School Choice: Charter Schools in Montgomery

When it comes to schooling, one size doesn’t fit all. Charter schools are one of the easier ways to give parents some choice about their children’s education. Charter schools also provide some wiggle room from the stifling bureaucracy of the Board of Education / teacher union nexus. Charter schools have been a successful alternative to regular public schools all around the country.

A principal need for charters is to get independence from the bureaucratic and union-dominated mentality of the local school board or district. The Center for Education Reform points out that the best charter schools are in locations where there can be more than one chartering authority (e.g., at the county and state level).

But that creates a danger for the public school monopoly, which can’t tolerate the idea of someone else doing these outside of their control.

Maryland, in fact, is considered one of the worst states for charter schools. For facilitating school choice and focusing on childrens’ needs, the District’s charter law was graded “A”, one of the best in the country. Maryland got a “D”, rating as the sixth weakest charter law in the country.

Yet, despite that, there are now 32 charter schools operating in Maryland, educating nearly 6,000 students. In Baltimore City, charter schools rank among the top performing schools in the whole public school system. In Montgomery — zero. Why?

The schools bureaucracy / teacher union colossus has fought the idea of charters tooth and nail. In fact, the Board of Education has taken an explicit lobbying position against allowing other chartering authorities:

“The Montgomery County Board of Education supports local control [read, their control] of educational policy, administration, and curriculum, and opposes any legislative initiatives that have the effect of reducing local and state Board authority….”

Unable to get past the control freaks at the MoCo Board of Ed – which rejected their charter proposal twice — the parents at the Jaime Escalante Charter School tried appealing to the state. The school board rejected the application without even providing a statement of the rationale for the denial, instead referring to oral remarks that were made at a public hearing!

The result is that there are no charter schools in Montgomery County. The Board of Education is working to pursue its own interests, not the interests of children. Because of them, if you don’t have the resources to attend a private school, you don’t have any options.

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7 Comments on “School Choice: Charter Schools in Montgomery”


  1. […] Is Night And Day…Or North And South, and Zinzindor of Leviathan Montgomery, who goes into the lack of charter schools in his home county of […]


  2. Hi Zinzador! Nice to find your blog and thanks for commenting on mine. Like I wrote, up until the past week I’d given about zero thought to charter schools, and then “bam” it’s everywhere. I definitely will give your blog–present and archives–a close read.

    (btw, your comment was rescued from my spam folder. Have no idea why.)

  3. Mom Says:

    So disappointed I ran into this article first as I am searching for education alternatives and while on Dept of Education website I read a great deal about Charter Schools…..It is my opinion that the BORED of Education in Mont. Cnty predicts that a drastic shift in enrollment would take place if Montgomery County introduced charter schooling — control would be lost and the “you’re stuck with me deal with it attitude” would have to diminish. Trudge on….

  4. Sara Says:

    I had no idea there are no charter schools in my county! What a dissapointment. I grew up here and now that I have a 3 year old and I’m starting to think of alternatives to my local elementary school, which has a mediocre reputation. Well, now I know what is an issue for me in district 4.

  5. Cristina Says:

    I am really disappointed that Montgomery County is the ONLY southern maryland county that does not have public charter options, specificially a Montessori alternative!

    • Zinzindor Says:

      Things may be looking up, Christina. I recently learned about a new effort to create a charter school in the county. I’ll post more next week.

      • Claire Says:

        I also saw news of a new effort to create a charter school in the county. In fact, I saw an ad soliciting parents to help establish it. Frustratingly, I cannot seem to track the ad down again. Any tips or leads on who to contact for more info? Thank you!


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