The Winners and Losers in the Lottery…and the Price We Pay (by Guest Blogger Danielle Rawlins)

the lotteryThe lottery. The first thought that comes to mind is, WINNER! You enter a lottery with the mindset that you have the chance of winning; money, car, or house? But how about entering a lottery in the hopes of getting a good education? You don’t have a goal of wanting to win money, you just want your child to have the best possible chance of succeeding.

We all know the American public school system is not up to par. It is failing our children every day, and there has not been much successful action to change it. The countries new attempt at fixing the education of our children is charter schools, a new innovative way in leading the “change” for public schools. Sound too good to be true? Well your right! The catch is that charter schools are not open for all children. There is limited room, so there is only space for limited students. You actually have to enter a lottery for each charter school you wish to have your child attend, and then you wait. Each charter school has their own random selection process, and the result is only a few lucky winners out of thousands. The winners get to start their next school year at a new charter school with a bright future, and the non winners go back to their failing schools. It is astonishing to actually feel that in order to receive the best education, you feel the need to apply to charter schools because your own school is lacking.

The statistics show that charter schools do have successful results, children are more likely to graduate, results are higher than public schools, students are passing classes. But what about the rest of the public school students? So charter schools are successful for the few students that are lucky enough to attend, what about the majority of the students who didn’t win? They are the losers, they return to the schools that are not succeeding and fall back into the unnoticed cracks. What is going to be done for them? Like Joann Weiner, contributor to Women Up and author of Charter School Lottery Gambles With Futures “it becomes painfully clear early on that lottery winners gain a ticket to success, while the losers are doomed to an inferior public school education.” We cannot let this be the future for our children.

Why doesn’t the government take the money, time, attention, and effort they put towards the limited number of charter schools and try to re-innovate, reenergize, and restructure all the struggling public schools (because that is where the majority of our students are at and that is where we are failing them). I believe that we need stop creating new programs, schools, regulations with our nations education and actually dive head first into fixing the schools we already have. Stop making plans for new programs to start with incoming kindergartners, and help the current students! Don’t create schools that offer the best, just to limit the number of students that can be admitted. We can’t let this continue, ALL children deserve a bright successful academic future,  not just the lucky ones.

Questions:

What are your feelings about the new charter school system and lottery?

Do you think this is a good start for changing the public school system?

Would you want to enter the lottery for your child?

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6 thoughts on “The Winners and Losers in the Lottery…and the Price We Pay (by Guest Blogger Danielle Rawlins)

  1. Great post Danielle!
    I personally do not like the lottery system. I would imagine it would be scary as a parent to have to wait and see if your child got into the school they wanted to attend! I would also imagine it would be discouraging to the student who did not get in. My brother attends a school that used a lottery system, and I remember him being so nervous waiting to see if he got into the school he had been wanting to attend since kindergarten! I understand why they use a lottery system though. I think it is because they want to keep the class sizes smaller, which as we all know, is a great thing! But Maybe there is a different way of handling all this?

  2. I’ve always felt strongly about how we can have public schools and charter schools work together instead of against each other. It makes sense to me that when you are driving competition at the expense of our nation’s future, then there is something seriously wrong with it. I think a lot of it might be that people think competition will motivate people to improve and create better education systems which will then fight for the best students. But how can we compete, when all of it needs more funding? Isn’t the point of quality education to better provide our children with opportunities? How will they get a chance at these opportunities when they are turned away from the very tools which will take them there?

  3. I personally don’t like the lottery system. I would not want my child to be place on a pot and wait to see if they will be chosen. I feel this really creates a division and competition with charter schools and public schools with funding and teachers.

  4. I agree with you Christine, traditional schools and charter schools need to be working together. They both (should) have the same goal; education. I don’t understand why they are working against each other. But how do we get charter schools and traditional schools working together?

  5. Danielle I think that if there was a way to make more public schools run like Charter that would be perfect. I was watching the movie Won’t Back Down and in the movie there was a scene where Maggie Gyllenhaal’s daughter was in a lottery for a school and didn’t get in and it was heart breaking to watch because out of hundreds of students only a small handful were accepted. I wouldn’t know another way for students to be picked to be accepted into a school like that because if they went by the child there are too many issues that arise from that but instead we need to figure out a way to make our public schools more desirable schools to go to. I don’t think I would enter my child in a lottery but I don’t know for sure because if I desperately want my child into a certain school I would use every available source to get them in so its hard to say.

  6. I couldn’t agree more–we need to redirect our focus back onto our existing public schools and the flaws and failures in their systems rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel” and come up with a completely brand new approach and system. We have the available resources, funds, passion, drive, and politics to make the necessary changes, but the problem has gotten so out of hand and so tangled that it seems no one knows where to start. It is because of that very fact, that it seems no one in a position of power is willing to start the untangling process, because it just seems like too much. How bad can we let it get, can it really get any worse? At what point do we all collectively say, “enough is enough–its time for radical change and radical improvement” ?

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