To the editor:
This letter is in response to your editorial “Time to lift the charter school cap” (March 14, 2014).
May I start with a quote I found on the Internet (Change.org):
“Charter schools get overwhelmingly positive press and make a lot of claims about their success. But, actually, numerous studies confirm that their achievement is indistinguishable from traditional public schools. Some are successful, some are troubled, and the rest are somewhere in between just like public schools.”
I must say that I am surprised that The Salem News would fall into the category of press that is mentioned in the quote above. I have always thought of you as a step above the rest.
You stated in your editorial that parents desperately want to give their children a chance at a better education and a better life, and they see charters as a way out of substandard public education and a life of dependency. I hope that all of these parents waiting in line for entrance into their favorite charter school have read some of these studies and have inquisitive minds to recognize the hype as presented by your paper and many other journalists throughout the country.
The only area in which you investigated was that of children and parents waiting in line for seats. I would have thought that you would have been investigating the teaching experience of both charter and public school teachers, the educational requirements of charter vs. public (do charter schools require a master’s degree after five years of teaching as do public schools?), the percentage of students in public school who obtain admission into the colleges and universities around the country. This includes some of the best in the nation. It does not sound like these students are deprived by attending public schools. Are there substandard public schools? Are there substandard charter schools? The answers to both questions are easily answered by rereading the introductory quote.