I’ve been frustrated for 20 years watching children be forced, based on ZIP code, based on parents’ income, based on the parents’ parents’ ZIP code and income, not be able to have access to the quality of education that they deserved en masse. And charter schools, especially high-quality charters, have certainly changed that in a positive direction. They’re not the panacea, but they’ve certainly changed that in a positive direction.
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I think my belief is really, first and foremost, that every child deserves a good public education — whether that’s public traditional or public charter.
In response to the NAACP condemnation of charter schools:
I think it’s weakhearted to say charters should be closed when millions of children and families — black children and families they purport to represent — are actually now benefiting. They now have a pathway that if they make good choices, they will actually get the type of education that can transform their children and their futures.
I think the notion of high accountability with all schools is great. If a school is not working and demonstrating the level of growth in student improvement, I think those schools should be shut down. Why not say, “We want a moratorium on bad schools, and we’re against bad schools, and we want to up state legislator accountability around what happens to underperforming public schools, whether they’re traditional, district, or whether they’re charter schools, and we want to find a way to get more funds into good schools, whether they’re parochial, traditional district, or charter schools”?
Some of the recommendations of shutting down low-performing charters, I’m on it. If the school is bad, we’ve gotta shut it down. Making sure that dollars are going towards children, I’m with that.
On the notion that the traditional district is a solution, I have 100 years of evidence that demonstrates that sending our kids back to traditional low-income public school is an absolute near-death sentence for that child’s future.
Read the full interview with Earl Phalen on charter schools by Emmeline Zhao at The 74
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