More Charter Schools? Too Timid for Real Reform

With the end of the Chicago school strike, the Chicago Tribune ran an op-ed article this morning promoting more charter schools as one of the answers for improving that city’s schools.

That’s way too timid an idea if we really want to fix our schools.

The Tribune points to Fuentes Elementary, a charter school in northwest Chicago, as an example of what’s right about schools.

Fuentes remained open through the strike even though, as a charter school, it’s part of the city school system affected by the strike.

Think the parents of those 350,000 kids (in schools that were closed) haven’t noticed the normalcy at schools such as Fuentes,” the Tribune asks. “Think those waiting lists for charters across the city aren’t about to explode? Think again.”

I’m sure the Tribune’s right on both counts.

And the Tribune goes on to suggest “more charters, more (school) closing and more turnarounds” are the best way to improve Chicago’s schools.

I agree with them on two of those three points. We definitely need to turn more schools around. And some school closings are inevitable. Some schools deserve to be closed because they’re doing a lousy job.

But charter schools aren’t the answer. It’s too timid an approach.

A lot of charter schools are doing a great job. Parents are clamoring to get their kids into them almost everywhere they exist. And there are waiting lists to get into many of them.

The problem with charter schools is that there aren’t enough of them.

Giving some parents an opportunity to send their kids to schools where they can get a quality education isn’t the answer. That sends us back to the discredited notion of separate but equal. Separate? Yes. Equal? Hardly.

Our Proposal

I’ve started a grassroots, nonprofit effort to give every parent in America the opportunity to send their children to schools offering a quality education. Every parent. Every child. Regardless of where they live, how much money they have or the color of their skin.

Our organization is called End The Education Plantation. You’ll find us at www.EndTheEducationPlantation.org.

Abraham Lincoln officially ended slavery in 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation. But in a very real sense our children are slaves to a broken school system robbing them and us of our future. It’s time to free the slaves once more.

Education Freedom Accounts

We propose a federal law requiring every state that accepts federal educational funds to provide Educational Freedom Accounts for every K-12 student equal to 95 percent of the average money spent per pupil in that state or district.

Parents could use these Education Freedom funds to send their children to any state-approved school they choose. Every parent in America – regardless of where they live, how much money they have or the color of their skin – would be able to choose a school offering a quality education for their children.

More charter schools? Great solution for a few. We need a solution that works for everyone.

John Conlin

John Conlin is a self-employed management consultant who lives in Littleton, Colorado. He started End The Education Plantation because he’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools and believes it’s time to do something about that. Join our email list for continuing updates. And get involved. We’re a grassroots organization.


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Who We Are

End the Education Plantation is a temporary nonprofit organization founded by John Conlin of Littleton, Colorado, because he’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools. We are a grassroots organization with one and only one goal: Give every parent in America the opportunity to send their children to schools offering a quality education.

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