The Star Tribune brightened my day with an editorial ("Charter school cap is unwarranted") endorsing charter schools, and by extension, school choice. "The door should remain open to create innovative schools for Minnesota students," said the Star Tribune.
Charter schools do not represent the ultimate in local control. They are taxpayer-funded, government-controlled public schools. They are subject to the same alphabet soup of state and federal mandates, from the MCA-IIs to IDEA to NCLB. Private schools and homeschools still provide the most direct control to parents over their children's school curriculum and environment.
Yet, as the Strib points out, "...charters are just part of the menu of educational choices. Out of 800,000 public school students, more than 100,000 attend some type of alternative, contract or charter program — all under the public school umbrella."
(The Strib doesn't mention that Minnesota's 2004-2005 private school enrollment, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, was 86,914, and homeschool enrollment for the same period was 17,135.)
The weekly Sun Newspapers recently ran an ambitious, multi-part feature on school choice that featured public, private, charter, and even home schools. Minnesota parents should take advantage of this state's school choice options. Not all states enjoy the same freedom to choose the best school for their child's needs.