Bottom line in all cases I think everyone here would agree, is that we do what is best for the children. In certain cases in which you may find yourself in, a charter school scenario seems better to achieve that, than that situation’s public school alternative.
I guess the opposing point to your argument, would be that instead of allowing charter schools to siphon funds away from public school systems, hard changes are now needed to be implemented inside the public schools. Raise the revenue, invest in quality, and make the public school system move itself forward to do what is best for the children.
Then, the charter’s group counter-argument to THAT…, is: that is exactly what existed before charter schools were brought in! What you suggest didn’t happen then! Instead as situations got worse, administrators were told to deal with it; use good judgment. Charters are what brought in the necessary competition and now therefore they are responsible for today reforming public schools.
The retort for THAT, would be of what I spoke before: that too many mouths at the trough make thin pigs. No one benefits from too many hungry mouths fighting over too scarce resources…
And that is where this argument seems to lie. Am I seeing our differences now as question of perspective? Sort of like from where one is looking, sort of determines how one sees this problem?
Let me elaborate. charter supporters speak of charters making positive inroads on children lucky enough to attend their schools … So from the perspective of those particular kids (our number one priority) the charter moving in and siphoning resources from a neighborhood dying entity, is a very good thing… Seen from that perspective I’ll agree….
However,… as a society one has to have the broad approach. One has to look for the Ying that corresponds to the Yang… In this case, that Ying would be…. what is happening to those children NOT being put into a charter school?
The answer is….. drumroll…… that they are doing worse then when public schools alone ruled the educational fiefdom. And shockingly, students at charter schools seem across the whole to be doing worse than when public schools alone ruled the educational landscape as well….
And this is where we have to be careful… we can say, look at this Charter… see how well it is doing?
But we must first know … is it doing well comparatively because it is teaching superlatively, or because the students it takes in were originally more highly motivated to succeed in the first place? Had those same students been in public schools, would they now be boosting the public school’s results upward?
So from a theoretical perspective, it appears that the only sane way to determine whether charters have a positive or a negative impact upon societal education as a whole, is to use the numerical data to see how well students are responding now.
Doing so is a lot more complicated than this upcoming explanation, but using a simpler model will allow me to communicate it more easily. … Think if we were to give each student a number based on whether they graduated or not, and make those numbers either a +1 for graduating, or a -1 for not…. and then add up all of an entire city’s students, we would have a number for that district. We could then compare that number with numbers of the past, and also have the future come back to compare with us…
If with Charter schools in the equation, our success (graduation) number for ALL combined Public and Charter students is lower than it was before the time that Charters came in, then despite lots of individual success stories, the concept of starting charters is over the total system, … disruptive… On the other hand, if with Charters our comprehensive success (graduation) number is higher than it was before Charters came in……. then thank heavens, someone brought in charter schools…..
Does that make sense? If we took all of Delaware and compared all the numbers of students who meet the graduation standards before Charter Schools came in to disrupt, and compared that with all the numbers of students who meet the graduations standards now, … we would see, flat out, if that disruption was a positive one, or a negative one! Is that clearer?
I think what has always quantified the difference in perspective between the two camps,… charter versus non-charter, is that one side is adding the negative numbers into the equation, and the other side is strictly only looking at the positive spectrum…
As in positive: … “look this kid was failing but now in a charter he is graduating… Isn’t that great”. Versus,“look over here, these two kids are dropping out of public school while one person graduates from a charter, that’s a combined score of a negative one… We should switch priorities, fund public education and then at least, should the charter wither and fail, we’d have a score of a positive one at the very least. Positive three if the kid in the charter succeeds!”
And if I’m a good writer, I’ve led you right to the solution that should be forming in your mind right now as you read this… The real solution is to refund education, period; allowing for both the successful existing charters to continue, and for adequately funding public education to provide increased opportunities to close the gaps still existing among our students. Remember again, our goal is our children.
Public education thrived post second World War! Only when the tax revolt began and people even considered lowering property taxes and cutting spending, did quality levels of education start declining. We once had a very robust educational system… How can we tell? Our nation today is the byproduct of that intergenerational system stretching beginning and end across the 20th Century.
But somewhere in the 80’s we began to make a conscious choice as a society that we would benefit more if we gave the wealthy more wealth and gave public education and other things… less..
Somewhere in the past we as a society made a conscious choice to allow our nation’s leaders to put less money into education, and keep more for themselves and their friends…. ( of course in fairness, we thought we were going to get some of it too…. Psyche!)
And the longer and longer I look at today’s educational problem and all the millions of pieces that need to be glued back together, the more and more I come to the inevitable conclusion that we simply really need to take that money back, invest it where it should have been all along, and still, keep that same fire in our bellies which we have now, and make education fun again so that great things can happen…..
Just like it probably did for each and every one of us… After all, we’re reading blogs for heaven’s sakes… Where on earth did THAT curiosity come from? Does that make us all sort of weird? lol.