We (the RI legislature) increased the number of potential charter schools in the state last night, and as I mentioned on the floor, I’m still very concerned about charters’ creaming off of students who have more involved parents, and who are therefore predisposed to achieve at a relatively high level. I describe the problem in more detail over here, but the essential concern is that to get into a charter, a kid needs a parent to usher him or her through the process and who will pledge to be highly involved in his or her education. Ideally, every parent would be willing and able to be so committed to their kids, but we don’t live in an ideal world, and so kids without that sort of support can’t get into most charters.
H7450, to be heard before the House’s Health, Education, and Welfare Committee, addresses the issue by creating an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system. Charters that believe they can do a bang-up job of educating anybody and everybody should love the idea, as it provides them a chance to prove their mettle. And we ought be very concerned about those that express apprehension — a school that’s not willing to work the a true cross-section of the public school population should not be funded with public dollars.
An interesting idea, and not one I've heard before.