While at the NEA-RA the word “Charter” (as in charter schools) seemingly became the new word of profanity. The simple mentioning of or allusion to the word charter elicited quite the response from both sides of the debate.
Numerous business items mentioned charter schools, and the assembly floor would erupt each time into debate, especially the delegation from California. After Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s speech, which promoted charter schools directly and indirectly, charter schools remained in the assembly’s thoughts.
The Californians definitely had little positive to say about charter schools; however, the Wisconsin delegation felt that they used and created charter schools with success. One Wisconsin delegate even spoke directly to the California representatives saying that not all charter schools were bad things, that charters could be part of a solution to troubled schools. However, the vast majority of the entire assembly seemed to believe still that charters should not be mentioned much less promoted.
Personally, I know of only one person who works in a charter school, and he likes it so far (but I think he mainly likes the extra pay). Still, I have not seen much research to influence that charters should be created in my area. My state has voted down charters three times–a point of pride for many teachers in my state–and I don’t see the state approving them any time soon.
My biggest concern is if Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama withhold federal monies to states that don’t reform their way, which may include charter schools. I’ve heard nothing yet to suggest the monies would be withheld, though I haven’t really heard of more than one type of school reform advocated by Sec. Duncan either.