It used to be that you could give CPRE a little credit for caring about other education issues than just charters schools. It would appear that time has passed.
I'm on their listserv and if you go just by that, it's all charters, all the time. What is worrying is that if they feel this way about charter schools in other states, I can't wait to see what they think should happen in Washington State.
For example, you may have heard that newly-elected NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio came into office with a willingness to stop giving favors to charters in NYC and quit forced co-locations. This has turned in to quite the epic battle with one charter operator (and quite a big mover and shaker in NYC), closing her schools and requiring parents and students to march in a rally. (Try closing a real public school for this kind of thing - not going to happen.)
The issue really was that the former mayor was not charging state-mandated rents to charters and the new mayor was going to charge the charters.
CRPE frames this in a larger way as a "governance" problem. (They are all about taking governance away from school boards.)
In most cities, district leaders let existing schools use facilities
rent-free, whether those schools are effective or not. District leaders
don’t consider whether the facilities housing the least effective
schools could be reassigned to more promising school operators. Charters
have to find and pay for their own facilities. Even district-employed
teachers and principals with ideas for new schools face an uphill fight
to get control of a school building.
District leaders don't "let" existing schools use facilities rent-free; they are operated in the public good with public tax dollars (which, by the way, everyone who works in a school district is paying into).
The CRPE solution?
Ownership of school buildings could be taken out of districts’ hands.
Public school buildings could be owned and maintained by a public real
estate trust. The trust could lease space to any publicly funded school
at a price that reflects the real costs of occupancy.
Then you have the director of CPRE, Robin Lake, weighing in on an article on how to regulate global financial institutions. She compares that advice with running school districts.
In education, this might mean that districts and charter authorizers
need to shift away from the trend toward longer and more complex new
school applications and reporting requirements and toward smart, highly
predictive leading indicators of success.
I actually have advocated to the Charter Commission for shorter charter school applications but not because charters need less regulation. And those "predictive leading indicators?" I want the Charter Commission and the people they hire to read those applications to provide that decision - not use a checklist to do their work.
The job of authorizing is to make smart bets on which charter schools
will be successful and to close the schools that don’t deliver, not
merely to sponsor school providers with a track record of past success.
If that were only so but charters that don't deliver are not being closed in nearly the numbers they should be.
The job of regulation is much easier when the entities being regulated,
be they banks or schools, do most of the monitoring and risk management
No thanks. We've seen how that turns out in the financial services only too well in the last 10 years.
I think CRPE generally has smart people working there - I just wish they would not have such a narrow focus. Consider this whenever you read something that comes out of that office.