Thursday, September 21, 2006


Nebraska is one of only 10 states that doesn't offer citizens the educational alternative of charter schools, according to statistics released this week by the Center for Education Reform.

The group reported that an estimated 1.15 million children now attend 3,977 charter schools nationwide. Charters have posted an 11% increase this school year over the year before.

Link here for a chart listing the number of charter schools and estimated enrollment state-by-state.

Teachers, administrators and parents all like charter schools, which are funded with tax dollars just like regular public schools but are free of many nonsensical regulations. Since the only opponents to charter schools appears to be the teachers' unions, the fact that Nebraska doesn't have enabling legislation allowing them -- yet -- illustrates the stranglehold on progress that the Nebraska State Teachers' Association holds on the Unicam.

Two crises in K-12 education in the Cornhusker State present the perfect opportunity for charter schools to come in as an alternative, and save money while improving academic achievement: urban kids stuck in failing schools in inner-city Omaha, and rural kids whose country grade schools were closed, forcing them to enroll in often-distant, usually-inferior K-12 schools in nearby towns.

In both situations, charter schools would be an effective solution because they would allow local parents, teachers and administrators to make changes necessary to meet their student populations' unique learning needs and ignore overstaffing, nonclassroom expenses, paperwork and regulations that aren't important but constitute "union make-work."

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