Selected readings on US charter schools
Have you ever heard someone say something about charter schools that is simply untrue? Did you speak up? LA charter school parents recently did!
On Oct. 2, Diane Ravitch appeared on Airtalk with Larry Mantle on KPCC 89.3 FM in Los Angeles) to promote her new book criticizing charter schools. She said many negative and inaccurate things about charter schools during the discussion. Fortunately, charter school parents called in to the show and shared their powerful personal stories. A parent from the West Adams neighborhood said that all the nearby schools were low-performing so her daughter would ride a bus more than an hour each way to a different school. She joined with other parents in her neighborhood to found a charter school that opened this fall and is excited to have a high-quality option in her own community.
These are some of the comments that parents posted:
Charter schools are the best thing that happened to my family and to my community. It’s so sad to see someone attacking them. Thanks to a charter school my younger sister got in to Brandeis University with a full scholarship. In the meantime myself and my other 2 siblings who went to a traditional public high school got lost in the system because there wasn’t anyone to guide us. I’m a proud parent of a 1st grader who attends a Charter School and I plan to keep her in there until she graduates from High School.
I have 2 sons both of whom have been in Public Charter schools in the LA county area. I chose charter schools primarily because of class size and a creative learning process. I don’t think all kids learn the same way and having an art background myself, I felt strongly that I wanted my children’s creativity to be stimulated as well as academics.
Wow, that was difficult to listen to especially as a charter school parent. From today’s radio program Ravitch believes charter schools are not public schools but private institutions. She believes charter schools kick out kids with low test scores, that they don’t accept students with disabilities, and that they don’t accept English language learners. What she is claiming about charter schools is absolutely illegal and charter schools are not allowed to choose students who are or are not accepted. If the number of applications exceeds the number of seats in a classroom, a random lottery takes place to determine which students get in or if they are put on a waiting list. Our family was put on the waiting list and we had to wait for a spot to open before we could get into the public charter we selected for our children.
Ravitch doesn’t believe education should be a choice for parents and that it’s more of a civic duty that education is provided. I absolutely disagree. Parents and children are the stakeholders and deserve a say in their children’s education whether that’s traditional or charter public education. I’m a parent with two children in charter schools in Sacramento county. What better person than a parent or guardian to decide the best educational approach for their child? Simply adding arts back into traditional public education as Ravitch recommends, is not going to solve traditional school system woes and bring charter school parents back to traditional schools. Many charter schools offer alternative programs not offered in traditional schools. I know the alternative approach we selected for our son was the best approach for his learning needs. I’m thankful I had a choice. Additionally, I know friends who have children in traditional schools and are thankful for the school their children are in. The key here is parent choice!
Ravitch also claimed teachers and students are leaving the traditional system and going into charter schools because they are fed up with standardized tests. This makes no sense because charter schools have to give the same tests as traditional schools. That’s not the reason they are leaving. They’re leaving because they’re finding options that fit their children’s learning needs better.
My question for Diane Ravitch is have you been to a charter school? Have you sat down with charter administrators and talked to them about what they actually do at their schools? Have you looked at data from the charter schools that are serving in poor neighborhoods to see how well they are serving these children? My guess is she hasn’t. Also, where are your solutions?
One area where I agreed with Ravitch is she stated charter schools and traditional schools should collaborate and share ideas. That was the intention of charter policy, however, that bridge hasn’t been created. We need to create this bridge.
The information she is disseminating is scary because she reaches a large audience and she is speaking untruth about charter schools.
Source: Families That Can