Lee  Culpepper

The Marine Corps’ mystique entices motivated recruits. Its battlefield ferocity strikes fear in the hearts of its enemies. The Corps is something nearly everyone admires, but only a few have what takes to make the commitment.

Marines do not make excuses; they find ways to accomplish their mission – often without assets others require. Marines pride themselves on their ability to “accomplish more with less.”

Charter schools have benefited from a similar philosophy. They, too, “accomplish more with less.” They entice committed families and teachers searching for something better in public education. They also strike fear in the hearts of teacher unions and slippery politicians.

Overall, charter schools have produced at least as good -- but typically better results than traditional public schools. They have done so without assets their competition demands. Charters have succeeded despite receiving less taxpayer funding. They are completely on their own to pay for classroom facilities. Whether they build, lease, or restore property, charters own the problem.

Charters also highlight the garbage surrounding “teacher certification.” Depending on the state, charters have flexibility in their hiring practices. Proportionally, they use fewer “certified teachers,” yet charters match or surpass their competition’s results.

They endure politically correct “deficiencies,” as well, like insufficient racial diversity. Many charters specifically target at-risk populations -- which are often minorities. Incredibly, their opponents assert charters support segregation.

By design, charters operate with greater autonomy and fewer regulations than district schools. In return, charters promise better accountability for academic results and fiscal bookkeeping. But teacher unions exert tremendous energy to cripple charters with the same regulations and central control that make public schools the disasters they are.

Granted, some charters emphasize the same politically correct fads district schools do -- self-esteem, diversity, or outcome-based instruction (i.e. low standards). Some have experienced accounting scandals that occasionally embarrass traditional schools. Such charters are like Marines who humiliate the Corps by failing to live up to its high standards (e.g. Congressman Frank Murtha).


Lee Culpepper

Lee Culpepper is a recovering high school English teacher and former Marine. He currently teaches firearm courses and has resumed his passion for writing.