I’ve been a reporter at Education Week for about a decade now, but with the launch of this blog I’m stepping into what is, for me, a new and exciting landscape: the world of charter schools and public and private school choice.
Longtime readers of our paper know that we’ve been writing about these issues for years. But given the overriding debate about charters, vouchers, and school choice in all its forms, and their prominence in today’s policy discussions, we decided that they merited their own blog.
Few topics in education, of course, roil educators, elected officials, and the public like school choice. In today’s oft-overheated atmosphere, choice tends to get branded as a market-based cure for saving struggling schools and re-engaging families, a private-sector-engineered scheme that will undermine traditional public schools, or some variation of those.
You could sum up the tone of a lot of choice debates by paraphrasing what a wise man once said about fried foods: They anger the blood.
My hope is that we’ll offer a nuanced look at the implications of charters, vouchers, parent-trigger proposals, open-enrollment policies, the regulation of alternatives to traditional public schools, and other topics. You can help. Your comments and criticism are welcome—and, more than that, they’ll be a big part of what makes this blog go.
I’ve already been covering the charters and choice beat and related topics for a couple weeks in the pages of Education Week. See my recent stories on the rise of parent unions, the growth and performance of nonprofit and for-profit charter operators, and questions about special-needs students’ participation in voucher programs.
As some of you know, I’ve manned a couple of different beats during my time at Education Week. For several years, I wrote about math and science issues (the topics ranged from debates over the teaching of evolution to questions about U.S. students’ international competitiveness). Most recently, I covered state policy, an area being taken over by my colleague Andrew Ujifusa, who will captain the State EdWatch blog.
So send along your ideas, observations, and opinions, and I’ll set out to make this forum as interesting, relevant, and timely as possible.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.