Are Charter Schools Worth Saving? (by Guest Blogger Amanda Martin-Tully)

SchoolingPoster_CoverImage_600x718-280The term “charter school”, in my opinion has been grossly distorted into a “hot button issue” keyword. The original design of a charter school was to create a learning environment that was less traditional than the public school system, in which would then result in higher test scores and a more encompassing education.

As Diane Ravitch states in her book, charter schools aren’t working. They are not producing any better results than public schools and in some cases are actually far worse. The lack of oversight and ability to manipulate the system are rampant.

Questions:

What I am wondering … how can we try to reinvent the idea of the charter school? Or should we? Maybe instead of spending money to find alternative means of educating our youth, we spend that money on fixing our public schools. My question is, are charter schools worth saving? Or even giving a second thought at this point?

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5 thoughts on “Are Charter Schools Worth Saving? (by Guest Blogger Amanda Martin-Tully)

  1. Amanda great post! You’re absolutely right about “charter school” being viewed as in your opinion as a “hot button issue”. I know I do….I thought “charter schools” were for “bad kids” who don’t want to go to school and take the easy route to just finish school.
    I do understand that for some youth regular public schools just don’t work for them and do very well at charter schools. I’m wondering though; if we as a “society” have placed a negative label when it comes to “charter schools”.

    • I very much think there is a negative association when people think about charter schools or alternative schools. I assumed for a long time that they were for kids that must have “something wrong with them” because they didn’t learn in the traditional seven hour, multi-class school format. I’m embarrassed to say that I thought this for so long… especially after experiencing Upward bound, even for such a small period I realize how much more enjoyable it was than the high school I remember.

  2. I was looking more into the issue of charter schools while I logged some blogging hours on other education sites, and found this article in the Tampa Bay Times.

    http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/maxwell-charter-schools-chart-a-segregated-course/2133397

    My personal thoughts on charter schools are much the same as what has already been said. They’re like so many other aspects of our public education system; people complain about problems, but seldom put in the time to investigate suitable alternatives to offer as a solution. In fact, many people complain based solely on misconceptions (i.e. “community college is for people who screwed off in high school and didn’t get accepted to a 4-year university”) that they’ve picked up from hearsay, rather than making an effort to get their facts straight first.

    But as this article illustrates, charter schools are just one part of a much larger, more complex, multifaceted problem with the entire public education system. This trend of segregation makes me think that charter schools may have been worth saving at one time, but now I feel that they no longer serve their original purpose. They’ve abandoned that purpose in favor of marketing to certain demographics, catering to racist fears to fulfill capitalist values.

    I think the focus should be on fixing the entire system from top to bottom instead of putting so much energy into villifying one facet because it is more visible. Charter schools are a problem, yes, but so is standardized testing, among many other “hot button” items.

  3. From what I have read, charter schools do seem to be putting up the numbers. However, with the low amount of kids it even helps, the amount of money being spent on them that could be spent on helping out public schools doesn’t feel worth it. If money was spent on the public schools instead of these charter and alternative schools, there would be no need to have kids wanting/needing the more attention and help in a classroom. If we want to keep charter schools, there needs to be more available and more students being helped through them for it to be worth it.

  4. I agree. If the money spend on charter schools was put into traditional public schools, we could afford to hire more teachers, maybe giving those students who do not do well in traditional school setting the kind of teacher interaction they need. With the money being put into traditional schools, we would afford to have a classroom for the students who would do better in a “Charter school setting”.

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