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Conservatives Fund Charter School Initiative

Jackson Hole Star-Tribune By BRODIE FARQUHAR Published May 18, 2006
Funding for the planning phase and outreach efforts in support of a proposed charter school here came from politically conservative organizations that support vouchers and charter schools. The founders of the proposed Wind River Community School, however, don't appear to fit the profile of the national charter school movement. "We do not support vouchers," said Rachael Price, president of Adventures in Learning, a nonprofit group that has been pushing for a charter school in Lander. "We just want a choice within the public school system." [...] Nathan Newman, policy director for Progressive States Network, didn't have a problem with a group of progressive Lander citizens taking conservative money to advocate for a charter school. "I don't think they'll be serving the agenda (of the conservative groups)," Newman said. The real question is the impact of charter schools on public school systems, he said. "Generally, charter schools tend to fracture public school systems and leave them worse off than before," Newman said. Some charter schools do succeed, he said, but there's also a high rate of failure. There's always the promise that charter schools can do better, Newman said, but charter schools always seem to need more outside money to achieve those better results. That seems to imply that charter schools succeed when they have more money per student, Newman said -- something that conservatives vigorously dispute.