I remember when the idea of charter schools was first introduced. Charters would provide innovative schools whose basic purpose was “to save poor kids from failing public schools.” Vouchers had the same rationale.

Charters would provide better academics, more transparency, and more accountability. Charters would require less funding than public schools because they would be free of bureaucracy. Parents would hold them accountable by pulling their kids out. The competition with charters would improve public schools.

None of this turned out to be true.

Consider South Carolina. Entrepreneurs are using the charter law to create competition for private schools, at least on the sports field.

The moment was nearly nine years in the making.

A large crowd was on hand in January to see the Gray Collegiate Academy War Eagles basketball teams play in the school’s new on-campus gymnasium in West Columbia. No more bus rides downtown to Allen University, where Gray played most of its home games since opening in 2014.

“It brings everything that we have been working toward for nine years, full force,” Gray Collegiate athletic director and football coach Adam Holmes said. “There is nothing that we don’t have and can’t work toward to get.

“Our academics is second to none. Now, we have a turf football and soccer stadium, state-of-the-art gym, baseball, softball fields on campus. Hopefully, this will elevate us even more.” Less than two months later, Gray’s boys and girls basketball teams won state championships.

In the past 12 months, Gray also won state titles in softball and competitive cheer, and it won the 2021 football state title.

What once was a dream for Gray Collegiate was now reality. But for many of the high school teams that have had to play the War Eagles, the milestone of Gray adding new on-campus facilities might sound like more of a nightmare.

In their eyes, here is a burgeoning Goliath in athletics, a public charter school with advantages in attendance guidelines and whispers of recruiting tactics that result in all-star rosters that can dominate opponents. Gray and other charter schools — along with several private schools that compete in the public school league — are increasingly dominating small school athletics in South Carolina.

In the current school year, 13 of the 16 S.C. High School League fall and winter sports team championships in Class A and Class 2A were won by charter or private schools.

Administrators at traditional schools are starting to push back. One, the superintendent of Fairfield County schools, said he would not force teams in his district to play games against Gray if they didn’t want to.

The tension is pushing high school sports in South Carolina to a tipping point that could reshape not only their structure and oversight but force a fundamental reckoning on how the state deals with core issues such as fairness, sportsmanship and the boundaries of competition.

Read more at: https://www.thestate.com/sports/high-school/article271087367.html#storylink=cpy

Please open the link and keep reading. Is this why we needed charter schools? To create an athletic powerhouse that dominates the state?