Clint Bolick

One size doesn't fit all in education

Posted on July 13, 2007 | Type: Op-Ed | Author: Clint Bolick
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To the editor:

Superintendent of Instruction Tom Horne ("Charters on 'Horne' of a Dilemma," 7/9/07) contends that rigid alignment to the state's education curriculum is necessary to ensure that charter school students gain necessary knowledge and skills.

Were one-size-fits-all the right prescription for education, our state's schools would lead the nation instead of lagging. Charter schools are held to stringent performance standards like traditional public schools. But unlike traditional public schools, if they fail to meet them they can lose funding or even be shut down.

In exchange, they're given flexibility to employ innovative strategies -- which the Arizona Department of Education is unlawfully trying to squelch. Despite enrolling fewer than 10 percent of students, charter schools account for six of the state's top 10 public schools. Instead of shackling charter schools, state officials should champion their autonomy. Parental choice combined with freedom to innovate is a winning educational combination.

Clint Bolick is the director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, Phoenix

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