America's government-managed schools are a mess. On international math tests, U.S. students rank behind countries like Hungary. It's one reason I called my special "Stupid in America." The bigger reason is that it is stupid to trust something important like education to a government monopoly.
But, as I write in the my syndicated column this week, there is good news:
Cool things are starting to happen in classrooms.
I was surprised to meet kids who said they like school. What? I found school boring. How can it be that these fourth-graders tell me that they look forward to going to school and that math is "rockin' awesome"?
Those kids attend one of those new charter schools. Charters let them escape the bureaucracy of regular schools, including, often, teachers union rules. These schools compete for kids because parents can always choose another school. That makes them better.
How do the charter schools achieve better results?
...charters do something that regular public schools rarely do: fire teachers. One charter principal calls it "freeing up a person's future."
You cannot maintain quality unless you can fire people, said Deborah Kenny, founder of Harlem Village Academies.
Read the column for more on the innovative learning strategies that the charter schools use.