We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Laura Lang’s article on charter schools (“Learning the Hard Way,” 2/2) cites only one study supporting her contention that charters around the country are not accountable. In doing so, she ignores more than 50 studies concluding that charters are accountable—as well as innovative and successful in raising student achievement. Those studies are summarized on our Web site, at www.edreform.com.

Charter schools have the ultimate form of accountability: If they do not fulfill their contractual obligations, they are closed. Compared with numerous traditional public schools in Washington that continue to fail in their mission to educate children yet are propped up by the school-system bureaucracy, charters provide an important opportunity for parents.

The largest inhibiting factor for charters remains the difficulty in dealing with the school bureaucracies they were designed to cut through in the first place. Lang’s tale of Dorothy Goodman, who successfully founded the private Washington International School, now with more than 800 students, but who finds the D.C. school system an insurmountable obstacle in starting a charter school, is a case in point. While millions of dollars in school buildings lay unused, Goodman and other charter operators were forced to hold classes in church basements—and then come under criticism from the very sources of their roadblocks.

The best way to ensure successful charters is to remove those roadblocks and bureaucratic impediments and permit the parents and teachers starting these schools the opportunity to do what they set out to do: educate children.


The Center for Education Reform