(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
I’ve been out and about this week, but our pals over at Education Sector have kept me entertained. On Carey’s too-cool for-school dissing of vouchers, I can’t help but wonder: what would stop an advocate of home-schooling from dismissing Kevin’s beloved charter schools on a broadly similar basis? After all, home-schooling is legal in all 50 states, charters in only 40. Many of those 40 laws, however, are dogs that will never produce more than a rounding error number of schools. They’re not bad, they’re just drawn that way:
Precise numbers are not available, but twice as many or more students may be home-schooling than attending charter schools, and the rate of growth has been faster. High quality outcome data is hard to come by, but anecdotally universities have come to view home-school students very positively. I haven’t seen the same said for charter schools yet, nor have we seen (yet) a charter school student crush the evil Sooners like the bugs they are after winning the Heisman Trophy.
Does it follow then that home-school supporters should be completely dismissive of charter schools? No of course not. The truth is that we don’t know what is going to take hold in K-12 reform, only that it is going to change.
Meanwhile, Andy Rotherham has delivered a brilliant column on the limitations of transparency that all but screams out at the end for a decentralized, self-regulating mechanism to hold schools accountable for results.
Ummm….you know….like parental choice.