Initiative Measure No. 1240 would authorize up to 40 publicly funded charter schools that would be open to all students, operated through approved, nonreligious, nonprofit organizations, with government oversight; it would modify certain laws applicable to them as public schools.
The Editorial Committee expressed mixed feelings on this measure. While members agreed with the desire to improve education, especially for communities underserved by public schools, they felt the charter schools initiative was a step in the wrong direction.
The committee was concerned about what may be unintended consequences of using public funds for charter schools. Several said charter schools would not be as accountable as public schools. There was suspicion that the initiative was a veiled attempt to move toward privatizing public schools by siphoning funding from what some see as an already-underfunded public education system.
‘They’re not calling it what they should be calling it: franchise schools,” one person remarked. Another acknowledged that charter schools have made gains in some areas but attributed that to their smaller size and greater parental involvement, something that can be accomplished within the existing public school system.
“The things they do to improve outcomes for minorities can be done in public schools,” the person said.
“We need to do that in public schools, not foist the responsibility onto an independent organization.”
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