A Strong Charter Law
In 2003, MSEA worked closely with the General Assembly to enact the Public Charter School Act. The bill created Maryland’s first public charter school program “to establish an alternative means within the existing public school system in order to provide innovative learning opportunities and creative educational approaches to improve the education of students."
Although our position is often misconstrued, MSEA does not in fact oppose public charter schools.
Download a copy of our latest white paper on Maryland’s charter school law and share it with your colleagues. Our top-ranked schools depend on keeping our standards high and our charter school law strong.
We simply believe charter schools must meet the following criteria.
- Are under the control of local school boards
- All students are eligible
- Are held to the same standards as other public schools
- Staff members have the same collective bargaining rights as their counterparts in mainstream public schools
- Must be qualitatively different from what is available in mainstream public schools and not just an avenue for parental choice
In fact, because of these criteria and strong vigilance in the review of each proposed Maryland charter school, the success rate of those approved is much higher than in many other states.
MSEA believes that charter schools and other nontraditional public school options have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can benefit children.
However, we believe success depends on how charter schools are designed and implemented, including strong oversight and assistance provided to charter school leaders.
Q: Why does MSEA insist that charter schools admit all students?
A: All public schools are obligated to provide access to students regardless of their ability, special needs, parental involvement, etc. Charter schools should not be treated differently if they are to share financial resources. It would be unfair to expect the existing public schools to handle a disproportionate number of students with special needs and allow charter schools to pick and choose which students they will accept.
Q: Why does MSEA oppose private charter schools?
A: A school should have one goal—to provide the best possible education for the students. Private firms owe their first allegiance to the bottom line or making a profit for their investors. We believe that student welfare should never be competing with a company’s need to make a profit. We also believe that there should be adequate safeguards covering contract and employment provisions. That might not be possible in a private charter school run by a for-profit corporation.
Q: How does student achievement compare between charter and other schools?
A: Two major studies released in 2009 offer contradictory conclusions on the more than 5,000 charter schools nationwide. The effectiveness of charter schools as compared to other schools remains in question.
Learn more about charter schools across the country.