Opponents of charter schools in Indiana are saddled with a fundamental weakness in their argument against expansion of educational choices. They must persuade the public, and members of the Indiana General Assembly, that parents aren’t qualified to select the best learning environment for their children.
After all, parents aren’t forced to ship their children to charters. They choose to do so. …
Now, the General Assembly is debating whether more families should have the option of choosing a charter for their families. House Speaker Brian Bosma and other key legislators from both parties are pushing a bill that could greatly expand the number of charter schools in Indiana. Only 62 charters now operate in the state, in part because Statehouse Democrats used their majority in the House to attack educational options.
The legislation would give authority to a host of new sponsors, including a new state charter school board, mayors in cities of more than 35,000 people, and private, nonprofit universities.
Opponents are aghast that private universities would be allowed to sponsor charters. That’s another tough argument for the opposition to win.
However, one component of the legislation, although well intended, does present a problem. The bill would require districts to rent vacant school buildings to charters for only $1 a year. It’s certainly a challenge for charter school organizers to raise capital to obtain and often renovate buildings, but the state shouldn’t take away school boards’ ability to make decisions about how best to use public properties.
With that weakness noted, and with the understanding that charters are by no means a panacea to what ails this state’s educational system, the legislation deserves strong public support.
SOURCE: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com/article/20110128/NEWS03/101280301/1003