The way to do that is simply support excellence in education. For some reason, charter schools have been vilified, misrepresented, and treated like the ugly stepchild of education for decades.
Does that have to be the case? I don’t think it does. We all want excellent education for our children. Every parent wants that for their child. The problem is that a lot of traditional or so-called neighborhood public schools that are available to parents in their communities are sometimes the worst schools in the state and have been chronically low performing for years.
It should not be acceptable for parents to be forced into putting their child in a school they know is inferior and will not benefit their child.
What would you do?
Let me give you an example of a situation where a friend of mine had to put her children in a charter school because traditional public school around the block from her house scored as persistently low performing school for nearly a decade. The school also has significant problems with behavior and an overall poor environment for learning. Unfortunately, the academic record of the school is still in the lowest percentiles of the state, even after her initial inquiry into the school four years ago. My friend has been paying property taxes for nearly 20 years. As you know, local property taxes fund our public education system. In this case, she pays into a system that she can’t even use for her child. Instead, she enrolled her child in a virtual charter school and home schooled for two years before getting an interdistrict transfer to an acceptable traditional school some 20 miles from her home.
After homeschooling and a year in a Montessori school (private) to build on foundations for her child to be successful academically, he is now in a traditional public school with an international baccalaureate (IB) program. The school is awesome, but it’s just a shame because the school is a commute both ways.
Why should parents have to drive for hours to get to a decent school?
Do you even realize how many miles and how much time in traffic is spent by parents who are forced to take their kids to a different school in another area of their city or even outside their city because they cannot rely on the traditional public school down the street to provide their children with the educational outcomes that they need to succeed in life? The time, the gas, and the wear and tear on the car, not to mention the time taken out of the day that the child could be playing or studying or even resting, make long commutes to school very inconvenient. But commutes to quality schools have become necessary in many cases. Until we can change that and improve all of our schools, we need to access to alternatives.
So, the short answer is yes! Yes, we can support public education and embrace all aspects of it, including the charter school component. It’s about supporting the best educational path for your child and your family. We are lucky to have to options.
I support public education, and I’m not anti-charter school. The two can coexist.
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