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Maryland Begins to Experiment with Charter Schools

Monocacy Valley Montessori School in Frederick, Maryland is the first charter school in the state. Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. recently proposed legislation that would make it easier for parents to start charter schools. The charter school movement has gained wide popularity nationally as a way to offer school choice and alternatives to low-income children trapped in poor-performing schools. Yet some researchers doubt the effectiveness of charter schools. Amy Stuart Wells, a professor at Teachers College studied charter schools in California and other states and found wide variations in the quality of the schools. Wells also found that most children enrolled in charter schools have parents committed to their education. Many charter schools have been shut down; most, according to Wells, for financial mismanagement. Wells also says that charter schools often do not serve the neediest students because they attract parents who are relatively affluent and involved in their children's education. Wells said charter schools were "supposed to promote competition in the public schools, the schools were going to be more accountable for student outcomes, they were supposed to be more efficient - it just really hasn't panned out." The article, entitled "A Hope not Fully Fulfilled" appeared in the February 9th edition of Digital City-Baltimore.previous page