Jay Matthews from the Washington Post recently wrote a opinion piece shedding light on practices of some charter schools. Below is part of it:
The Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, Calif., is a public charter school. It must hold a random lottery when it has more applicants than vacancies. It is not supposed to be selective.
Yet somehow its average SAT score has risen to the top tenth of one percent among all public schools nationally. Less than ten percent of its students are low-income, compared to 40 percent in its city. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the school is allowed to ask (not require, its principal emphasizes) that every family donate $3,000 and 40 hours of volunteer time a year.
As a supporter of the charter school movement, I get grief from people who say that charters—independent public schools using tax dollars—are private schools in disguise. They are almost always wrong about that, but there are enough Pacific Collegiate situations to make me wonder if the rules need revision.
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So what do you think? Are charter schools too picky? Should charter schools be compared to traditional public schools? How can we ensure that children receive the best education no matter what school they attend?