Should school districts let outside operators run public schools?

Yes. A competitive bidding process will allow districts to find the best possible operators for schools, resulting in a better education for students.
26% (78 votes)
No. Districts need to work with teachers and administrators to improve public schools themselves, not outsource the job.
55% (169 votes)
Maybe. Only districts where many schools consistently fall short of improvement targets should consider opening schools to outside operators.
19% (58 votes)
Total votes: 305

Comments (12)

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craig moro (not verified)

charter schools

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Charter schools are a great choice for many situations!!!!!

Marian Stocker (not verified)

Yes To Public Alternatives!

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Families should have the right to choose between educational alternatives that are economically equivalent to public school options. This is America!!! We embrace free enterprise! Chartered educational programs allow families a choice.

Chartered school districts are educational programs that are liscenced, monitored, evaluated by the state.

The problem with public school districts has nothing to do with chartered or private school options but the fact that there is an increasing number of students (especially in the middle and high school settings) who have serious antisocial and anti-authority personas that create disruptive, disturbing, and even dangerous learning environments for students, teachers and school administration. These students (and often times there family units) need professional help and intervention that goes beyond regular classroom settings. Alternative educational environments must be seriously considered and financially supported by the local, state, and federal govenment. Options like gender-specific schools and schools for extreme emotional, anti-social, psycological disorders. Students do not necessarily have to stay at these programs...when they are able (through medical and nonmedical interventions) to interract socially responsible; then they can be mainstreamed into a regular school program.

The problem is that we become clouded with finger pointing...who is really doing his/her job best. In reality, those teachers and students (who are ready and willing to learn) who attend combative school systems should be commended. It's time that we stop finger pointing, bickering and really listen to the educational staff and students of these school systems. Then, make tough choices to better the environment with alternatives that are suitable for all involved.

Alternatives need to be embraced (chartered and public can learn from each other) and extreme placements neede to be enforced.

Sandra Jewett (not verified)

Outsourcing Public Education

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This has been a controversial topic ever since parents nationally were given alternative options to educating their children beyond private and parochial schools. Frankly I believe that choice is here to stay. As a 30-year veteran public school educator,I have concluded outsourcing should be an option only if school districts have failed to provide a high quality of education to all of the students it serves. Accountability, collaboration and effective monitoring by the each state is critical in all traditional, charter school, home school, and online learning environments for all children across the nation to meet with success. One option should not impede the other from operating effectively and all programming that does not serve students well should be terminated. A parent's right to choose should never result in an inferior educational experience. The three most important elements that are needed to foster educational excellence in general are talent,creativity,time and money. Failure to attract and retain highly qualified and creative staff,inconsistent delivery of effective professional development,inadequate teacher and student supports,disproportionate funding formulas, and inconsistent implementation of best practices unfortunately continues to foster the win-lose rather than the win-win experience for too many students and educational professionals nationwide. If student learning needs are different,why wouldn't there be alternative programming in our communities to reflect this? Organizational reform aligned with pedagogy and instructional practice is desperately needed on a consistent basis,particularly in urban centers where the challenge of educating large numbers of diverse populations continues to become increasingly rigorous and complex. Availabilty of alternative education options has created the climate needed to foster the movement for change. If this country is to continue to grow and prosper in the 21st century, failing to educate and prepare our students to handle the challenges before them is simply not an option.

Margie Herberger (not verified)

Who should run the public schools?

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Our schools are failing to perform to their potential because they are, and always have been, run by boards, administrators, and the public, who votes on funding. None of those three factors are beneficial to schools because they don't really know/care what is needed for an ideal educational environment. The very real student needs such as small classroom size and additonal available teacher support are not included in the effort to save money. The public would rather cut teachers than spend what it takes to truly educate children, our most important resource for the future of this country. Let the teachers have more of a voice about expenditures and plans for district reorganization and growth.

Rhonda Marcum (not verified)

School districts

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I still believe that the people who send their kids to school should have a say in how they are educated which means I do not believe in outsourcing our public school districts. I do believe that school boards should get better training than they do now, and I believe it should be mandatory training or the electorate can vote to recall them.

Linda Hyde (not verified)

3rd internet

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I have figured out how we can have a 3rd internet and it won't cost anyone a lot of money. If you will contact me, I will share my thoughts on this further.

Michael Rees (not verified)

IB Theory of Knowledge and IB History of Europe

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If you want real positive change in our nation's public schools, limit the administrative focus at the downtown school district level on school buses and building maintenance. Grant each school the freedom and autonomy to administer itself independently allowing the local community a real voice in their neighborhood school. Allow teachers to become part-time administrators of their own school. Teacher-administrators will be dialed into what is important for children. Teacher-administrators will keep the focus of the school on the classroom and on their students and district money will be channeled on improving students' learning environment. The money will be better spent than the well-intentioned, but alienated downtown bureaucracies we find so often at the district level. Follow this concept and we will establish highly accountable schools driven toward excellence. Essentially, my vision is an inclusive charter school system that keeps the schools truly public and accountable without a lot of politics or money wasted on top-down administration. It would free a significant amount of money away from massive administration and toward the classroom. The idea makes too much sense to receive serious consideration. Cheers.

Roxana Marachi (not verified)

Human Development and Educational Psychology

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Regardless of who leads the reform efforts, they should be based on research from the field of Educational Psychology. Too often "quick-fix" strategies stem from fields with limited understandings of human development, long term motivation dynamics, the impact of the interpersonal environment, and the power of emotional psychophysiology in learning.

One of my students recently quoted Nel Noddings “A learns X — we have succeeded instructionally but, if A hates X and his teacher as a result, we have failed educationally. A is not ‘better’ as a result of our and his efforts” (p. 175).

As for the post about KIPP schools, I have heard mixed reviews and would like to see more long term outcomes related to creativity, problem solving, and resilience in higher education before rushing to replicate the model. Definitely worth a read:

http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2009/08/century-foundation-research-sh...

My guess would be that any demonstrated benefits of corporate run schools are likely due to coincidental alignment with principles of Educational Psychology.

On a final note, I'd like to shine a light on the importance of *leadership* in turning around a school. Big business is not the answer... the most worthwhile answers will be drawn from effective leadership training. I just received this link and hope that educators, administratos and policymakers will also explore:

http://www.wallacefoundation.org/principal-story/clips-from-the-film/Pag...

http://tinyurl.com/ml5tc2

Peace.

frances rice (not verified)

subcontracting education

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I voted yes, because I think it's not a one size fits all world. Children in the same family often need different approaches educationally. Children in the same community need options.
I think there are a lot of creative people with great ideas that could offer educational alternatives. I personally was intrigued by the idea of teacher cooperatives. Gabriella Charter School in Los Angeles is an elementary school that has daily dance classes for all students, and utilizes kinesthetic learning techniques throughout the school day and across the curriculum. The students are primarily low income, and often learning English as a second language. Most parents did not select the school because of the dance program, but because it has a reputation for being strong academically. The school has high scores on annual state assessments, which would not be predicted by its population.
If a nontraditional school is effective it will be well attended. If the school is of poor quality parents and students will vote with their feet.
My only concern is that subcontracted schools don't become major cost cutting operations that sacrifice quality education for corporate profits. I think that those that wish to subcontract educational services from school districts must have oversight and accountability to prevent corruption and maintain quality educational programs.

Kareen Kalvin (not verified)

We need to work together locally, but have common objectives.

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I think Education should join in with the sustainable living movement. We should use the resources we have at hand and share our knowledge with others who have other resources at hand. Our students need project based authentic learning. I feel that participants in our naions school system are terrified of not fitting in under the threat of the loss of funding. We are being forced to become drones who follow a limited pathway. There is so much creativity in the teaching and leadership force. I hope we can somehow sustain our individuality.

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