The recent pernicious attacks on charter schools are completely unfair and unfounded. Charter schools are not the enemy! Teachers are not the enemy! The parents who choose these schools are not the enemy. This is not a war. War calls for an end game and a declared victory. In the case of education, we should all be victorious.
I’ve never understood what the divide was and why the narrative on non-charter schools has been so nasty and divisive. Now I think I understand.
It’s something akin to the Charles Darwin theory (survival of the fittest) infused with self-loathing and self-doubt. The American public school system has become the jealous step-sister of the education world, a somewhat mentally unstable and unobjectively skewed and reckless obstruction in a desperate attempt of self-preservation.
This approach is wrong. The need for public charter schools only became necessary when chronically underperforming traditional neighborhood schools became the norm in California.
The need for a more promising outcome had to be filled and this is where charter skills stepped in to fill the void. So why the attacks? Shame and guilt first. I imagine that in the absence of self-accountability there must be a great amount of guilt and shame over the inability to meet the needs of the millions of school children who have been “left behind” by the persistently failing schools. The public education system can blame only itself for creating a situation where better schools that address the needs of our kids had to exist.
As a parent, I employed every resource available to me to get my four sons through K-12. Keep in mind that school is still mandated. Parents do not have an option to simply forgo K-12 education. So, what if my local school is a severely under-performing school and I know that I have a very high functioning child? That was the case in my experience. All four of my boys began with a private education. For at least the kindergarten through third grade, my sons attended private school because I wanted them to have a great foundation and skills to take with them to public school so they could be successful. While three of my boys did great and graduated from public schools, my youngest son required an alternative to graduate. I had to enroll him in a charter school for the last three years of his K-12 experience. I didn’t blink twice about doing it either. As a former teacher, I was not thinking about the fact that most teachers oppose charter schools. I was thinking about what my son needed and how I could best help him achieve his goal of graduating. And this is when I realized how counterproductive and how psychotic the attack on charter schools is. Forcing parents to have kids enrolled in K-12 education is one thing, but forcing us to have only one option is completely unacceptable and injudicious.
All schools should work together to achieve the goal of educating our children. We should not be tearing each other down and casting aspersions, we need to respect each other’s accomplishments. Public schools should not have the monopoly of educating our kids. Parents need to have options and should not be made to feel bad about making them.
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