One charter board

July 1, 2013 

Sure, it’s hard to believe. In this no-holds-barred session of the General Assembly, with Republicans laying waste to Democratic programs and barreling on with curbs to regulation and cuts in education, compromise has seemed to be a word wiped from the GOP dictionary.

But they must have come around with a deal reached to abandon the very bad idea of a semi-independent governing board for charter schools. It would have created essentially a separate public school system, surely at the peril of the conventional system that has worked well. But Sen. Jerry Tillman of Randolph County agreed to a compromise to set up a new charter school advisory council. Tillman thinks charters will be OK with a Republican, Bill Cobey, now as head of the State Board of Education. Cobey had opposed the breakaway of charters, rightly so.

There remain concerns that the push for more independence for charters, which are funded by taxpayers but free (in the name of innovation) of some rules regarding curricula and teacher certification, will continue. That is a wasteful, partisan and ideological dispute that distracts attention from the need to bolster all public schools.

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