Jim and Fawn Spady, the creators of the Washington Charter School Resource Center (WCSRC), and the President and Family Council Leadership of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants are champions for parental choice.
During a meeting with the both of them, we discussed the importance of parental choice and the misconstrued messages that come along with choice in education.
First is the claim that charter schools rob funds and students from regular public schools. In reality, charter schools are public schools. Even written in Washington State law is the name charter public schools. Charter public schools are funded based on student enrollment, just like other government-run public schools. Charter public schools do not add any new costs to the state’s public education system. They simply move funding accompanied to a student from one public school to another based upon the choices made by families. Like any public school, charter public schools depend on a combination of federal and state funding. However, contrasting from local district schools, charter public schools do not receive support from local levies.
Second was the perception that charter public schools undermine our society’s commitment to educational excellence for all children by promoting inequalities of opportunity. The weight of evidence pushes the needle in the other direction: Charter public schools are free and open to all students, and the schools are not permitted to hand-pick or categorize against any learner for any purpose. Charter public schools actually serve a larger share of the disadvantaged communities.
The American Center for Transforming Education is a big supporter of parental choice as we believe the education of the child is a fundamental responsibility of the family. But with the current system, many families are left behind, especially those with a lower socioeconomic status. Supporting parental choice is the socially just thing to do. It promotes equity and advances opportunity for every child.