Letter to the editor: Charters are public schools too

Posted 10/4/17

The upcoming Douglas County School Board election is about two very different approaches to education. One group of candidates embraces the same tired old system, dominated by the teacher's union and …

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Letter to the editor: Charters are public schools too

Posted

The upcoming Douglas County School Board election is about two very different approaches to education. One group of candidates embraces the same tired old system, dominated by the teacher's union and its rigid compensation and promotion rules, that has failed so many of our students for decades. But the Elevate Douglas County candidates - Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Debora Scheffel, and Grant Nelson - believe parents should be allowed to continue choosing the best schools for their kids. About 20 percent of DougCo students now attend our 18 charter schools, which are public schools too and serve the intellectual curiosity and talents of students.  

The Elevate candidates will cater to the strengths and talents of each student as an individual, not the groupthink learning that often leaves kids bored and unengaged. Our DougCo test scores are going up in most areas. Some on the other side are terrified of the very idea of competition between charter schools and "traditional" schools. They accuse charters of cherry-picking the best students, stealing per-pupil money from "public schools," and using for-profit companies to destroy neighborhood schools. But none of this is true. Charter students are chosen by lottery, and because so many want to attend it can take a while to get in. Colorado law forbids a school district to grant a charter to a for-profit entity so there is no such thing as a for-profit charter.  And how can charter schools "steal" public school money when each charter is itself a public school?  

Rather than trying to squash parents' power to choose the best school for their kids, the anti-charter, pro-union side would do better to find out everything they can about the rich learning experiences charters are offering that are attracting so many students. And maybe they'd learn something themselves.

Denise Denny

Parker

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