CharterFolk Short – Schools that Are Open to All Must Be Free in More Ways than One

Good morning, CharterFolk.

Last year, in a series of posts I described the 101-401 level meanings of Free, Public and Open to All.

At the 201 Level, which educates the public about charter schools, Free means “without cost,” not charging tuition.

At the 301 Level, which educates our base about our why, Free means having the flexibility needed to achieve great things with kids.

The universal voucher era highlights the importance of both our 201 and 301-level messages.

Last week I wrote about how Iowa’s universal voucher program is unleashing tuition inflation in private schools. It is leading to low-income families losing the ability to attend their preferred school.

That is because universal voucher programs are neither free nor open to all.

The phenomenon spreads:

A school in St. Petersburg, like the school in Cedar Rapids, raised tuition so much that low-income Floridians struggle to stay enrolled.

Now private schools are using their new largesse to try to recruit the best teachers.

In addition to having more money per pupil, they are free to have whatever class-sizes they want.

Charter schools, meanwhile, have less money and must abide by class-size limits, which require that they employ more teachers and pay them less.

So, one set of schools is positioned to attract top teaching talent.

Another is not.

CharterFolk, name something more important than having great teachers.

It makes plain.

Advocacy must meet the moment:

Schools that are open to all …

must be free

… in more ways than one.