Fast Focus: A couple of misunderstandings A couple of misunderstandings Lack of oversight Not the answer

October 14, 2012 

-- TOM SEIM, Richland

I spoke with a couple of retired teachers about Initiative 1240, the charter school initiative. Two primary complaints/observations were made by these former teachers. First, charter schools did not have to use certified teachers, and, second, charter schools could "cherry pick" the better students and expel under-performing students. I listened attentively, not knowing the answer to these two points. So I came home and did a little research (I looked up the text of the initiative). The initiative in Section n(ii) says:

"Require that teachers in public charter schools be held to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools;"

Section n(iv) reads:

"Require that public charter schools be free and open to all students just like traditional public schools are."

Clearly, the teachers are wrong on these two key points, at least in that it relates to the initiative. Also, charter schools will be held to the same standards as public schools. Personally, I am in favor of competition over monopolies. Competition tends to bring out the best ideas, while monopolies tend to protect self interests. This is not to say that public schools have done a bad job; all of my kids went through public schools, unlike many of our politicians' children, including President Obama. Oh, by the way, they all turned out to be fine citizens.

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