Charter schools sound like a good idea. Have the state pay for education, while allowing parents and/or churches and/or business take care of the details.
What kind of oversight is necessary? How can we be sure that charter schools are
- taking care of the interests of the children in their care?
- wisely and appropriately spending public funds?
- following the law?
None of these are insuperable problems. Oversight and regulation require resources, but they should still be possible.
Sadly, the forces that push for charter schools often
- want to save money, and oversight is expensive, and/or
- are ideologically committed to charter schools, and do not see the need to oversee them, and/or
- believe that the market will sort out all the problems.
And here is the problem. Not all charter schools are formed or run wisely. (Some are.) More to the point, the market moves more slowly than children develop. It is cold comfort to parents (and children) to say, “your child just wasted a year of school, but on the upside, the market is forcing the charter school to change.”
Here’s John Oliver smashing into some of the bigger institutional problems.