Buffalo teachers are trying to hold back a “rising tide” of charter competition, writes Donn Esmonde in the Buffalo News.
Charter schools are here and they are not going away, for a lot of reasons.
They let teachers try new ways to help kids who need help the most. They give school choice to parents who can’t afford the car and house needed for suburban entry and who can’t foot a private school bill. Those parents don’t think charters “steal” money from the district. They think that education dollars should follow their choices and their kids, not automatically feed a bureaucracy.
The district’s non-charter schools close at 3; otherwise custodians get paid overtime.
At Pinnacle, a charter elementary school steps from downtown, the school day – because no custodian demands overtime – ends at 5 o’clock. Every kid gets art, music, gym and foreign language. Summer vacation lasts only a month, so kids forget less. There’s a full-time nurse and counselor, and no class has more than 20 kids.
Pinnacle manages to do it on less money per student than conventional public schools.
A Buffalo school board member pushing a moratorium on district-sponsored charters has given up.