To the Editor:
In response to the recent opinion piece by Diane Ravitch, “The Coronavirus Just Might End School Privatization Nonsense,” (April 10, 2020) I feel compelled to correct several misstatements and inaccuracies that decry the critical role charter schools play in serving America’s public school students. While these typical union tropes are not original, they are particularly distasteful in this moment. We should be elevating everyone who is helping to take care of students.
Yes, parents have been thrust immediately into the challenge of home schooling, and many are struggling to support their students. And, yes, teachers’ work may sometimes go underappreciated. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped many people gain a deeper appreciation of just how hard teachers work and how essential their special skills are to students.
During this time, I have been heartened to see communities come together to support their neighbors. Many charter schools are providing meals, Wi-Fi access, online lessons, and support to all families, regardless of the type of school their child might attend. At this time, instead of doing something useful for students and families, Diane Ravitch and others who share her convictions have chosen to sow seeds of discord and spread alternative myths about charter schools. It’s shameful.
The public consistently supports charter schools—when they are told the truth. All charter schools are public schools. Under the law, they cannot refuse students on the basis of prior performance. And they do an exceptional job of serving low-income students and students of color. There is no dispute about the value of teachers or that public schools are underfunded and teachers are underpaid. And there should be no debate about the fact that all students deserve a high-quality education. When schools reopen, let’s all focus on replicating the public schools that are providing that.
President and CEO
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
A version of this article appeared in the April 29, 2020 edition of Education Week as Dispelling Charter Schools Myths