Surprise! I was quoted substantially correctly in the Nov. 17 letter “GOP’s Hunger Games.” I did say, “I do have somewhat of a dream that ... we just make all the traditional public schools into charter schools.”
If teachers and parents knew the implications, they would be delighted. Charter schools are public schools. They do not charge tuition. They are completely funded by the government. They cannot teach religious doctrine. But they have huge advantages over traditional public schools. They are freed from most, but not all, state-imposed rules that strangle the creativity of schools and teachers.
Charter schools may and do pay excellent teachers more than the state and county salary schedules. Charter schools may and do vary the curriculum to fit the needs of their students. Students attend because that is where their parents want them (with a lottery if there is over-enrollment). That drastically increases parental involvement.
It would take this entire page to list all the stifling rules charters do not have to follow. Would it not be great for teachers to be rewarded appropriately for the work they do? If savings can be found in administrative functions, those savings can be paid to teachers. Unfortunately, charters get only about 80 to 85 percent of the total funding of traditional public schools. But we can change that.
State Rep. Paul Stam
The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 37 and is the speaker pro tem.