Lisa Gordon Stella: Grow charters slowly

September 17, 2013 

Grow charters slowly

Exponential charter school growth is not the antidote for what ails our public education system. We need high-performing public schools: Schools with high expectations consistently challenge all students so they can become engaged, productive citizens.

While high-performing charters are now an integral part of our public educational system, empirical evidence does not show that charters guarantee increased student achievement.

Unbridled charter school proliferation will exacerbate, not fix, the challenges facing our educational system.

If North Carolina is determined to grow charters, it must be deliberate and thoughtful.

New charter approval should consider the needs of the community being served to ensure that existing schools – traditional and charter – are not rendered unsustainable. Failing to consider community need will dilute education dollars, undermine progress in student achievement and jeopardize our public education system.

It’s time public school systems and existing charters work together to assess community need and communicate those needs during the charter approval process.

Coming together presents an opportunity to better shape our educational system, ensuring all students are served well.

Let’s not forget, charters were intended to be one part of a diverse public school system, not its replacement.

Lisa Gordon Stella

Vice p resident, Maureen Joy Charter school board

Durham

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