Better Checks and Balances Make Better Public Schools

Good Morning, CharterFolk.

I promise.

This will be my last post highlighting the school district “referee and player-on-the-field” conflict I have been riffing on of late.

Though I point out that the metaphor works well across geographies …

… and sports leagues.

The point is that conflicts of interest in authorizing is bad.

Public education, like the rest of civic life, needs good checks and balance.

Unfortunately, checks and balances in public education are not well designed.

School districts have too much power.

Parents have too little.

Public employees too much.

Other providers, like charter schools, too little.

Every once in a while, we see situations with better checks and balances.

Sure, the headline looks scary. The district wanting “students back.”

But how does the superintendent propose to win them back?

Denying a bunch of charters?

Taking back buildings?

Calling for new moratoria?

None of that.

What he wants is the district offering great public education.

“Why not offer a high-caliber education, experiential education in the public schools to prepare the kids for this region’s growth that we see in the future?”

He plans to bring students back with good customer service

Imagine that.

It’s the kind of thinking that emerges in a state like Ohio that has good checks and balances.

Charter schools have authorizing options including universities and nonprofits that only referee, not field a team.

So authorizers’ decisions are trusted. Drama is reduced. Focus on kids is maintained.

It’s what we want everywhere:

Better checks and balances making better public schools.