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18 January 2010

Consider issues in charter schools

There is a significant amount of interest, local reporting and statewide discussion regarding charter schools. The premise is that certain schools can take taxpayers' money with a mandate, paralleling private school organization.

Giving the latitude of almost total control of curriculum, teaching personnel and academic environment sounds very appealing. Longer hours, more teaching days and higher expectations would seem, at first blush, to be where one would want a child enrolled.

One might re-evaluate the original purpose of the public schools. One might consider that a charter school is a tax-supported system, oriented toward transition into college . Is college inherently the purpose of public education?

Consider the aspects of special ed, handicapped, emotionally disturbed, problem children, nurses, class size, control of staff, teacher hiring/firing, transportation and salaries. Other public schools must.

The problems, for some, may be solved by a charter system. It seems much more reasonable for the state to initiate strong control, parents to demand excellence and the AEA to concede that being hired does not make a person a true, dedicated professional.

West Marcus