What to Do With Charter Schools

See all posts

The concept of the charter school is based on a trade-off: immunity from some of the rules that bind regular public schools in exchange for strict accountability on the bottom line student achievement. With new federal law and regulations increasing the demands on schools, there has been increased scrutiny on charters, particularly with regard to who is allowed to teach. In Pennsylvania, for instance, all teachers in public schools are supposed to be state licensed while charter schools are allowed to employ 25% of their teachers as unlicensed. Throughout the United States, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 48% of teachers in an average charter school are uncertified while this is true for only 9% of teachers in a typical public school. But under NCLB all teachers will be forced to show competence in the course that they're teaching. As for certification of teachers in public or charter schools, that's up to the states.

But in non-regulatory guidance to teacher quality standards that was released this past week, the Department of Ed made clear their intention to "eliminat[e] unnecessary barriers to teacher recruitment," emphasizing the state's flexibility in creating their own certification standards, and in no way indicating that charter schools should alter their current policies.