Tuthill on teacher empowerment: charter schools encourage teachers to start their own shop

RedefinED host Doug Tuthill visited the Dale Jackson Show on WVNN news talk radio in Alabama this morning by phone to talk with guest radio host state Rep. Phil Williams about school choice in Florida (podcast here). Doug and the Alabama state representative met in late November at the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C., and Williams wanted to learn more about the political factors that facilitated the expansion of charter schools in the Sunshine State.

Williams wants to introduce his own charter initiative in Alabama and asked Doug for advice on how he should proceed. Doug’s reply: Don’t let your opponents falsely claim that an expansion of school choice is an attack on public school teachers and public education.

Charter schools are very pro-teacher … I always resented the fact that a doctor can start a doctor’s office, a lawyer can start a law firm, an architect can start a firm, a CPA can start a firm — but if you’re a teacher, people think you’re too incompetent or not capable of running your own shop. One of the great things about the charter school movement in Florida is that it allows teachers to create their own charter schools. Continuing to treat teachers like 1930s blue collar assembly line workers is underutilizing their talents.

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BY Adam Emerson

Editor of redefinED, policy and communications guru for Florida education nonprofit