Charters Benefit from Setbacks to Small Schools and Vouchers

This year's celebration of charter school week is a reminder of just how much of a side issue charter schools seem to me to have become at this point in the game. While popular with the young do-gooder set (and the seemingly- infatuated Jay Mathews), and much-needed in many places, charters are still too few, too iffy, and too controversial to have much impact on the main education machine in most places.

For me, at least that's the main measure of their success. Rarely does it seem like charter schools are really looked to (or available for) assistance with districts in which they reside. The vast majority of the effort surrounding them seems to go towards the sometimes Herculean effort of gaining separation from state and district control.

There is some good news for charters from the past year, however, in the form of stumbles and setbacks among its main competitors. Small schools are no longer the Gates Foundation's sole focus, which creates more room and potential support for charters. And vouchers don't seem to be taking off anytime soon.


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