The Richmond Public School Charter Review Committee’s decision to reject a charter school proposal from the Richmond Education Foundation sets back Gov. McDonnell’s vision for more Virginia chartered schools.
The Richmond Education Foundation (REF) has withdrawn their application to open a charter middle school within Richmond City. They did so after Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Charter Review Committee recommended that their application be denied.
“We commend RPS’ charter review committee for it’s due diligence throughout this process,” said Antione M. Green, REF’s Vice-President. “REF remains fully committed to fulfilling its promise to provide a unique opportunity for Richmond youth to pursue professional careers and college education in the high paying and ever-growing scientific and technological fields. We look forward to working with the school board and administration to increase parental options here in our city while addressing the achievement or opportunity gap that exists among our students and their global competitors.” The RPS could not be reached for comment.
There are only four charter schools in Virginia; one being the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts in Richmond’s Forrest Hill district. Charter schools differ from traditional public schools in that, while being state funded, they are not completely beholden to the same rules and regulations that public schools are. The absence of complying with these rules and regulations, however, typically means that they are held to higher standards of accountability.
On June 23, 2010, Gov. McDonnell signed charter school legislation. Among the legislation’s components is that it requires charter school applicants to submit the application to the Board of Education, and it allows the applicant to petition the local school board for reconsideration of a decision to deny, revoke, or fail to renew an application. At the moment, it’s unclear whether REF will proceed with such a petition.
President Obama supports charter schools, a sometimes controversial remedy to perceived education deficiencies. Some states have crafted legislation that limits the number of them, of which Pres. Obama says it is no “good for our children, our economy or our country. ” According to a recent Washington Post article, about 1.5 million children, or 3 percent of public school students, attended a charter school this past school year. Some have outperformed their non-charter peers, particularly in inner cities.
One reason that some are disquieted by charter schools is that they fear only higher-achieving students will attend them, leaving average and below-average merited students within the traditional public school system. Despite this, many, including former VA Democratic governor Tim Kaine, support the building of charter schools. Gov. McDonnell affirms that state and local governments should have a significant role in determining the existence, as well as the oversight, of charter schools.
The recent recommendation by the RPS to deny REF’s application to build a charter middle school affirms that, at least currently, the RPS board maintains authority of this much debated remedy to Richmond’s public school system.
- There was some confusion in the comments about the quote from President Obama we used. We’ve clarified that the President opposes states limiting the number of charter schools, not limiting them in some other fashion. The original sentence ran as follows:
President Obama supports charter schools, a sometimes controversial remedy to perceived education deficiencies. Some states have crafted legislation that limits them, of which Pres. Obama says it is no “good for our children, our economy or our country.”