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Charter schools and public accountability

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By Kara Kerwin
The Baltimore Sun
March 19, 2015

The charter school bill currently in the Maryland General Assembly would not permit schools run by “private institutions” (“Miller urges senators to pass Hogan’s charter bill,” March 17).

Rather it would allow publicly accountable charter schools governed by boards that apply responsible oversight and support.

Maryland’s current charter school law is one of the weakest in the nation. The modest changes in Mr. Hogan’s proposal would preserve public accountability while enabling charter schools to play a more central role in improving student outcomes and closing the achievement gap that has plagued Maryland for too long.

Contrary to what union officials claim, charter school teachers would not be “exempt” from organizing. Instead, teachers would have a choice — a choice they currently do not have — as well as freedom to decide who represents them on labor issues.

Greater freedom treats educators with the professionalism they deserve and creates stronger learning environments. Charter schools are public schools that answer first and foremost to parents, and this bill does nothing to diminish that critical accountability.

Kara Kerwin, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president of the Center for Education Reform.