Democrats aren't doing students any favors by opposing charter schools
I write in response to the article, "A full plate in final week" (April 2), and specifically, I want to comment on the education bill affecting the powers of the state board of education. As a lifelong Democrat who did not vote for Gov. Larry Hogan, I continue to be perplexed by the party's positions on public education. It has always seemed to me that Democrats should be focused on what is best for students instead of protecting outdated union opposition to anything that might improve student outcomes. This latest bill which lessens reliance on using test scores to identify failing schools and limits the board's actions to expand charter schools is a perfect example of protecting the unacceptable status quo.
Have any of these legislators met the members of the board? I have, and I commend the governor for appointing extremely qualified and smart individuals committed to providing quality education for all students. Have any of these legislators monitored reading and math achievement levels of Baltimore students? I have, and they are unacceptably low. Have any of these legislators looked at the achievements of charter schools in the city or in the District of Columbia? I have, and many are among the best performing schools in their respective systems.
So is this bill about improving education for students or protecting special interests? My answer is the latter, and this has been going on on for years. No one is suggesting that charters shouldn't be held to the same accountability standards as other public schools. Come on, Maryland Democratic lawmakers. It's time to move forward. You've stood in the way of real education reform for years.