Educrats and assorted opponents of school choice and competition love to point to statistics that show student achievement in charter schools is no greater than in government-run schools. Therefore, they demand that we stop "taking away resources" from public schools. (First, can we stop using the euphemism "resources"? It's taxpayer money, for Pete's sake! It doesn't come from the ground or trees or the river, where real, actual, put-to-use resources come from.)
Second, we know what they say about statistics. Third, and most important, if charter schools are so bad or indifferent, why do so many parents and students want in? In New York alone, there is a waiting list of 40,000 students trying to escape the government-run monopoly!
Unfortunately, New York, as does Virginia, has a cap on the amount of charter schools. Different formula, same result — restricting competition and choice as well as the variety of teaching methods and environments. The only thing it does produce is more student failure and teacher inadequacy. But there is hope for New York. Its Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch told Maura Walz of the blog Gotham Schools that she favors raising the charter school cap. There is hope in Virginia as well, since Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, his running mates Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli, and the increased GOP majority in the House of Delegates favor more school competition. With McDonnell's giant mandate, there are rumors of some big idea education reform legislation that may be proposed during the upcoming session of the General Assembly. After all, even President Barack Obama is in the odd position of being on McDonnell's side on this issue.
For a good briefing on the actual value of charter schools, here's part one of an interview with Caroline Hoxby, Ph.D., the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University, conducted by the Show-Me Institute in May (for the other three parts, click on this YouTube link and the the "more info" link on the right):
If charter schools are so bad, why are is there a waiting list of 40,000 students in New York?