As a longtime supporter of public education in Baltimore City and elsewhere, I believe the Public Charter School Expansion and Improvement Act of 2015 now before the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates will benefit thousands of underserved students in our state ("New effort underway to change Maryland charter schools law," Jan. 20).

The current Baltimore City test scores on reading and math are unacceptable and point to the need for alternative approaches. Even though the high school graduation rate has improved, the percentage of students requiring remedial work has risen as well.

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From my work with the KIPP Schools and observations of other public charter schools in Baltimore and Washington, I know we can achieve better academic results.

This bill gives public charters the flexibility to attract and retain high-quality teachers and principals and levels the playing field for funding. It also holds charters accountable for their performance, something we all believe is important.

As a lifelong Democrat, I firmly believe the need for quality education is a bipartisan issue and that this bill is about doing the right thing for our children. It gives students the opportunity to compete and learn the skills for college or a job that leads to a career.

It is about the future economic vitality of our state. I hope the debate on this bill will be about improving the quality of education and not about special interests.

Sheldon Caplis, Baltimore

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