Charter schools are all the rage in many cities in American with high populations of Black or Hispanic people. They offer a solution to some students and parents who are seeking an alternative to public education that does not have the costs of a private education. Although they do get some things right, here are four things that charter schools get wrong.
Life is Not About Free Choices
One problem that charter schools teach students is that choice is given to anyone who wants it. This is not true. Choice cost money. There is nothing wrong with choice but in America if you want an alternative to the norm it costs money. Most adults understand this but charter schools do not teach this. Steak costs more than chicken. Single family homes usually cost more than a slum apartment. A Mercedes will set you back more than a Honda. The idea that students are taught that they can have an alternative for free is backwards.
Another problem with charter schools is that they only take the best of the best and when problems arise they simply ship the student back to the public school system. This teaches students that they are only valued until they make mistakes. Any teacher knows that students make mistakes. Whereas in public schools a mistake might give a student a detention or perhaps a suspension, the same mishap may put a charter school student on the expulsion list.
Few Special Needs Options
Similar to creaming charter schools offer few options for students with special needs. Students who have an IEP or even a 504 plan may run into problems when looking for a charter school to accommodate them. This leaves students who may suffer from minor setbacks and simply need small accommodations left without a choice of school. Public schools usually are equipped with child study teams and more teachers of special needs to accommodate a more diverse population.
Charter schools are often toted as a great option for students but teacher turnover is high. At first glance this may seem like a product of only the strong survive mentality but this leaves the school with know binding culture. Teachers are left with no real mentor teachers to help them during tough times. Likewise students are constantly being subjected to the next rookie of the year teacher instead of veteran educators. When teacher turnover is high, teachers are not able to build connections with the community because they do not stick around long enough.
Photo credit to Department of Education
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