Without a doubt, the number one question I hear when I'm out knocking doors — after "What does the school board do?" — is related to charter schools. Here's where I stand...
First, there's nothing wrong with the concept of charter schools. Our students deserve to have choices of programs in schools that are laboratories of innovation. I believe we can achieve that in our traditional public schools — if administrators, educators, and school boards are willing to embrace the systemic change it will take to get there.
The good news is, we've done it before, and I'm a product of it, having chosen to attend Hoover Middle School for the visual and performing arts magnet program (Class of '92).
In the meantime, I also believe the public deserves more oversight and accountability of charters in exchange for the investment of their tax dollars. That's not always the case, particularly in Santa Clara County. Charters should have public board meetings and report annually to their governing districts, not every five years.
In my experience, San José Unified schools are just as successful as the charters in their neighborhoods. But that's not the story you tend to hear from charter advocates, and the district struggles to make community engagement a priority.
Each school has its own challenges, and we should address those head on with a sense of urgency so that every student has an opportunity to discover their own greatness.
Want to hear more? Give me a call: (408) 673-8371