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I wonder if we should be careful of unintentionally buying into the rhetoric. What does it mean to "do worse than?" The system of "accountability" used thus far to discredit public education and create more roadblocks to good teachers simply can't be our defense against it. Besides, the term "charter school" seems to encompass such a large number of thoughts, beliefs, and approaches that I am concerned with comparing "them" to anything.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that charter schools are one of the current steps toward the sinkhole of commercializing education, and that vouchers are the next logical step. I just wonder if we should get out of the smaller arguments of who is doing "better" altogether, and focus our efforts on the dangers of whoring out our children, in general... or is that what we are doing here?? If so, I am a believer -- and our message is getting muted and lost on me. Not a good sign.

I am sitting in my wife's office and looking at a quote on her wall from Professor Sarah Feldner-Bonewits of Marquette University. She says, "To introduce wholesale a corporate vision of the university is to fundamentally alter the way the culture of the university is constructed." Substitute "education" for "university" and we have our all encompassing version of her thought. The question I feel we need to ask ourselves is, "How do we take this overarching message to the people and ultimately to the polls?" Do we have to wait for the failure of our foes?


Charter Schools and Vouchers . . . I don’t think they will ever accomplish the goals being set for them by the right wing government types running things in our state and our country. It is unfortunate that no one asks the ‘experts’ what they think of these ideas, just because their politics don’t exactly match up with the political powers that be these days. When we discredit research and studies that intelligent people spend months and years compiling, we do a disservice to our kids. When the leading minds in Education publish reports which prove again and again that charter schools are not providing the type of schooling that they were created for, why don’t we listen? Oh, I’m sorry, we do listen, it’s just those folks up on Capitol Hill (who don’t know a thing about education) who refuse to listen!

Unfortunately in Education the research is slow to translate when there is a policy change in our schools. Charter schools are still relatively young in their inception and therefore we are just starting to see research and scores which prove whether their existence is really helping our kids. So, why, why, why would we give vital funding that belongs to our public schools to other organizations, organizations who provide schooling that is not proven or tested!? (I mean it’s not like our government doesn’t love to test things in our public schools!) This is just another in a long line of funding issues where we throw money at a problem thinking we need some new revolutionary way of fixing things. Today, public schools graduate more students than ever before, and although they are not perfect why aren’t we trying to help schools that are already established? It just seems like our government is always willing to give up on things that we already have in place in the hopes of some new cure-all that will fix things.

In a recent study, , researchers showed that charter schools are not out-performing or even measuring up to public schools. So, why, why, why would we even THINK of giving up on schools that are outperforming them? Aren’t we trying to get higher test scores? Isn’t our government trying to convince us that this is the standard we should all be judged by? So, why aren’t charter schools being judged this way?

Something smells a little fishy here . . . perhaps another agenda is at work here, hmm???

George Barnes

Autonomy is a delicate and deep responsibility. I believe any type of competition is awesome. However, once again in the least served demographic we have people not being able to step up to the plate to serve these children in the charter schools. To many, charter school means alternative school. Therefore, what you get in the charter schools, at times, are at risk youth. Hence, now you have the charge that many schools are glad to hand over to any other school. To get gains from these students is something to rave about on many levels. The reason why charter schools fail is due to poor financial budgeting, not failure to educate children. The sad truth is, that public schools are not fighting against fair odds. Charter schools have the freedoms of which public schools dream. Charter schools can make moves while public schools are still spinning their wheels to get permission from the higher administration. What does this teach us? To get the best of both worlds. Allow public schools to have the freedoms of site based management and give them funding through a larger organization or district that has better resources and leverage for insurance. I am not big on charter schools, but they are causing many to think about education.

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