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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Private schools vs. Charter schools

Private schools vs. Charter schools

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It seems to me that people are pulling their children out of Private schools where tuition is mandatory, and putting their children into charter schools. The problem here is that it is hard to get your child into a charter school, there is lotterys and sometimes tests. why? The charter schools are aware of this, why is it so hard to get your children into a charter school in their county? For example, if you live in Newark you can only send your children to the Newark charter schools, why? The point of the parent taking their child out of a private school to enter a charter schools means that the charter schools are doing something right. Why make it difficult?

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Patty Langston's picture

If they are regulated correctly and held to high standards they work. However, sadly, when schools do not meet NCLB or AYP here in NC they are being give the option to become Charter Schools which are not regulated the same. The problem is students may or may not receive the top quality education they should if they are in a Charter School.

Charter Schools are supposed to focus on the needs of the child; communication with the parents and growth. However, if the school was not meeting these to begin with and they become Charter schools, simply because NC has a shortage of Charter Schools, the students and our future suffer as a result.

Talk about a scary situation. Try teaching in this situation. UGH!

Mark Werth's picture

Those who wish that public schools fail are the rich conservatives who feel that they have enough money to pay for their students education and if public schools fail then less money from taxes will go to funding them and they will have more money for themselves.

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Wow - what a great and passionate conversation. Thank you everyone for speaking from your heart and experience.

I work at a charter school in Virginia. Our state has 3 charter schools open and 1 on its way next Fall. Our local school divisions are the only charter authorizers in Virginia and enter into a unique charter with each school.

We are more mom-and-pop than operator-chain, but we are committed to scaling up a working model of PBL and alternative assessment in Virginia.

I am not rich, I'm too far left to be quantified, and our school has brought over $700,000 into our division over the last 3 years - in this budget climate - to pay for staffing in addition to our division allotment. We raise this money from grants and private donors because we know our kids benefit from the class size and teacher:student ratios we help provide. We raise the money because we believe in our kids, our program, and a vision of arts-infused, project-based education that offers all of our students things to do, make, and perform with the curriculum they're compelled to learn by our state.

We serve non-traditional learners who struggle in traditional public schools with traditional instruction, assessments, and teacher-student relationships.

We do not want public school to fail, but we want it to change so all students have authentic, personally meaningful work to do at school.

Let's put all that aside and look at the conversation we're having about public schools and charter schools; let's look at the conversations our country is having about "good" schools and "bad" schools. Let's ask whether or not these are the conversations to be having.

Why aren't we talking about the purpose of school? Why do we accept the premise that the purpose of a school is to achieve good test scores? Why do we presume that good test scores translate into college readiness? That high school graduation rates translate into college graduation rates? That college is the key to life liberty, and happiness? Why do we presume that college readiness is the same thing as life-readiness or the readiness to take care of one another or our world?

We are schooling for test scores. So long as we leave our purpose in public education unexamined, our other debates are academic.

Frankly, many public schools run their own harmful charter programs internally via tracks and levels. So long as we limit students' opportunities according to test scores, our kids will never love learning for its own sake or solve any problem that exists outside a textbook. I know I have participated in these cultures.

Instead of pitting charter schools, which are public, against public schools, what would happen if we started asking one another why we school at all? What would happen if we compared what we say against what we do? What we want against what we have? What our kids deserve against what we demand of them?

Then we would all be charter schools. Or public schools. It wouldn't matter what we called ourselves.

We would be schools that matter to our kids, our communities, and our world.

Humbly, respectfully, and greatly appreciative of this community,
C

Richard Warren's picture

I attended parochial schools taught by nuns and priests. I think it was the best possible choice at the time for quality and price (while my parents still paid for public schools). Of course, this option is only rarely available now. My grandchildren attend good schools in a semi-rural district. There's a lot going on there, but the academic quality doesn't reach the same level as I experienced.
The arguments of charter v. public v. private seem so superfluous. Why not a voucher for every student, to attend any school of their choice? Good teachers should not be afraid to have their skills on the line. Bad teachers will find comfort and security within teachers' unions who protect them at the expense of the students.

luisa martinez's picture

"We do not want public school to fail, but we want it to change so all students have authentic, personally meaningful work to do at school." Thanks for that, Chad. As a former teacher at an Expeditionary Learning School, I know that authenticity, purpose, and meaning are the key. Anything else is not enough.

luisa martinez's picture

"We do not want public school to fail, but we want it to change so all students have authentic, personally meaningful work to do at school." Thanks for that, Chad. As a former teacher at an Expeditionary Learning School, I know that authenticity, purpose, and meaning are the key. Anything else is not enough.

CJ Gray's picture

Public schools are run by politicians and the bottom line is that the people with real wealth and power have no interest in educating the masses beyond basic reading, writing and math up to about the 8th grade. Until that changes there will always be huge discrepancies in our public schools and huge gaps in education between the haves and the have-nots. I live in AZ where they are ranked 47th in the nation for literacy. It's the most dysfunctional place I've ever lived. Our govt leaders, McCain at the head of that list, are so far removed from the real lives of those they supposedly represent that they can't see the forest for the trees. Thankfully we have alot of charter schools to choose from, some better than others. Charter schools are necessary when the govt fails - and it often and consistently fails.

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

What makes it so difficult to find an answer in education is our search for an answer. I'm convinced that there isn't one answer to any of our problems as a country or school system.

How we measure schools determines what we ask of them and of our students. How we measure schools determines what schools give back to communities.

I encourage us once again to talk about what we want from schools. Charter schools, traditional public schools, private schools, home schools, and un-schooling - all of these things represent hypotheses about what works best for children, their learning, and their lives. All of these things have made discoveries about learning and kids in pursuit of answers, but I don't think any one approach is the answer.

I work at a charter school to have a freer hand in pursuing what I think works for our kids - the most brilliant, brave, fragile, and at-risk students in my division. Without working here I wouldn't have discovered what I have about teaching and learning.

However, my school is small. It's only entering it's third year. I don't know how we'll export our discoveries and make them implementable in a larger, more traditional school.

But we'll try.

We are in a partnership with other schools, parents, and our students for helping our students enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as individuals and communities.

Let's pool our collective wisdom about what school should be and reform our classrooms and our system from there.

Best wishes in helping kids,
C

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope to help my school emulate the EL model and the work of Ron Berger's classroom this year. Certainly a fear of revision/iteration and a demand for results now cripple what schools can be. I appreciate EL's approach to care, patience, and growth in students lives, work, and communities.

All the best,
C

Expeditionary Learning's picture

[quote]Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope to help my school emulate the EL model and the work of Ron Berger's classroom this year. Certainly a fear of revision/iteration and a demand for results now cripple what schools can be. I appreciate EL's approach to care, patience, and growth in students lives, work, and communities.

Best of luck Chad. Luckily, we've found that caring about patience and growth in students lives, work, and communities is often the best way to achieve those results being demanded of our students.

Todd Felton
Expeditionary Learning

C[/quote]

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