by Georgia Charter Schools Association
By Dr. Monica Henson
I am delighted to welcome you to Charter Confidential, the Georgia blog for charters by charter leaders and supporters. This vehicle is intended to generate conversation and build support for the unique and wonderful innovation known as “the charter school.”
There is no shortage of online discussion of charter schools, so the obvious question is, “Why the need for this blog?” Quite simply, this blog is an effort to provide ownership of the conversation. Most online discussion in Georgia about charter schools comes from other venues, such as the “Get Schooled” blog hosted by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution; “Peach Pundit,” operated by Tanalach Media; or the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s blog, “The Forum.”
While there’s nothing wrong with charter discussions originating in those venues, what it has meant for several years is that some bloggers, and an awful lot of commenters, have had the opportunity to post misinformation about charter schools. Those of us who support charters have spent countless hours rebutting half-truths and non-truths that are posted in these blogs.
Starting our own blog is our effort to being directing the conversation, to publicize the good things that charter schools do, to answer questions, and to offer timely commentary on topics related to charters and charter schooling.
I am frequently asked by colleagues, the media, and the general public why I choose to work in the charter school arena. Sometimes this is accompanied by the inevitable (and incorrect) statement that “charter schools take dollars away from public schools.”
These types of statements compel me to correct them, and I will state here for the record that (1) charter schools ARE public schools and (2) in the case of a charter school authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission, like mine, or by the State Board of Education, the local districts actually make money on the deal. State charter schools don’t draw local property tax funds, so if a student in Atlanta, for example, enrolls with us in Provost Academy Georgia, the local school tax funds that student generates remain with the Atlanta Public Schools.
Having set the record straight (for what seems like the thousandth time) that charter schools are public schools, I’ll get to the point of why I work in charter public schools. I spent more than two decades working in traditional district public schools, interspersed with time in charter public schools. About four years ago, I decided to make the move into online charter schooling.
My choice to work in charter schools is rooted in my experience as a district public school teacher and administrator. I am firmly of the opinion that district public schools will not make substantive positive change on a large scale from within. There will have to be a series of disruptive innovations from outside the district system in order to spur meaningful change. Before the advent of charter schools, disruptive innovation was forced on the public school system via court orders, such as Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka to integrate the schools, or by legislative action, such as the No Child Left Behind act (which actually didn’t force schools to do anything unless their state accepts federal Title I funds to educate low-income students). Charter schools are a legislatively-authorized disruptive innovation.
Please come back and read our content, which will be refreshed regularly. When we open our Comments function, register and comment on what you read. Consider writing a blog post of your own, and submit to our editorial board. Whatever you do, be part of the conversation!