Critics claim that charter schools are successful only because they cherry-pick students, because they have smaller class sizes, or because motivated parents apply for charter lotteries and non-motivated parents do not. And even if charters are successful, they argue, there is no way to scale that success to reform a large district.
None of that is true. Charters succeed because of their two defining characteristics—accountability and freedom. In exchange for being held accountable for student achievement results, charter schools are generally free from bureaucratic and union rules that prevent principals from hiring, firing or evaluating their own teams.
“Why Charter Schools Work”, Deborah Kenny, Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2012 (full text for subscribers only).
Deborah Kenny is the founder of the Harlem Village Academies charter schools in New York. Earlier this month she released a book, Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential, talking about her journey — especially about creating an environment where teachers feel liberated and inspired to be their best.