In a Friday editorial, the Oklahoman took the Tulsa school board to task for continuing its lawsuit against the state's charter school law. The TPS board claims the law is unconstitutional because it limits charter schools to certain parts of the state based on population and district size.
Charter schools exist because many parents and educators aren't happy with what they see at traditional schools. Some are in direct competition with traditional public schools; others have programs that serve students who have struggled in a traditional education setting. That's not to say all charter schools are perfect and a great fit for every student. But we believe the marketplace will sort the good from the bad, and parents ultimately will vote with their children's feet.
Charter schools were designed to be incubators for new ideas that could be replicated. Instead, we tend to hear excuses on why some of their innovations won't work in regular schools. Even Oklahoma City, which has been a more welcoming environment for charter schools than Tulsa, has had tense and sometimes hostile relationships with charter schools.
We said when the lawsuit was filed that it was a waste of money. It still is. Schools -- and school boards -- would do better to embrace the competition as an opportunity for students to receive a better education and a challenge to do better. That's not too much to ask.
The editorial refers to a December 15 attempt by TPS board members Brian Hunt and Lana Turner-Addison to drop the lawsuit. The motion failed by a 4-2 vote.
(Crossposted at BatesLine.)