April 10: Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King is critical of for-profit education management organizations (EMOs), suggesting that these charter school operators are more interested in profit than in serving students. He made this disparaging comment during a panel discussion on school accountability at the American Enterprise Institute (see minute 1:22:45 in the embedded video of the discussion). He actually stated that he’s frightened about the possibility that EMOs might exploit families and kids on behalf of profit. Seriously, Mr. King is obviously misinformed.
The recent Every Student Succeeds Act gives states the ability to revamp their K–12 accountability systems. With the rise of charter schools, urban districts no longer serve as a city’s sole public school operator, which was not the case when accountability systems first arose. This new context enables state leaders to explore how they might apply charter-style accountability to district-run schools. Could this change unify accountability systems and allow more autonomy for public schools?
AEI’s Andy Smarick presents his recent paper on the subject, and a panel, including former US Secretary of Education John King, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Senior Policy Adviser Christy Wolfe, Chris Barbic of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and DC Public Charter School Board Executive Director Scott Pearson, debates the work’s key points.