Charter schools are public schools, often started by educators and parents dissatisfied with regular schools, writes the Washington Post's Jay Mathews. They are typically independent of many district rules. President Obama has been telling charter authorizers, mostly city, state and university boards, to get rid of stinkers. The nonprofit Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) also has been urging the D.C. charter school board in that direction, and may succeed if Ideal closes. Did it have to take so long? I don’t think so. Two years ago Ideal was clearly a loser, but as often happens, unjustifiable optimism intruded.


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