Charter School Success Shows the Benefit of Choice

Published December 13, 2007

Thank you for running Leonard Pitts’ perceptive Nov. 29 column on what makes the KIPP charter schools in North Carolina work so well for children who haven’t experienced much success in conventional public schools.

If North Carolina can offer this kind of choice to families, why can’t Virginia? As the Newport News Daily Press noted in a Nov. 9 editorial, Virginia “has been piddling around with charter schools since 1999,” yet the Commonwealth has only three tiny, district-run ones that are charters in name only. As Pitts’ column makes clear, true charter schools bring independent-minded leadership such as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) into the system, with full accountability for results.

Governor Kaine and the General Assembly ought to cooperate in jump-starting charter schools. Virginians are missing out on a vibrant form of public-school choice that is growing from Carolina to California.

Robert Holland ([email protected]) is senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute.