The National Parent Teacher Association has revamped its policy to make it clear that it supports giving entities other than local school boards the right to approve charter schools, according to Education Week. The article points out that this position conflicts with the Georgia PTA’s position, but “Georgia PTA officials declined to comment on their apparent break with the National PTA on the issue. ”
National PTA President Betsy Landers called their attention to the deletion, and said her organization wanted to ensure that its support “extends to all authorizing bodies and public charter schools,” as long as they are held to high standards.
Ms. Landers noted that almost 50 percent of public charter schools in operation today are authorized by “alternate bodies” and that many local PTAs are already working with those entities. She urged state chapters to become familiar with the policy and make sure their state advocacy efforts complied with it, a step she said was critical to ensuring that the organization’s position on charters remains relevant.
Adam Emerson, the director of the program on parental choice at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a pro-charter organization in Washington, said the National PTA’s change in policy is significant and could help dispel the long-standing criticism that the organization’s positions are too closely aligned with teachers’ unions—or that they “focus a lot more on the ‘T’ than on the ‘P’ in the name,” as he put it.
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