Charter schools are changing the face of education in America, and whenever change starts to happen, debate tends to follow.
Most charter school administrators and educators are used to hearing a wide spectrum of questions and concerns – some better informed than others.
Ember Reichgott Junge, charter school advocate and author of Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story , has been touring the country talking about her book, and addressing common charter school myths and misperceptions including those around charter school funding. A story in the Minnpost last week highlights specific misconceptions that Junge frequently discusses: 1) Charters divert money from school districts
One of the most heated, and complex, issues in the charter school movement is whether public money should follow the student, which is the way the system is currently designed, or whether the students should follow the public money. “The question here is who gets to spend it,” said Junge, “the parents and the teachers at the school or a district superintendent? … The real issue is that superintendents don’t get to spend the money the way they want.” 2) Charter schools don’t perform as well as district schools
Junge correctly points out that you will find studies supporting both sides of this argument, and that there isn’t a simple answer. “it’s a false comparison. Whether the school is a charter or district run is not what determines whether kids learn,” she said. “And that’s determined by whether the school is engaging its students.”
Ember Reichgott Junge is a former US Senator for Minnesota. She is highly regarded among charter school experts for helping author the nation’s first charter school law in Minnesota.
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