Adam Crain

An Unlikely Ally

December 21, 2016

Adam Crain

Education choice got a big shout-out from President Obama’s Education Secretary, John King, when he affirmed his belief that charter schools should be a welcome part of the education landscape. The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness reports:

“During one of his final weeks on the job, President Barack Obama’s secretary of education called for education leaders to unite around support for charter schools.

‘If we believe that public schools will always be the bedrock of American democracy and opportunity – as I do – we should welcome good public charter schools as laboratories for innovation that can benefit all of education,’ he said at an event Wednesday hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington DC.”[i]

It is a welcome affirmation that despite the call from the NAACP, there is bi-partisan agreement that charter schools should be welcomed and expanded, not squelched by a moratorium.

Recently we shared with you a segment from the PBS Newshour that profiled Freedom Preparatory Academy in Memphis. The segment does a good job of juxtaposing the two conflicting arguments in the Charter School Movement: those who say parents should be able to choose which school is best for their children and those who argue that “parents are incapable of deciding which education outlets are most advantageous.”

Secretary King’s remarks on this issue are a welcome voice of reason, and you can bet that President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, will work to make charter schools an even more thriving education opportunity for all Americans. As education advocate Kevin Chavous has so rightly put it, “there is no Democrat or Republican way to teach a kid how to read, write, and count.”

Here in South Carolina, we also have work to do so we can put our money where our mouth is. The South Carolina General Assembly can and should equitably fund all public schools, including charter schools. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools receive no transportation dollars and very limited facilities funds. Fixing this disparity would allow new charter schools to begin in more rural areas and open up new alternatives for quality education in South Carolina.

This should be something that every advocate of equitable education opportunity for all can unite around!

[i] Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal,