Charter Schools: Shoe on other foot

Last night, the first hour of WBUR’s On Point program was a discussion of the recently-uncovered report on charter school performance. Apparently, fourth-graders at charter schools across the US are, on average, testing poorly compared to those in regular public schools. The charter school proponents on the show, and those calling in, made all of the same arguments public school teachers have made when attacked by the charter school and “school choice” zealots in the past:

  • Each school serves unique needs.
  • Test scores don’t capture the full picture
  • We don’t have enough money.

As the poet wrote:
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulders a Siamese cat.
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.
How does it feel?

1 Comment so far

  1. mk (unregistered) on August 19th, 2004 @ 3:50 am

    You know, I feel really conflicted about charter schools. I understand that some kids don’t do well in the traditional school formula — hell, I learn pretty well traditionally and I probably could have benefited from something that deviated from the norm.
    However, the thing I don’t like about charter schools, and things like school vouchers, is that it just seems to shuffle the problem elsewhere. Instead of spending money to create an entirely new school, why not use that money to help bolster the public school? I know in Marlborough they are trying to get a charter school going that specializes in the sciences and math. Well… wouldn’t everybody benefit from bolstering their math and science skills? The kids who are extra, extra good at sci & math could do some kind of outreach program with a local college and take advanced classes there (I knew a few people who did this in high school, actually).
    Also, since many charter schools get support and funding from private donors, I have to wonder at their motives. For example, this charter school they want to build in Marlborough is being headed by people who don’t have children in the Marlborough school system. Why do they want a charter school so badly? You have to wonder.

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