A School Is A School

charter school

Well I read this article on charter schools in NYC and how they want to close down or slow the process of charter schools. To me i think that charter schools are a great option for students who need a more one on one learning or needs more attention then most students. Charter schools are good because they are have smaller class room sizes and one teacher and/or possible two. these schools like Portland’s own SEI Academy is a better way for students that fall behind in public schools, need a better structure. To me shutting down any charter school that is doing well for a student is not the best answer. Your shutting down their ability to better themselves especially when most charter schools have minorities living in low income.



17 thoughts on “A School Is A School

  1. I have very complex feelings about charter schools. On one hand, like you mentioned – they allow for culturally-specific and targeted learning opportunities focusing on areas that may be of more relevance and interest to the students, especially for students who struggle in the mainstream classroom. This was the case with myself – I went to CAL in Gresham part-time, a charter school that has multiple career tracks where students take college level courses in their desired area. It was more rigorous and felt like more of a college setting, which I needed at the time. I strongly feel that going to CAL helped me finish high school on a strong note, and prepared me for college. If I had stayed at my home high school, I could have very well lost motivation and fallen into destructive behavior.

    On the other hand, charter schools that have less accountability may not provide a well-rounded or up-to-standard education. I worked with students that went to Azbuka Academy, a charter school aimed at Slavic youth who weren’t succeeding in public school. The education was partially online and partially in class. Although I felt the intentions were good, because the school was a start-up, it lacked the accountability and appropriate systems that would ensure that the kids would succeed, and thus kids took advantage and did not make any significant gains. Although the school had many ESL students, they lacked a strong English language curriculum and the kids, being surrounded by other Russian speaking students, did not advance in their language skills. Eventually the school was shut-down.

    So I do feel conflicted about charter schools – I think they serve a purpose, but they must be well planned and have enough support behind them in order to succeed.

    • It would seem that maybe the next step for those charter schools that are not succeeding as well as others is to partner with organizations that would like to see charter schools succeed to send in people that may be able to pinpoint the aspects that are not working, and help to implement safeties that have worked well elsewhere. I think charter schools are important because where one child may succeed in one place, another may not, and to have alternative choices in education is extremely important.

    • eknepprath-
      With the Azbuka Academy, you mentioned that it was partially online? Do you think that that had a negative impact on the kids success at that charter school?

      • Sasha: I’m not familiar with the curriculum of the Azbuka Academy but would like to point out eknepprath mentioned the school to have many ESL students. English is my first language and I struggle with online courses. With that in mind, I’m curious to know how the partial online education was structured for these types of students. Were they using programs installed onto the desktops? Or were these courses available online? Was it translated into their native languages for easier comprehension? What types of subjects did they teach? What were their success rates by using this tactic? I’m also worried about the influence of technology for the future of education. I’m sure there are successful learning programs available to many students of all ages. However this sounds like a very complicated and expensive addition to the education system. I’m scared that it could be another gateway of endless unfortunate events. The educational system is already struggling with financing general maintenances. The inclusion of technological learning sounds far out of everyone’s budgets.

      • Kelcie- Thank you for pointing out to me the ESL connection. That makes me curious to how that works out also. I wish I new those answers. That would be really interesting to talk about and delve into.

  2. I do understand that there are some questions and/or concerns that arise when charter schools are brought up, but they seem to be doing great in New York and they seem to be penalized for that. I do not agree with this at all especially since the school in queens had all their 2013 graduates got accepted into college. I must say that is a great accomplishment, especially in a diverse school.
    I feel that this school is doing so great that maybe we can try and replicate it and try it out and see if it works with ESL students. There is nothing to lose since the educations system these students (all,not just ESL) are currently in seems to be failing them.

  3. I think one of the big issues with charter schools in Oregon has been the lack of school accountability, leading to struggling kids being filtered out to schools that are not equipped to lead them to success. However, in NYC this does not seem to be the case. From what I’ve read so far, increased accountability and autonomy seem to be some of the highlights of charter schools in NYC. The problems that Bill de Blasio seem to be concerned about are the poor representation of special education and ELL students at charter schools, how co-locations are exceeding building capacities of schools leading to reduced space for city students, and the special treatment of charter schools compared to public schools. I’m still learning about the charter school situation so I don’t feel informed enough to make much of an argument, but I do feel that more of a balance needs to be struck in Oregon, as well as in New York.

    • Rocielle, I’m on the same page as you. I don’t think I know nearly enough about charter schools to make an argument either way for them. However, I do think Oregon charter schools get kind of a bad rap for their lack of accountability. Like most things, charter schools look great in theory, but once put into place, the real flaws begin to show. I think it’s great that charter schools in NYC seem to be working out and benefiting students, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case here in Oregon, and we need to revisit our own policies and allowances for charter schools.

  4. Shawniece,

    Thank you for shedding some light onto charter schools. Until recently I thought that charter schools and private schools where synonymous. Know I realize that I do not completely understand the difference between charter and public schools. What you say about a smaller class size and more one on one teaching sounds appealing. I can also understand why charter schools are important to the populations that attend them. I just wish I had more knowledge as to why anyone would want to prevent a charter school from forming. I remember a during the OCCUPY protests that teachers in Chicago were protesting against them. I found this article that discussed some of the things that education activists requested during the protest. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/education-activists-seek-to-collaborate-with-occupy-wall-street/2011/10/15/gIQAbrDZmL_blog.html . From what I understand charter schools have complete government oversight and are run by corporations. I wonder what the expansion of charter schools would have on our country in the future. What does this mean for the teachers unions? I tried to look into it more but I couldn’t find any definite answers. I really am curious.

  5. The topic of charter schools is not something i am very informed on. This article seemed to demonstrate how passionate many people are about charter schools, either they love them or they hate them. Personally i think that whatever form of school works well for the students is a success. These schools can, and do come in many forms. The Renaissance model they talked about in the article seems to be very effective for the children and community they are serving.
    I think people need to get away from the idea that a one size fits all model is the solution to educational issues. More personalized schools that properly serve their students and families should be the goal and if they come in the form of a charter school i have trouble seeing the issue with that.

    • I agree. It is really important to constantly be looking to improve the educate opportunities for kids today, and it would seem to me that charter schools are definitely a step in the right direction, however, still flawed.

  6. Shawniece,

    I agree with you about not shutting down charter schools. I don’t know to much about charter schools, but after reading a little about them I like how they have smaller class size to help better a students education. Not only that they work one on one to help the children succeed. Like as mentioned in a post earlier what ever form of school helps a child to become successful then I don’t believe the school she be shut down.

  7. Shawniece, I completely agree with you that charter schools are a good alternative for many students. I attended a different type of charter school known as CAL in high school , in which you had to apply to get it. The focus was to have more challenging academic classes than what was offered at the home high school. I know that all charter schools are different in what they teach, but they do have some things in common. Like you stated the class size is much smaller and the main focus seems to be the student and helping them succeed. After reading the article you linked to, I agree that the schools shouldn’t be shut down. These charter schools are something that are helping the students when other high schools can’t. There is a lot of issues that can surround charter schools but in my opinion it can do more good than bad. Hopefully the charter schools in NYC do not get shut down because it seems to be working for the students.

  8. Shawniece, I’m glad that you bring up the issue of charter schools in your post. Like some of the students have said in previous posts, I do not know very much about charter schools or how they operate. The only experience I have with them is on a personal level. My boyfriend attended a charter school for the last two years of his high school career. He has always spoken highly of his time there and said that it was the best choice he and his parents could’ve made. As you note in your post, smaller class sizes allow for more one on one time with the students. This was one of the things my boyfriend has noted was most beneficial to his learning and understanding of material. A couple of years after the charter school opened, it was closed due to lack of funding. It was the only one here in Salem.

    It seems like one of the reasons charter schools have a bad reputation is because of the lack of standards they are required to adhere to. It seems as though it is easier for people to either write off charter schools as a “joke” and discredit them than it is for them to actually research the school they may be criticizing to find out if they are meeting the standards they need to be met. With this said, I do think that charter schools need to be monitored more closely and attentively. Like previous people have said, if students are doing well in a school, why take them away from that? Why can’t administrators just look towards ways to improve these schools? Why does it have to be all or nothing? What are some ways that charter schools can be held more accountable?

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Amira,

      I also did not know much about charter schools. Thanks for sharing your boyfriends experience at charters schools. It really does make me a believer in the system they got going. I think it sucks that charters schools have a bad reputation for having a lack of standards. What are standards suppose to really do? The goal that I imagine all schools having is preparing their students to get into college. Charters schools are doing a terrific job compared to most regular school. If students in charter school are meeting the requirements to get accepted into college, I do not see a reason to why they need to be held more accountable. Regular public schools need to held more accountable in my opinion. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Shawniece,

    Thanks for sharing this information. I did not really know what a charter school was but after reading the article you posted and doing some quick google searches of my own I find that charter school structure is the direction that our education system should be moving in. It allows the students to learn in more comfortable environment and has proven to be effective. A prime example are the 2013 class from Renaissance charter school. Each one of them had gotten accepted into college. This must mean that they are doing something right and the system around the nation should take notice. After reading over the first part again, it says “the Republican nominee, Joseph J. Lhota, released an ad in which he accused his Democratic rival, Bill de Blasio, of wanting to roll back the successes of charter schools”. This could be a thing where opponents of a mayoral race are trying to make each other look bad to get an upper hand in a race. Mr. de Blasio’s supports many different educational programs and it doesn’t make sense that he would try to close down charter schools. We should see what Mr. de Blasio really thinks and not what his opponent is accusations.

  10. Shawniece: Thanks for linking this article. Charter school education definitely sounds like a necessity. A picture in Alisha’s class facilitation presentation last Friday pointed out the difference between an equal vs. justice educational system. It sounds like Mr. de Blasio is pro-equality. The article elaborates on many of his ideas, one eliminating charter schools and condensing students into other schools. Without any further explanations on Mr. de Blasio’s plan of action after this type of reformation, I’m not convinced that this would help students achieve. I fear that more students would fall further behind in their academics under these circumstances.

    Charter schools provide “a better education for children living in economic hardship” (Bellafante). I grew up in a labeled ghetto city in San Diego, CA where I attended O’Farrell Charter School. This school definitely embraced the importance of education for minority students who often came from a household where achieving academics were a struggle. The class sizes were smaller, there was one teacher and a teacher’s aid in each class and the class periods were longer. This was essential for students that needed the extra support and was quite effective in excelling students. In addition to that, the school incorporated a performing arts and computer science classes that gave me personal motivation outside of academics to stay in school. Charter schools definitely make a difference should be implemented more seriously.

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