Don't expand charter schools

December 15, 2009

David Borinsky, president of Maryland Charter School Network, appeals to the citizens of Maryland to increase funding for Maryland's charter schools ("Build on charters' success," Dec. 10). He claims "certain charter schools" in Baltimore generate higher test scores than "their suburban neighbors" and that the teachers, students and parents in the charter schools benefit greatly from "meaningful autonomy."

The message the citizens of Maryland should take from Mr. Borinsky's plea is not that we should expand charter schools, further depleting our resources for public schools, but that we should release all schools from the clutches of mandated curriculum and high-stakes testing so that every citizen of Maryland can enjoy meaningful autonomy. Charter schools are not held to the same standard as our public schools; they drain valuable resources from our public schools and should be decreased in number in spite of the federal government's "Race to the Top" sweepstakes.Nancy Rankie Shelton, ArbutusThe writer is an associate professor of literacy education at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

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