What Do We Mean by 'Public'?
Hmmm. Charter schools.... I've written about this before. I work at a charter school, so I am obviously not anti-charter. And, in the case of my school and others organized a common interest, purpose, or culture, I think a charter fills a previously unfilled need. Then there are charters like KIPP or Yes Prep, that are places meant for high achieving kids in low-performing school districts. Yeah, it'd be better if public schools could rise to the challenge of educating high-achievers to the level of higher income schools. Yet, it's not happening. A charter school does seem to be a good option in the interim... a way for a highly motivated kid or family to more likely get into a good college. OK. That's my theory. I don't really know about the regularity with which charter schools are helping high performers that would otherwise attend low performing schools.
I guess, like everything, there's a large gray area. Of course there are both good and bad charter schools. And mostly schools that are neither good nor bad. And since we don't really have any trusted ways to measure which schools are "good" and "bad," there aren't really clear steps to in improving the "bad" schools.