It's the end of National Charter School Week, and education activists have been using the week-long opportunity to speak out against their countless problems and the damage charter schools can cause to our nation's public education system. Recently, The Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (AROS) and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) co-authored a report called "The Tip of the Iceberg: Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. Now a new poll from the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) and CPD shows voters are aware of and want to fix many of those problems in the charter school industry. The poll found New York voters overwhelmingly want to reform charter schools —and that despite charter school rhetoric, "school choice" comes in dead last on voters' list of education-related priorities.
From the report:
Huge majorities of voters favor proposals to strengthen transparency and accountability, teacher training and qualifications, anti-fraud measures, ensuring high-need students are served and making sure neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.
For instance, 88% of voters support requiring charters to conduct open board meetings, similar to a public school board, and 89% support requiring regular audits in order to find any instances of waste, fraud, or other abuse. Beyond these measures to increase transparency and accountability, voters also approve of other reforms that would increase regulation. 89% support requiring charter school teachers to meet the same training and educational qualifications as their public school counterparts. All of these reforms would be a step in the right direction in ensuring charter schools using public funds would be held to the same high standards as all other public schools.
Education advocates are getting the word out about these new facts and figures. AROS and its allies, including AQE, joined the #CharterSchoolsWeek tweet up this week to share quotes from parents and students who had important questions and concerns for charter schools in their communities. You can find the discussion here and see some of the graphics they shared below: