Friday, December 18, 2009

A lesson even in failure

A Boston Herald editorial with some good points about charters:

 A lesson even in failure

By Boston Herald Editorial Staff  |   Friday, December 18, 2009  |  |  Editorials

Opponents of charter schools are, of course, taking a certain perverse glee in the possibility that two charter schools are under threat of closure by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The staff at Springfield's Robert Hughes Charter School was found to have engaged in "pervasive cheating" during the 2009 MCAS tests. Lowell's Community Charter School, education officials say, has failed to show improved academic performance and is not likely to have its charter renewed.

The list of unsuccessful charter schools is short indeed. And the achievements of some 60 now operating are commendable. Seven applications for new charter schools are pending and thousands of students remain on waiting lists for those already open.

But there is a lesson even in the failures. The price of failure is that these schools will likely cease to exist. (Although some Lowell parents insist their charter school is still better than anything the city's school system has to offer.)

With a vote by the state board they may soon be history. Try going before the local school committee and demanding that a traditional public school be closed down - no matter how it may be failing its students - and see where that goes.

In traditional public schools there are few rewards for success (the unions have seen to that) and virtually no penalties for failure. Which helps explain why parents are lining up to get their kids into public charter schools.

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