Strong opinions of charter schools abound, but knowledge about how they actually work doesn’t always follow. A PDK/Gallup poll earlier this year showed some of the general confusion: Nearly half of the respondents said charter schools can charge tuition or teach religion (neither of which they can do).
The poll didn’t ask any questions about charter school authorizers, potentially because authorizing is a more complicated subject. In D.C., for example, the Public Charter School Board has a highly developed framework for authorizing, monitoring, and closing charter schools. But what does that mean?
To learn more, I spoke with Melodi Sampson, who has worked with charter schools on both the inside and the outside. She spent nearly four years working at Imagine Southeast PCS in Ward 8, before its charter was revoked by PCSB. (At one point during her tenure, she was named Non-Instructional Employee of the Year.) Now, she works for PCSB as a strategy and analysis associate.
We talked about her personal charter school evolution, her views of PCSB’s work, and her thoughts on Jesús Aguirre’s job (the state superintendent of education in D.C.). Read more below.