Reconsider Charter Schools for W.Va.

West Virginia is one of the few states that does not authorize charter schools as a means of spurring education reform. That ought to change this year.

Charter schools can receive taxpayer funding but are privately operated. They also can be exempt from some rules, such as those involving seniority for employees, that govern public schools.

Sen. Joe Manchin, while he was governor, pushed for the Legislature to approve charter schools in West Virginia. At the time, last year, the move was seen as a key to making the state eligible for federal “Race to the Top” school grants. But state officials, citing absurd restrictions in the “Race to the Top” program, dropped out of the competition.

So frustrated are some proponents of charter schools that they are giving up on their campaign. We hope they reconsider.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a proponent of education reform, should include charter schools on his agenda for the upcoming session of the Legislature. Then, lawmakers should approve a thoughtful plan to allow charter schools in West Virginia, as part of a comprehensive education reform program.