To the Editor:
I’d like to affirm Greg Richmond’s call in his recent Commentary “Who’s in Charge at Charter Schools?” (July 14, 2010) for transparency and ethical practices in all aspects of charter school management, oversight, and governance. Recruiting and training charter school boards that know their roles and responsibilities is a unique and critical challenge.
While board members usually join with good intentions, they often bring little or no training in how to do their job effectively. Their education is generally on-the-job and only as good as the leadership of the particular board on which they serve. Some charters have been highly successful, while others have struggled and even had to close. These incidents have generated substantial negative publicity and been upsetting to all involved, including staff, students, parents, and community members. And it is the students who are hurt the most when a charter school fails to realize its mission.
As the founding chief executive officer of a successful Philadelphia charter and a member of another charter school board, I am personally aware of the challenges and rewards of this work. In my position at Foundations Inc., I am often called on to provide training and professional development for charter school boards. This is an area of work for which I have great passion and commitment because, ultimately, it is the students who benefit when a board is informed, ethical, and effective.
Julie Stapleton Carroll
Director of School Services
A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of Education Week as Training Charter Boards Poses a ‘Critical Challenge’