There Are Charter Schools Run By the Community and For the Community

Three decades since the passage of the first charter school law, this movement of extreme promise has fallen out of favor with many of its original supporters.

A growing list of educators, civil rights leaders and others have accused our schools of profiteering, harsh discipline, inequitable enrollment and failure to operate in the public interest. While much of the criticism is fueled by self-interest and misinformation, the charter community has provided critics with too much of the ammunition that has been used against it. And the brightest lights in the movement have been sidelined.

The public hears almost exclusively about large, national charter organizations, as if the two-thirds of all charters run by independent organizations don’t exist. The independents are local, community-centered charter schools unaffiliated with large management groups.

As community organizations, these schools strive to be transparent and collaborative in their practices, actively recruit kids with learning challenges and aspire to provide the kind of student-centered education for which parents traditionally pay great sums of money.

And the truth is that they perform their work diligently and under the scrutiny of regulators and auditors.

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