South Carolina Districts Working to Stifle Charters


The SC Public School Machine doesn’t like competition.

Nationwide, charter schools are changing the way parents think about public schooling.

While charter schools receive some local, state and federal funding they enjoy much greater independence than traditional public schools in developing their own curriculum, instructional techniques and organizational structure.

Over the last decade, charters schools have shown that this type of autonomy and innovation can lead to very dramatic results. Nationally, students in charter schools mirror their public school peers demographically but consistently outperform them in academic achievement. The unique status of these schools allows for responsive classrooms but they still remain limited by their dependence on the public school system, which often works to stifle their growth by limiting their student pools and diverting funds from them.

A recent Greenville News article entitled “District bans charter school recruiting” examines the tension in  Greenville, South Carolina’s largest public school district. In Greenville, district bureaucrats have prevented charter school officials from addressing public school students on campus about their charter school options:

The unwillingness of the district to allow charter schools to make presentations to district students has raised concerns from the Middle College National Consortium and the Gates Foundation, which has provided grant money for the charter schools, Crawford said.

“The relationship with the local school district continues to pose challenges,” a delegation from the national consortium wrote in a report to Greenville Tech Charter High [GTCHS]. “Most pressing is the school district’s reluctance to permit GTCHS access to their students to inform students and parents about your high school program. Numerous efforts have been made to bridge this gap. What other steps could you take?”

Charter schools are an important part of the statewide child-centered model of educational choice that families in South Carolina deserve. The efforts of school district administrators to block access, withhold resources and censor information about the charters is a shameful indictment of their willingness to the put the district’s bureaucratic largess before the best interest of the children and parents they claim to serve.

As the economist Andrew Coulson explains:

If we really want to serve the public interest, we will stop assigning children to government schools based on where they live, and ensure that all families can easily choose from among a variety of public and private educational options. That way, no entrenched monopolist will be able to put its own interests ahead of childrens’ interests, as Greenville’s school district is currently doing.


8 responses to “South Carolina Districts Working to Stifle Charters

  1. The problem is that not all parents can “easily choose from among a variety of public and private educational options.”

    For example, many rural areas only have one school, and enough students to fill one school. How can you possibly provide those students with choices when the next choice might be a few dozen miles away?

  2. small private schools are serving rural communities all around the state, and doing a good job of it too! Maybe if poor parents were provided something through school choice more of these schools could be established.

  3. The idea that some areas might not immedialy benefit since they have fewer private schools means NO ONE should have more choices is really really stupid. Thats like saying the government should build no interstates at all since there might be some rural towns that are not going to be served by them! Maybe no police either since they can not patrol all streets at once!

  4. Our daughter is enrolled in SCVCS and we LOVE it. We researched several options prior to joining our charter, nothing compared. Both sons went to b&m, so we are familiar with public school at it’s best. : ( We are giving our daughter the ultimate, elite education possible with MORE benefits than a b&m could ever offer. The nation voted for “Change”….charter schools are a positive change for our children’s future!

  5. Did ya’ll watch the “president elect” press conference? They asked Obama where his girls would go to school and he said his wife was going to research and “make a choice.”
    Thats because DC has a private school choice voucher plan and a whole range of really good Charter schools.
    No such luck for all the Obama supporters here in South Carolina. What a shame!

  6. Public schools strive for excellence with the exception of children in special education.

    If your child is in special education, you will often hear “That’s all we are required to do by law”.

    Having Charter schools will mean that children with special needs are not limited to programs that strive for the minimum required by law while accepting funding for services that are not provided.

    Educational neglect is not limited any socio economic group. We live in a prmier school district and it is extremely difficult to get educational services. These schools frequently dip into the education funds and hire expensive attorneys who “protect” the district from having to provide the needed services.
    The attorney working for the district is guaranteed payment but the kids don’t stand a chance at getting the services they need.

  7. Betsy Bootstrap

    “Weak harter School Law” is about to become stronger and not for the better. There are regulations drafted that will make it HARDER not easier, and take LONGER, to start a charter school. Virtual Charter Schools are especially under attack because they allow PARENTS to educate their children at HOME using state-paid curriculum and a little assistance from “certified teachers”. My child was part of one earlier this year but I withdrew her – because despite what you read and are told, there is no flexibility in curriculum choice and they (SBOE and Dept of Education) are trying very hard to “comply” technically, but not trying very hard to actually offer the kind of flexibility that has made Virtual Charter Schools successful in other states. WHY? You ask. Teachers and the Dept. of Education is threatened by a successful virtual charter school that will PROVE students don’t need $11,000+ funding, a host of certified teachers and brick & mortar schools! If SC’s current virtual charter school experiment WORKS and test scores improve it will PROVE that other, cheaper options can work in SC and THAT threatens the public educrats who would like nothing more than to suck more money out of the tax-payers wallets while failing to provide a decent education.

  8. Cheaper, easier, etc etc. If a parent stays home with their child for virtual school, if the parent is qualified, I see no problem. But children (middle schoolers thru high school) left alone…already addicted to video games and antisocial at best…I think it is like social services….they become the statistics, passing a grade “at their own pace” and not interacting with others. Who reaches out and touches anymore…

    Sad story, this Virtual School!

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