Dov Rosenberg is an experienced public school teacher in North Carolina.
Some of my issues with charter schools include:
They benefit by serving families with the most parental involvement because it requires the knowledge and time to apply to a charter. This further concentrates families with less parental involvement in the traditional public schools.
They also do not have to provide school lunches or transportation, which can weed out the poorest families who rely on both.
They can also “counsel out” students, sending them back to public school just before testing to artificially inflate test scores.
They can also market their services to specific populations, and charters are often split either for those more fortunate or less fortunate, contributing to an alarming rise in re-segregation across our country.
The charter system in NC has no county guidelines or local oversight of any kind. The majority of charters in my county serve 90% or more white students, while the public school I teach at, in the same community, has 25% white kids. And there is a charter school down the road that serves 90% students of color.
Teachers in charter schools do not have to be certified teachers.
Accountability at charter schools is virtually nonexistent. In a public school, if a teacher is doing wrong, you can go to the principal. if the principal is unresponsive, you can go to an assistant superintendent, superintendent, local Board of Education, and finally, the local newspaper. Families at charter schools can only appeal to the charter school board, whose members are not duly elected by the public (and the press very rarely reports on failing charter schools).
Parents who run into difficulties at charters usually move their kids back in the public schools. At my school, we get about 15 kids per year from parents who left charters (for something better).
In terms of effectiveness, Stanford University has published two studies that show that charters are no more effective than traditional public schools despite their many advantages. The only oversight charters have in NC is an office of three people at the department of public instruction, and their real mission is to support the charter schools.