What’s a charter school? And are charters really as great as they’re chalked up to be?

In order to have accountability in a school, you must connect with families. That’s why Nina Rees sees charter schools as a step towards restoring quality education in America: charter schools offer parents a chance to keep schools accountable. Rees, a long-time advocate of charter schools and school choice, has decades of service behind her, including a stint with the U.S. Department of Education. Listen in this week on The State of Education as she and Melvin uncover the benefits and possibilities charter schools offer to America.  

“[O]ur mission is to improve the overall trajectory and quality of public education and we’re using charter schools as a mechanism to get to that goal.” — Nina Rees, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Here’s a recap of the episode:

  • Melvin summarizes Nina’s extensive career in government, education, and charter school advocacy.
  • What is a public charter school? Where are they found? How is a charter school’s administration set up?
  • Charter schools have “authorizers” who determine policy, set academic goals for students, hold them fiscally responsible, and generally keep them accountable. 
  • Where charter school funds come from and why they are not under the direction of a typical public school board.
  • Charter schools are becoming popular, Nina says, because they seek to address real needs in real communities. She also cites studies that show how much charters have grown in the past couple of years.
  • Positive outcomes in students who go to charter schools.
  • Public charter schools attract families because of two other things: safety and individualization in curriculum.
  • Nina lists a few charter school controversies, including the argument that charter schools drain public dollars from traditional public schools. She also addresses claims that charters are supported by people who “don’t believe in public education” and want charters to become private schools.

What is Nina’s big-picture goal in empowering charter schools? Improving the quality of all public schools.

If you like what you’re hearing, stay tuned for our next episode on The State of Education with Melvin Adams.

If you’d rather watch the video version of our podcast episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified every Wednesday when new episodes launch. Here is today’s conversation with Nina Rees and Melvin Adams:



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