Column by UNCF President Michael Lomax Supporting Charter Schools

In this column from February 19, 2012, Michael Lomax makes the case for charter schools.  He argues for the need to pass HR 1162- the Charter School Amendment before the Georgia legislature. He emphasizes the need for students who are better prepared for college and the work force demands of today.  This excerpt is even more relevant when you consider the extensive experience of the writer as an educator at the college level:

…But to produce more college graduates, we have to produce more college-ready high school graduates. And right now, we are not getting the job done. One of every three college freshmen have to take at least one remedial course to learn what they should have been taught in high school. Just four of 10 ninth graders go on to graduate from college.

This is where public charter schools come in. Like system schools, they admit all students, up to the limits of their capacities. But they are smaller and more flexible than system schools. They can try new approaches, more focused on their students’ needs. Like any well-run business or organization, they can keep what works, and discard what doesn’t. And they can be held accountable for the education they give their students.

Open and free to all, innovative, flexible and accountable: We don’t need fewer charter schools. We need more.

Charter schools are not the answer to improving our public schools. But they must be part of the answer. For thousands of students in Atlanta, across Georgia, and around the country, they are a right-now choice for parents to seek educational opportunities for their children and hold system schools accountable. And the choice they afford parents provides powerful but constructive competition to system schools, and powerful leverage for change.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog