Sunday, February 24, 2008

'School competition needs a push'

Charter schools "fill an important niche for families who want to stay in public schools but aren't happy with the traditional options," the state's largest newspaper editorialized today.

As we've noted before, charter schools exist because traditional public schools aren't getting the job done. That competition is a sore spot with many public school officials, and no doubt a key reason why legislators are so reluctant to further open up the education market. They're hesitant to go against the wishes of educators in the areas they represent.

We understand lawmakers' unwillingness to move quickly when it comes to charter schools and other sticky issues. But they've been beyond cautious with charter schools, operating at a snail's pace. It's time they quit catering to the whims of those who prefer the status quo and let the market — namely parents — decide whether more charter schools are a good idea. Perhaps then, traditional public schools will fully embrace the challenge of improving education for all students instead of complaining about the competition.

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