I am not a teacher, a public figure and I don’t know much about the politics of education in LA. I am a parent who wants the best education for all our children. Yet for years, I have been caught in the middle of crossfire between my angry Teacher Union friends and Education Reform supporters. I have seen friends from both sides of spectrum fight a war but I have not understood the details. This week Superintendent Michelle King made a pretty bold statement calling for “peace” between traditional schools and charter schools and I agree with her.
I recently realized the two sides fight and argue about whether families should have access to school choices in their neighborhoods, funding allocations, fear of job loss and other things I am not going pretend to understand.
However, as a parent, I do understand that the most important issue at hand is my children and the other children in LA public schools. What matters is that the kids have access to an excellent education be it Traditional or Charter.
I may have been silenced and silent like the hundreds of thousands of parents in LA when it comes to education. But, I do have a voice and I believe decisions made about schools need to benefit the students before anyone else, including people who get paid by the education system.
The schools belong to the current students as much as they belong to those who work there. But, yet, many of us are treated like the people who work at schools are doing us a favor when we come to school campuses. They seem to forget that they, in fact, work for our children and should be just as nice to us.
As I read the LA Times article, where Michelle King, LAUSD’s recently hired superintendent, spoke out on collaboration and peace making among Charters and Traditional schools, I felt optimistic.
She seems to be telling her staff that they should treat charters in a respectful way and is telling the charters that they should play nice too. But, let’s face it, charter schools are not treated equal as the traditional schools. They have to renew their “charters” or contracts with LAUSD every 3 or 5 years and have to prove that their schools are doing right by children. I wish that traditional schools had to do that too. I wish that we could close schools that are failing because our kids only have one shot at an education. If we mess up their opportunity, we mess up their future.
What Matters To Parents
As a parent who started to research my school choice options, I am once again in search for quality. I am not going to settle for the school down the street if it doesn’t meet my expectations. I didn’t settle for failing LAUSD schools for my eldest 13 years ago and I am not going to settle now. Like many parents in our community, I am not in a position to pay for private school tuition. And even If I was, I want to be able to say my son is going to a great public school! I am a taxpayer who deserves to have great options in my neighborhood.
I want to use my money for extracurricular activities that might interest him, save for his college education and still be able to help my daughter as she will be leaving to college this year! I am hoping to find a public school with adequate resources, quality curriculum, up to date technology and staff that will prepare my child to succeed in college.
What I Have Seen In Charter Schools, I Want For All Schools
Now, with my soon-to-be kindergartener, I am ready to start all over! This time around I have educated myself a bit more on my options, and will continue to learn.
I have visited a few Charter schools and I have been completely blown away. They totally feel like private schools. I know this because I can compare them to the private school my daughter currently attends. Some schools have a focus on science and engineering, all students get IPADS for the day, kids are comfortable sitting on exercise balls and college is being talked about in Kindergarten! I didn’t hear about college until I was 12 years old, not 5! The Charter schools I have been exposed to in the last couple of months has been pretty amazing!
I wish that traditional public schools were run like the successful Charter schools and I didn’t have to have the anxiety of having my son in a lottery. While I am just a parent who wishes all public schools were ran at a high quality standard, Superintendent King is in a position to make that happen. Like her, I also want the war to stop and want them to work together. This can only benefit our children, our future.
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