Joel Klein, chancellor of New York City schools, argues eloquently for charter schools in a speech to the New York Charter Schools Association.
Charters bring in new blood. These are leaders and entrepreneurs who are not otherwise part of the system. They are people with ideas, with creativity, and who are willing to give their all for their students.
Then Klein really gets gutsy.
I think we should support charters for another reason. Public education in large urban areas in the United States has failed. This is a somewhat heretical thing for a schools chancellor to say. But if we are not going to be candid, I don’t think we can take the kind of steps we need to make the necessary changes. New York City is actually one of the best urban school systems in the United States, but by any measure, I guarantee you that at least half, probably more than half, of our students are not remotely getting the education they deserve…
Klein says education reformers have focused on changing programs, but not on changing the culture of public education in the big cities.