Op-ed: Charter schools should ignite change for the better

This op-ed piece, written by Lyle Quasim, appeared in The News Tribune on April 14, 2013.

I applaud the Tacoma School Board for signaling an interest in becoming a public charter school authorizer. It’s time that our community learned more about public charter schools.

We need to know how top-performing public charters advance student achievement in other states. We can learn from the best how to raise student achievement for at-risk and low-income students, especially the large share of black and brown students who are struggling academically in Tacoma.

We can debate the merits of public charter schools forever. Meanwhile, our traditional public schools are serving some of our kids well, but clearly not all of our kids:

  • Six out of 10 Tacoma students graduate high school in four years
  • Six out of 10 Tacoma grads go onto college
  • Of those who go to college, many require remedial classes to gain high school math and English skills before they can take college-level courses.

Key education leaders in our city are working hard to improve these numbers. They need a full range of options at hand. The board understands that public charters could be an important part of the mix. Charter schools are not a silver bullet. But, they can disrupt the status quo and drive community-school collaborations that radically raise student achievement.

Read the full op-ed here.

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