Don't close charter public schools

Published March 29, 2018

By Phil Kirk

by Phil Kirk, former Chair, State Board of Education and NC SPIN panelist, March 29, 2018.

The recent recommendation from the North Carolina Justice Center that the state close charter   public schools which aren't diverse makes no sense whatsoever.

The Justice Center staff, which has opposed charter public schools from day one, must not understand the basics of the charter school movement.

Public charter schools give parents and students a choice as to where they want to receive their education.  While enforcing racial quotas appeals to some people, it is not practical for charter schools because the parents, not the government, decide where to enroll their children.

As Chairman of the State Board of Education, I visited more than 25 charter public schools.  Some were nearly all black and/or Hispanic, others were nearly all white, and most were more integrated.  While there were some "bad apples," most have which have been closed or gone out of business on their own, I witnessed excellent teaching and learning occurring and very few discipline or safety issues.  I would also add that it was extremely difficult to close a charter public school when the parents were begging us to keep it open.

My questions to the left-leaning Justice Center researchers include "Will you recommend closing charter schools which aren't as diverse as your ivory-tower views would conclude should be the case?"   Especially in cases where parents are satisfied and student learning is taking place.  I would hope not.

There should not be a double standard of closing traditional public schools but at the same time not closing charter public schools which opponents conclude are not diverse enough?  Don't misunderstand.  I am not suggesting a return to segregation nor am I suggesting quotas or forced busing which over the years has caused many thousands of majority and minority children to leave the public school system. Thank goodness that social experiment has ended.

By the way, the reader might note that I refer to charter "public" schools.  The reason is that as President/CEO of North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, now the North Carolina Chamber, we supported charter public schools as long as they were under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

We should all be advocating and supporting making all schools---traditional, charter, private, and home schools---stronger and more effective in meeting the unique needs of each and every student no matter their color, socio-economic status, and where they happen to live.

March 29, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Norm Kelly says:

Thank you for pointing out the Justice Center is a liberal organization. Otherwise I would not have known. And it does make a difference.

To left-wing zealots, as the Justice Center appears, aren't interested in actually educating kids. They are interested in their agenda. No matter what they CLAIM, their agenda comes first, and if there's room for anything else they may care. But ALWAYS, always, always, for liberal zealots, agenda takes priority over everything.

Doubt me? Consider their blatherings about teacher pay.

Consider their support for Hildabeast regardless of how she denigrated her opponents supporters, how many laws she broke, the fact that Bill met with justice dept people to insure his law-breaking wife would be cleared, and the fact that the primaries were all fixed for Hildabeast to win. Not a single alt-left zealot has yet to call demoncrats, Clintons, or the demon party on the carpet for all the questionable and/or illegal activity.

When it comes to kids, left-wing zealots always support teachers unions first, and almost never bring up the quality of education provided. Left wing zealots are more interested in spending more money on education than they are in improving education.

And when it comes to statistics about suspensions or other activity in schools, the establishment answer isn't to fix anything, but to change the way statistics are gathered. Instead of suspending kids, they simply talk to the offender, and then ignore the problem. This allows the statistics to look better. Good numbers but no improvement in school discipline.

Again, no care about how it impacts the kids or the education process, so long as the numbers look good.