I watched Friday's 20/20 propoganda program how the public schools cheat our children and can only laugh how one-sided John Stossel's piece was. If you didn't know better, you would believe that our public schools are not educating our children and why would anybody want to go to a public school? However, there are some facts that were omitted by Stossel.
First, charter schools have not demostrated that they improve student achievement over the neighbourhood public school in the long term.
Second, charter schools usually emphizise academics at the expense of a well-rounded education such as physical education, arts, and music. Many charter schools have no gyms and studies have found that physical education is important for a child's development.
Third, charter schools have a longer day, and even saturday school. Teacher burnout is the dirty little secret in charter schools as the charter schools use young, enthusiastic, and usually uncertified teachers for a couple of years until they either leave the profession or go to the public school once they become certified.
Fourth, charter schools will throw out students who violate their discipline code. These students are usually associated with low test scores and failing grades.
Finally, many charter schools limit the size of their classes. One charter middle school looked like they had 12 students to a class in the 20/20 program.
I also found it interesting that many charter schools, to cut costs, have their students picking up garbage, serving meals, and during other clerical/janitorial jobs.
I do agree that the Kipps charter schools appear to have made significant gains over the public school. However, that is primarily due to their acceptance program that ensures that the parent contribute to their child's education by fundraising and volunteering their time at the school. Parent involvement is the key to a child's academic success.
If public schools can kick out discipline problems, have smaller class sizes, and select students, based upon parent involvement, the charter school has would disappear since they could not compete on a level playing field.
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