You've got to wonder whether they teach George Orwell's "Animal Farm" at charter schools -- particularly the part about how all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Because the lesson doesn't seem to be sinking in.

Last week, folks from local charter schools asked lawmakers to appoint Henry Copeland to the Charleston County School Board. See, there's a vacancy because former member Mary Ann Taylor ran screaming from the room when some of her colleagues suggested giving themselves a raise to $15,000 a year.

So far, seven potential replacements have offered their services. Which makes you wonder why so many people want a job that pays $25 per meeting. But whatever.

The charter schools have been all over this thing, sending emails to parents and distributing sign-up sheets to petition for Copeland's appointment to the open seat.

If the staff at, say, Burke or Wando tried to start a grass-roots effort to re-elect President Barack Obama, the state would probably burn those schools down.

The rule of law

Charter schools are funny animals.

They are independent entities, controlled by their own boards. But they are technically public schools, at least when it's convenient -- like at budget time. But they aren't subject to school board policy, beyond the fact that the board allows them to exist.

Which makes it kind of hypocritical of them to try to influence board policy.

Overall, the charter schools -- particularly Orange Grove Elementary and Charleston Charter School for Math & Science -- do great work and have amazing parental involvement. It would be wise for the district to study them closely and copy what's working.

But bottom line, they are public state schools, and you can't bend the rules for some schools and not others. And state law says public schools can't use public funds, time or property to influence an election. And make no mistake, this is an election.

If they take public money, charter schools have to be accountable to some rules.

Particularly ones concerning politics.

Silence is golden

Charter school advocates feel strongly about this. Despite Superintendent Nancy McGinley's claims to the contrary, the charter crowd doesn't think she feels all warm and fuzzy about them.

So naturally the charter school folks want some friendly faces on the school board to make life easier for them. Of course, few people would call the combative Copeland a "friendly face." And he probably wouldn't make life easier for anyone.

He'd probably make Elizabeth Kandrac and Chris Collins look circumspect.

The school board doesn't need to be a rubber stamp, but it doesn't need to look like Congress. Copeland's antics led the board to ban him from some meetings, before they thought better of it and backed down. Perhaps this sideshow is not the politician these schools actually need representing them publicly.

But whoever the charter folks want on the board, they need to keep it to themselves.

Follow Brian Hicks on Twitter @BriHicks_PandC.