Charter schools are ok, as long as they are funded by and accountable to the
state so we can maintain a fair educational system. The downside of charter
schools is the slow disintegration of neighborhood schools and the gradual
undermining of community that results.
And yet in States where the average per pupil spending far exceeds States like
Utah and Idaho, we have not seen anything like the innovation and across the
board success taking place in private and charter schools. Why is that?The answer is simple – public school monopoly.As long as we
leave the “your kids attend the school closest to your house”
geographic monopoly in place, our children will continue to fall behind the rest
of the world.Ironically (based on the silly “Left/Right”
politics of this debate in our country), many European countries have already
figured this out (e.g., Sweden & France) and have moved to a voucher system
with very positive results. Money of course is a factor, and no
question we should fund a voucher program adequately, but based on how
competitive vs. monopolistic markets function, a voucher system will likely
provide much more bang-for-the-buck than our current system.
Problem with charter schools: Those students who leave the charter school after
a short time are funded at the charter school for the entire year. If they
return to public ed, the money still stays with the charter school. Many leave
part way through the year because of higher expectations for parent involvement.
Many leave part way through the year because they don't meet the behavior
expectations of the Charter School. Few students are permitted by
charter schools to attend charter schools after the school year has begun, so
the money flow in the reverse direction is almost none. Public schools must
accept everyone -- even those who parents refuse to be involved and those whose
behavior is not appropriate.
School choice already exists. However, one thing that repubs hate is to actually
be held accountable for your choices! I want to go on a vacation to Hawaii
instead of Vernal. I demand CHOICE! Should taxpayers then finance my choice to
go to Hawaii? Same thing here. Want choice? Cool. Then pay for it!
Don't ask taxpayers to pay for your private decisions.
@ The Real Maverick – “Should taxpayers then finance my choice to go
to Hawaii?”What an amazingly poor analogy…First – educating our children is one of the few things all people agree
is a (maybe “the”) necessary component of a civil, not to mention
prosperous society.Second – the evidence for this fact is that
virtually every State constitution in the country asserts this as one of the
primary purposes of State/Local government. Finally – for the
poor and many middle class there is no choice since they are effectively priced
out of the private education market. And even for those who can afford it, they
are essentially paying for their child’s education twice – first
through property taxes that only support public schools, and second every time
they write a check (using after-tax income) to pay the private school
tuition.This system is undeniably monopolistic and perhaps even
crazy, but it is most certainly not a system built on choice.
The tax payers need to see how much money is spent on charter schools vs. public
schools. Sadly that bill didn't make it out of committee this year. And
the swing votes spouse worked at a charter school. Interesting. Come on Utah, charter schools are bleeding the state education system dry.
More money is going to buildings, utilites and administration with little up
side. This money could be used for students in the public schools. If you want
your kid to have a private school experience, then pay for it.We
should also look in to how many legislators have money invested in charter
school buildings. I think the number would shock many.
Putting our son into a Charter School was the BEST educational decision that my
wife and I made for our son, bar none. I got a distasteful lesson in civics
when I realized that the public school district used "constructivist new
math". My wife (math major and instructor at local college) and I (physics
major) spoke to the elementary ed curriculum coordinator to explain why
"Math Investigations" is an inadequate elementary math curriculum for
future engineers and scientists. We showed her peer reviewed studies from the
US Department of Education showing her math curricula put kids 9 percentage
points on standardized tests behind other traditional curricula. She
wouldn't even look at the paper. "Public servants" are
right because they say they are right, and they are the experts so you MUST
trust what they say. The principal at the charter school said, "Oh, so that
is why all the kids coming from the public school don't know fractions or
how to multiply."Between the studies I've seen and my
personal experience, Charter Schools are a lifeline out of academic mediocrity.
Shame on "Educators" more concerned with their paycheck than the real
education of children.
"The Real Maverick""However, one thing that repubs hate
is to actually be held accountable for your choices!"I believe I
should be held accountable for my choices, but that I should not be held
accountable for your choices."I want to go on a vacation to
Hawaii instead of Vernal. I demand CHOICE! Should taxpayers then finance my
choice to go to Hawaii?"This is a bizarre analogy. Does the
government pay for your vacation to Vernal? If not, then your analogy fails. A
truer analogy is that somehow in order to do business you have to travel to LA.
You are given two options. One is to take Amtrak. Slow, always asking for more
government subsidies and government run. Or take Southwest, which offers more
options and is faster. If they don't provide a good service, then they go
out of business. If the primary concern is cost, if the cost is roughly the
same, then why should it matter to the person paying for the trip which option
is used? A superior product is a superior product. Corporations have to
compete, GOVERNMENT ALWAYS DEMANDS MORE MONEY and never has to show results.
Education is not a school. Education is a semi-complex system that involves the
student, parents, teachers and school. If any of those components are lacking it
adversely affects student performance. You can have a high
expectation, high parental involvement area like Utah that does more with less
but if you counted all the time the parents are involved you would see the cost
is the same as where they have to pay aides and additional teachers to make up
for lack of parental involvement. And where a child is unmotivated
and frustrated with learning there is additional cost of time and skill whether
it's paid for in money or volunteerism. It's all basically the same of
education = what we put into it.
The advantage of charter schools is that teachers answer to the parents.
District officials in my experience ignore parent concerns. I asked my district
officials to offer a non dumbed down honors level mathematics such as used to be
prevalent in Utah schools once again. They ignored me.The advantage
of neighborhood schools is they are close by.Why not combine the two
advantages. Make neighborhood schools into charter schools. This will decrease
costs and increase school responsiveness to parental concerns..
There is no silver bullet to education, but as the article mentions, one of the
things that charter schools are doing well is adding more time. And
more time is something that doesn't need to be limited to charter schools.
Over 1,000 schools in the country including public, charter and private, have
expanded learning time. Especially for low income areas where students
don't necessarily have the after school activities or a safe/supervised
home environment. There are a lot of moving parts in education. We
have been keeping time as a constant at 180 days a year for 6.5 hours a day on
average. Let's be flexible and use time as a resource to close the
achievement gap. It is worth the cost. www.timetosucceed.com