The Legislature will be discussing the issue of allowing charter schools in Maine. Many see this as a panacea to the problems in education.
Only 20 percent do a better job than public schools. About one-third do worse than public schools, and the remainder do about the same.
Instead of creating a new infrastructure of schools, I suggest trying the concept in some existing schools. Allow one school in Lewiston and one in Auburn to operate under the proposed rules. These schools could have longer days and shorter vacation time. Teachers who are interested in working under more flexible teaching conditions could apply for positions at these schools. People who are proficient in a particular field could be hired, even though they do not have teaching certificates.
There are many unanswered questions about charter schools. Among them, will the charter school budget pay for special education services, such as speech therapy, or is the local district supposed to supply it? Who is responsible for transporting students living outside the school district? If a charter school is located in Lewiston and a student lives in Minot, does the charter school budget pay for the transportation?
One claim is made that parents will be more involved in charter schools. Currently, too many parents have little or no involvement in their children’s school. Why will they be more involved in a charter school?
Instead of starting charter schools, why not give the flexibility to public schools?
Stan Tetenman, Poland