How the Other Side Keeps Colorado Families from the Schools They Want

I’ve told you about examples of charter school success in Colorado and about Denver parents demanding more public charter school options. If you’re new to the scene, however, you might be wondering why there aren’t enough charter schools to meet the demands of parents (and kids like me).

In a great post, Colorado Charter Schools guru Denise highlights a teachers union attack on charter schools in Delaware, and then brings the topic closer to home:

Don’t expect the teacher’s union to make a frontal assault on charter schools — not when they’re so popular with parents and teachers. Speaking negatively about charter schools would never work.

Instead, “limit the number of charters,” which in Delaware means putting a moratorium on the number of approved charter applications and keeping the focus on districts’ losing money. Other strategies could include:

  • Limiting the number of authorizers, or eviscerating alternative authorizers;
  • Raising the application approval bar so high that almost no one can meet the requirements (all in the name of holding high standards, of course); and
  • Ensuring that heavy-handed authorizers retain total control in both the big things and little things.

Oh, but that might sound like Colorado and not Delaware…

Denise makes a great point. The teachers union and other establishment groups that would just as soon see charter school competition disappear can’t politically afford to make the “frontal assault.” But they’ve tried (and unfortunately succeeded in) their share of legislative and procedural flank attacks along the lines she describes. All effective ways to severely slow the growth of charter schools and to keep thousands of families on waiting lists rather than allowing them the quality educational options they seek.

If you’re interested in Colorado education issues, you really should be reading what Denise has to say. Bookmark her site for regular visits.