Revealing statistics on role of charters

To the editor:

How should I vote on Question 2? This was the question I was asked by a friend because I had taught in both regular and charter public schools.

To understand how to vote you need to understand why we have charter schools. Charter schools were the invention of progressives who wanted to create an education laboratory where they could re-create, innovate, and advance modern education beyond the stranglehold of bureaucracy for the purpose of improving public education for all students.

When this improvement didn't come, conservatives got behind charters because they saw them as a way to inject competition into public education. They reasoned that if regular public schools were forced to compete on a local level then they would have to step up their game and in the end education would be improved for all. Both the progressives and the conservatives had the same goal — improved education. The question is: Have charter schools improved education?

According to National Geographic reporting on the educational performance of nations as studied by the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the following world rankings were observed. In 2006, in reading, math, and science, the United States had a dismal average overall ranking of 27 out of the top 36 countries. Six years later we fell two spots to 29th place. Obviously, we were headed in the wrong direction but that doesn't tell the whole story of decline.


During that time our reading scores improved from 33 to 24 which offset grave losses in math and science. In math we slid from 27 down to 36 and in science we slid from 22 to 28. In a modern world that demands mastery of the sciences and math we were clearly headed in the wrong direction.

So, how should you vote? If you think that charter schools have improved education for all students then the charter experiment is a success and you should vote to expand the program. However, if you believe the statistics, that the existence of charter schools have done nothing to improve the public education system then you should vote a resounding "No" and redirect our politicians to pursue real solutions that don't suck vital resources out of our regular public schools.

Barry Grauman, Hancock