Commentary

Parents Like Charter Schools: 2009 School Year Edition

The annual PDK/Gallup poll on public education shows a significant jump in public support for public charter schools—from 51 percent in 2008 to 64 percent this year.

In New Orleans a new survey by the Council for a Better Louisiana showed strong support for the system’s move to charter schools, with 74 percent saying they support charter schools and 62 percent saying they would support converting more schools to charters. Already, more than half the city’s public school are charters.

And in Maryland the Baltimore Sun reports that parents want more seats in charter schools:

Despite the growing number of charter schools in Maryland, 3,000 students remain on waiting lists and advocates say legislators should loosen the ties that prevent further growth and support of charters.

Some charter schools have so many students who want to go there that they could fill every seat twice, said David Miller, director of the Maryland Charter School Network.

City Neighbors Charter School in Baltimore has 198 students and 420 students on the waiting list, said Principal Mike Chalupa. “I think that we have built up a really good reputation. We provide a progressive education model in an urban environment,” he said.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.