Wednesday letters: Charter schools a viable option

January 15, 2014 

— Associate Editor Cindi Ross Scoppe argues that public charter schools are duplicative, “opening up where there already are enough schools with enough capacity to serve all students” (“Building charter schools, or growing government?” Jan. 2).

This would be true if all students and all schools were identical and interchangeable. But they aren’t. Ms. Scoppe’s argument is analogous to reasoning that we don’t need S.C. State or Clemson because there is excess capacity at Francis Marion and the University of South Carolina, or vice versa.

South Carolina’s diverse institutions of higher learning, from our superb technical college system to our most selective universities, serve different populations with different needs. They offer options so students and parents can choose the best fit, based on many factors. The same is true for public charter schools, which provide alternatives to one-size-fits-all traditional schools.

If Ms. Scoppe would speak to the parents and students who have chosen public charter schools instead of the local school — including the hundreds on waiting lists for admission — she will learn why personalization in education is so important, and why school dollars should follow the child.

On the other hand, I share Ms. Scoppe’s concerns about the growth of government. I advise her to look at Obamacare, which costs $1.4 trillion — with a $1 billion website that doesn’t work — as a good starting point.

Mick Zais

State Superintendent of

Education

Columbia

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