California may be a finalist in Obama’s Race to the Top program and eligible for $700 million for struggling schools, but it looks like that money might not be going anywhere. After touting themselves as the silver bullets necessary to save our failing public education system, dozens of the state’s 850-plus charter schools may be on the chopping board, as recent standardized test scores show them scoring in the bottom 10% of schools statewide. The California Board of Education will decide in September on the criteria for shuttering failing Charter schools, but what does it say about the charter school idea? But are the criteria fair and should the Board of Education be pushing for better teachers and reforming the curriculum before sending these schools and students packing? On the other hand, could these failing hybrid charter schools hurt California’s chances at winning a piece of that $4.35 billion in Race to the Top stimulus funds?
Ben Austin, currently serves as a member of the California State Board of Education and is executive director of Parent Revolution, parent advocacy group supporting charter schools & school self-determination
Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association