Early in July, the National Education Association released a new policy statement that specifically targeted charter schools. For the AmeriSchools Academy family and other fans of the charter school structure, this new policy has the potential to bring significant repercussions. Here’s what you need to know.

The Main Points of the Policy

The new policy has two specific aims: to limit the growth of charter schools and to increase accountability for charter schools. Officials are calling it a “fundamental shift” in the union’s prior stance on charter schools.

In a statement, NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia said, “Charter schools were started by educators who dreamed of schools in which they would be free to innovate, unfettered by bureaucratic obstacles.” After making the point that they are failing to reach this aim, she said, “This policy draws a clear line between charters that serve to improve public education and those that do not.”

The new policy statement makes it clear that charters must show their necessity in order to meet a specific need of local students. It also indicates the local school board must authorize and monitor the performance of charter schools.

The policy indicates that charter schools should be made to comply with the same rules and regulations of traditional public schools, including the regulations about teacher certification. This is one area where the policy stands in direct contrast to current law in Arizona and many other states.

What This Means for Charter Schools

The NEA is not able to pass legislation, so the new policy has no immediate implications for charter schools. However, the 3-million member organization has significant clout in impacting policy on the federal and state levels. So, the new policy could eventually affect legislation that would impact the way charter schools are run.

For now, AmeriSchools Academy will continue providing the same safe, inviting and effective learning environment our students and families have come to expect and trust. In Arizona, current legislation makes it possible for us to focus on the quality of our educational products, rather than the specific credentials of our educators, all while meeting current Arizona Standards. If you are looking for a quality education for your children, and feel that the current options within the traditional public school system aren’t working well, we challenge you to give AmeriSchools Academy a closer look.