The real story behind charter schools
There are several key similarities between charter schools and regular public schools:
The identical state-mandated standardized tests are taken by them.
There are no tuition fees.
They cannot exclude anyone from enrollment based on their color, sex, or disability.
They have to answer to the district, county, state, or city that gave them their charter.
Traditional public schools and charter schools are different in a number of ways.
The structure of a staff could be unusual. For instance, an executive director might be in charge of administration, fundraising, and leadership above the principle, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school.
A nonprofit Charter Management Organization (CMO) like Knowledge is Power Project (KIPP), which runs more than 120 elementary, middle, and high schools across the country, can manage and run them.
They may be managed by for-profit, private organizations that also supply the curriculum for the schools. For instance, K12 operates more than 65,000 children’s virtual charter schools across the country.
They may have a foundational educational philosophy that governs the curriculum and teacher preparation, such as Waldorf or Montessori.
Ask your local charter school if they can hire instructors who are not qualified or even members of a union. Some charter schools employ teachers with qualifications; in the state of California, it is a legal requirement for all charter schools to do so. Additionally, some CMOs employ unionized instructors; for example, Green Dot Public Schools solely employs unionized teachers at its 14 high schools and four middle schools.Groups supporting charter schools frequently characterize their activities as a movement in response to badly administered public schools. Many were started by devoted parent organizations or community leaders who desired more control over the standard of their schools. Parental participation is frequently not just encouraged but also demanded. Every year, many charter schools ask parents to sign a commitment to support the institution and their child’s education, which often includes a promise to put in a set number of volunteer hours.Groups supporting charter schools frequently characterize their activities as a movement in response to badly administered public schools. Many were started by devoted parent organizations or community leaders who desired more control over the standard of their schools. Parental participation is frequently not just encouraged but also demanded. Every year, many charter schools ask parents to sign a commitment to support the institution and their child’s education, which often includes a promise to put in a set number of volunteer hours.
Myths surrounding charter schools
However, there are numerous misconceptions about how charter schools operate and what they have to offer students because each one is unique.
THE FIRST MYTH: Charter schools are exclusive.
All charter schools are public; they are not private institutions of learning. Confusion arises due to the fact that some charter schools are run by for-profit businesses or organizations known as education management organizations (EMOs). Some individuals mistakenly believe that these for-profit organizations are private because they generate revenue, although charter schools don’t collect tuition.
MYTH #2: Charter schools have outlandish classes and are experimental.
It’s true that some are, but this is rarely the norm. All charter schools are governed by their own charters, giving them the freedom to create innovative or special needs-friendly curriculum or alternative academic programs. With an emphasis on the arts, STEM, foreign languages, or music, some charter schools provide education. Some people take a traditional, back-to-basics approach, while others are quite experimental. Without going, there is no way to find out.
MYTH#3: The greatest academic standards are found in charter schools.
When it comes to student performance, the reports are conflicting. According to studies, student achievement at charter schools is typically on par with that of similar public schools, if not somewhat lower. According to a 2003 nationwide assessment, public schools and charter schools both provided enough education for children. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results for 2010–2011, fourth and eighth grade pupils in charter schools often performed worse in math and reading than their peers in regular public schools. This “on average” comparison, however, can be misleading. Instead of being in the middle of the range, charter schools tend to be at either the high or low end. There are more excellent charter schools serving low-income students than there are high-performing traditional public schools serving low-income students, according to the study, which demonstrates that positive effects are most pronounced at charter schools that serve primarily low-income students.
State-by-state differences in charter school performance were discovered by a 2009 Stanford University study. For instance, students in Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), and Louisiana improved more on standardized tests than they would have in typical public schools. However, in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas, charter school performance dropped behind the typical pupil growth at regular public schools.
The lesson here for parents? Whether they are positive or negative, generalizations about charter schools won’t help you choose the best one for your child.
Myth #4: Charter schools are a haven for corruption and are merely a means for businesses to profit from the government.
Charter schools by definition aren’t engaging in any unlawful activity, with the exception of a few newsworthy allegations of fraud in Philadelphia, a significant embezzlement bust in Ohio, and other scandals of a similar nature across the nation.A major criticism of charter schools is that they are supported by public funding that would otherwise be sent to traditional public schools. It is not proof of corruption that the frequently heard claim that “charters are stealing from public schools” is true. Many of these schools must renew their charters as they get older. When it came time for review, some schools had to close due to financial issues, subpar test results, or low enrolment. Since 1992, about 15% of charters have closed. One frequent issue is that, in comparison to public schools, charter schools typically receive less funding to operate their premises. The outcome? Faster deterioration of the facilities forces closure of the schools.
MYTH #5: It’s difficult to enroll in charter schools.
Popular charter schools can be difficult to get into, but it’s definitely not impossible, even if they aren’t allowed by law to discriminate on the basis of disability, gender, color, or religion. You might have to submit a separate application for each charter school in addition to the district application if you want to enroll your child in one, and these applications occasionally have various deadlines. Charter schools may employ a lottery system to fill openings if there are more applications than available spaces. Some lotteries are computer-driven, with mail-in notifications, while others are performed at public events where winning numbers or names are shouted out.
The good news is that many charter schools allow enrollment regardless of residence, allowing parents to search outside of their immediate area for the finest charter school. Is that terrible news? Charters can be so popular that when you arrive, you might find a new lottery and waiting list. Approximately 610,000 children nationwide are on waiting lists to get into schools.
The bottom line: as yet another educational alternative, research the charter schools in your area. Before visiting a charter school and seeing it for yourself, it is impossible to determine whether it is the best option for your child.
The following 5 myths oppose character education in our schools.
Character education and social and emotional learning (SEL) are quite rational concepts. We are aware that children need to be ready for success in school, the workplace, and in life. Additionally, we are aware that families and communities do not always offer the kinds of experiences that all students require. Therefore, it would seem that SEL and character education are crucial components of educational practice and policy. They are not, though. In SEL and character education, Marvin Berkowitz and I have discovered five beliefs that are impeding advancement. It is necessary to clearly identify these myths and dispel them through compassionate discussions with teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders. While these beliefs are prevalent, building an infrastructure for progress in sustainable ways will be challenging.
Myth #1: Schools are not responsible for encouraging the development of social-emotional skills and moral character.
Character education is a process that cannot be turned off. The truth is that every adult who interacts with kids has an impact on their growth, whether for good or bad. Every day, every adult in the school imprints themselves on the kids. Some are heartbreaking, some are motivating, and some are enduring and irreplaceable. Even many years after the incident, a student’s life might be affected by a teacher’s cruel or insensitive conduct. Therefore, it is crucial for adults to be conscious of the influence they have over children and to act appropriately in their best interests.
Myth #2: The real goal of education is in competition with character education.
“Educating a man in thought without educating him in morals is to educate a menace to society,” declared President Theodore Roosevelt. Legislative and political pressure to give language arts, math, and science more weight in the curriculum in order to stay up with other countries’ technological advancements has changed U.S. education over the past 50 years. The deliberate emphasis on social-emotional competence and good character, which are the cornerstones of engaged democratic citizenship, responsible family life, career success, and a lifelong love of study, has been all but obliterated by these forces.In actuality, education serves a variety of functions. Though this time-tested advice is frequently disregarded, one of them is the development of positive social-emotional and character traits.
Myth #3: Schools cannot afford to add character education to an already overloaded curriculum given the current drive for higher achievement.
According to research, fostering pupils’ moral character provides the added benefit of raising academic achievement. Education may change and improve when character and social-emotional skills are emphasized in a positive school environment.
Myth #4: Children’s personalities and essential values are already developed by the time they enter school.
Some kids are always prepared for class, respond courteously, and get along with everyone. However, some pupils are irritable, unprepared, and appear uninterested to learn. The caring care of a teacher can actually save the lives of these “difficult” kids. Children can be educated to help them become their best selves if we see their potential in them rather than just accepting them for who they are now. The most pressing query for What can I do to help you be the best you can be, to help you become a more effective social and moral agent? should be the constant question for superintendents, principals, teachers, and other school staff, as well as for students in their interactions with one another. We need to help students believe that they can change and grow, so that they can be partners in realizing their potential and becoming their best selves.
Myth #5: My efforts in my own classroom are most important.
The numerous individuals and events that students come into contact with every day, both within and outside of school, have an impact on them. These many influencers frequently spread contradictory messages. The time when a single teacher could shut their doors, provide excellent instruction, and see their students succeed is long gone. For kids to cross the finish line successfully, just like in a relay race, coordinated communications and skill development about character and social-emotional skills within and across grade levels are required. At least as important as what instructors do in their individual classrooms is the overall culture of the school and its guiding principles.How do people in your school community feel about the need for SEL and character education? What methods do you and your coworkers employ to achieve this? Please comment below with your opinions.