School choice conversation not complete without accountability, transparency for parents

Statement from CEA President Kerrie Dallman on School Choice Week:

“Every student deserves to attend the best public school we can offer, traditional or charter. The Colorado Education Association supports parents in having the right to choose the public school they deem to provide the greatest learning opportunities for their children. But during ‘School Choice Week’, parents are typically offered very selective information from interest groups promoting charter schools. For examples, parent will likely have to find out on their own:

  • If a charter school has waived out of state and district policies and their reasons for doing so;
  • Information about the company that owns the charter, its motivations for operating the school, and if the school enthusiastically opens its doors to all children in the community;
  • Matters of finance such as a charter’s acceptance of gifts, grants or donations from outside sources, and whether its school board members are personally profiting from these arrangements; and
  • If they are sending their children to a school where principals and teachers are not licensed by the state and not evaluated in the manner prescribed the state’s educator effectiveness law.

“It’s time to remove the veil from the mysterious inner workings of charters and allow Colorado families and communities to make an informed choice, just as they can when considering a traditional neighborhood school that demonstrates full, unquestioned accountability to a publicly elected school board. Charter and neighborhood school educators are on the same team in helping all students thrive and achieve their full potential. Good teammates, though, play by the same rules from a common rulebook open for everyone to see. So during this ‘School Choice Week’, the 36,000 members of the CEA challenge all charter school operators and advocates to choose accountability and transparency in their dealings with parents and the public.”