter schools are public only in the sense that they receive public funding. They are almost always privately owned and managed with virtually no local oversight. With public schools, the citizens of the community have a say in the schools through their elected board of education. This foundation of democracy does not exist with most charter schools.
Reeder’s assertion that “charter schools have proved to be a boon for students” is not supported by rigorous studies reported over the past decade. The fact is that charter schools are not achieving the results school reformers are reporting. Advocates of privatizing the public schools are driven by their ideology of free enterprise, using the nation’s children as a means to sup at the taxpayers’ trough.
Reeder attempts to perpetuate the myth that parents should have a choice because their public schools are failing to educate the children. This is false, but many believe it because they keep hearing it repeated. The research evidence shows that when test scores are adjusted for children in poverty, American students score as well as or better than students in other industrialized nations. But poverty is an issue the school reformers choose to ignore despite the evidence of its harsh impact on children and learning.