The end of public schools | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The end of public schools

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2006 at 10:51 AM

The U.S. Education Department announced a $7.4 million three-year grant to Arkansas  to create more charter schools. You can bet this will produce this -- more private schools run with public money. This is now the preferred alternative to vouchers, which are a no-go politically, but it accomplishes the same purpose. The Republican administration has pumped a billion dollars into the end-run on public schools and the Waltons are sinking their billons into supporting the idea as well.

Yes, in theory, charter schools are public schools. But oversight isn't nearly so rigorous and the vaunted new ideas they bring to the table are mostly the same old thing -- a desire to gather "people like us" in a setting safely removed those bad old public schools with their behavior problems and diverse enrollment in sometimes tough neighborhoods.

So far, no study yet has shown that the supposed advantage of "choice" and "flexibility" have produced an education experience, on balance, any better in charter schools than you find in those stodgy old real public schools. In Arkansas, charter schools have had a number of problems, particularly financial. Readers on the Blog have perhaps noted a firestorm around the LISA Academy in Little Rock, created over the objection of the Little Rock School District. More on that subject is yet to come.


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