For those of us in business, it should come as no surpise that privately run charter schools are out performing traditional government run schools, by a landslide. We’re all frustrated with our state’s dismal ranking in education. Did you know that, according to a report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, in 2014 Nevada’s charter schools moved up nine spots in national rankings, from number 22 to number 13? This came after Nevada enacted two pieces of legislation regarding charter schools. The first included preformance measurments as part of charter contacts, and the second provided facilities support.
According to a report by The Guinn Center entitled “Demographics, Enrollment and Performance Metrics at K-12 Schools in Nevada”, for the school year 2013-2014, state sponsored public charter elementary schools outperformed district public schools in math proficiency and reading proficiency. In addition, traditional state sponsored public charter schools have the highest average star level, according to the report.
Nevada’s charter schools are state-funded public schools that have their own governing boards, are held to the same academic standards as traditional schools but have more latitude in regards to budgeting, operations, curriculum and staffing. They have the freedom to hire teachers without a union contract. They are ran by people that understand business and are accountable for student acheivements as well as budgets. Unlike traditional schools, if they fail their contract doesn’t get renewed and they lose their jobs.
As of 2015, charter schools accounted for just over six percent of total public school enrollment, with long waiting lists of students trying to get enrolled. Therein lies one of the problems. With everyone wanting the best education for their kids, there just isn’t enough capacity in charter schools.
Perhaps part of the success of charter schools lies in the fact that Nevada law prohibits the local school district from interfering with charter operations. However, charter schools must meet a number of standards for acheivement, safety and accountability for tax dollars. And speaking of tax dollars, according to an NPR report last year, on average nationally, charter schools get 30 percent less money than their counterparts. That alone takes the wind out of the sails of those that believe money is the solution to our education woes.
The bottom line is, government simply cannot compete with private business. This has been proven over and over again. Take a look at our postal service, rates continue to increase while service and dependability decreases. Those of us in business have no option but to succeed, because we don’t have a safety net. We’re much more cautious with the allocation of resources because we have a limited supply and must spend wisely. This concept is clearly demonstrated in the charter school system in Nevada.
CALL TO ACTION: Maybe its time we stopped complaining about our failures in education and examine what we are doing right. Perhaps more charter schools really is the answer we’ve been searching for.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."