Charter Schools for Columbia?
Janese Heavin of the Class Notes blog asks whether bringing charter schools to Columbia would be a good idea. (Missouri currently allows charter schools only in St. Louis and Kansas City.) It seems unfair that Columbia residents aren’t able to take advantage of the innovations that charters bring. And as regular readers of Show-Me Daily know, I love charter schools.
With that said, expanding charter schools across the state does present one concern. Some charters, like KIPP, attract students who have no other option but their assigned public schools. Then there are charters that sound much like private schools — the Montessori charters or language-immersion charters, for example. If those charters pull students from existing private schools, they could crowd private schools out of the market.
One possible solution to the problem would be for charters to charge tuition on a sliding scale, based on ability to pay. They would be like private schools that provide scholarships to some students. Obviously, this arrangement is unlikely to be implemented any time soon in Columbia.
I would love to see charters spread for the sake of all the students they help, but I hope Columbia’s private schools can stay afloat.