Saturday, September 12, 2009

JMO - Public Schools

I am not an advocate for charter schools and especially vouchers or public funds for charter schools. I don't care how well they do, and the research is still out but so far they've been shown to be a wash compared to public schools - meaning some are better, many equal and some more worse, and I don't care how cost effective they appear to be. They drain funds, students, teachers, and adminisration from where they're most needed, public schools.

The reason many charter school work, or appear to by the propopents, is that they aren't burdened with the history and residuals of public schools and education, and not bound by those same laws and regulations which the public has long established and really demand of our schools, such as cost management, accountability, school boards, meetings, political oversight, and so on.

Charter schools get a free pass and they give the middle and upper class opportunties to focus the education they want for their children than what the rest of us get. This means that while a few are good, even better, most aren't as some are religiously-focused, some simply choose not to teach some subjects, and some simply ignore the realities of the world. That's what public eduction provides, reality and the wealth of experience.

I don't hide the fact that many public schools aren't good, some down right horrible for their education and treatment of students. But you don't fix those with charter schools, but by improving those schools. Our nation needs teachers, well paid and rewarded. Not the "No Child Left Behind" type of help, but real help than simply setting threshold which don't make sense.

Ah, don't agree with this idea? I'm responding from my own and the school then. It's like everyone's, short (3-4 years when) and narrow (1 to a few schools). It's all I have to use. I'm not in the education field in any way, such as a teacher, administrator, counselor, etal. Just a student who got through 3 years in one high school and attending a dozen schools in the previous 9 years of school.

All of it in publiic schools, some on military bases, even one in a 4-story condemend building. That's my experience. It's all I got and added the knowledge from the news, friends, family, etc., and also like everyone's, it's just my opinion based on that, nothing really different, just mine.

But I know charter schools will not make public schools and education better. It will only rob them of necessary funds, divert resources, and will not help future citizens. The focus should be on public schools and education. The funds, the resources, the teachers, the capital investment, etc. should go there and nowhere else.

I'm not against private schools, so long as no federal, state or local government or public funds are used. If they want to compete with public schools or rich people want to spend the money for their children, fine, but not with public money. And not with public vouchers whether it's with public funds or tax relief. Neither.

The discussion shouldn't be on charter schools but ways to improve public schools and education, and look at better rules and regulations to let the professional teachers do their job with a decent salaries and resources. Teachers shouldn't have to use their own money for school resources. Schools shouldn't be faced with poor buildings. Students faced with overflowing classes and less resources.

The discussion should be about our children, what's best to provide the necessary education in the world to, to make them better adults and citizens, especially global citizens, not just Americans, something most charter schools ignore or neglect. It's about the whole experience students get with a public education, and yes, like it or not - mine wasn't all that happy - it's what everyone does, or should do.

And if there are problems as we know there are with children and teenagers. That's where rules need to be updated and enforced to ensure all studends are safe and secure, and none are victims of discrimination and violence. That's where the discussion should be, not "Let's get my kids out of there, and let the government pay for it.", but "How can we do better and let's focus on solutions."

Charter schools are simply escaping the problem and letting the less fortunate deal with the mess and problems. That's not America or American. We don't shirk from problems like this. We don't run away. We don't demand the government pay for our exit. We don't hide in the cloak of isolation. We simply don't.

There are too many professionals who can solve the problems, all they need are the resources. Yes, we need accountability with the funds, as we have, but we've also bound them by public control, often for personal agendas and views not related to education, but religion. We need to free them to do right for everyone. And we need to start writing the real checks for it. Not writing checks to escapists who don't have the interest or the willingness.

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