Ok, I will say it: We need charter schools because public schools have been failing our kids. Are some charter schools taking advantage of “the system “? Yes. But that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the bath water. And yes, the reverse argument is true — that we should not abandon public schools.
That being said, I have seen too many instances of families pulling their kids out of schools due to bullying (not just by children, but also by staff). I have seen those same families try to work with the school, only to be blamed, guilted, and shamed. The parents are bullied by the school. It doesn’t make sense to stay in an abusive relationship, so the families look for something else.
However, the families are now vulnerable, desperately looking for somewhere to enroll their children, because Arizona state law requires that students under a certain age are required to attend school. So, some scammers (because scammers exist) find these families… and scam them. Yes, they should be held accountable; however, the scammers have most likely already spent all of the money on disposable items. So then what happens? People get upset and try to throw all charters under the bus. Here’s the thing: Not all charters are scams…. just like not all Liberals are loony…. just like all Republicans are racist… etc.
Public school teachers are faced with the reality that their pay depends on how their students fare on their tests. This results in many teachers who are unable to release their need for control over their students; this impedes the ability for teachers to work with students who don’t fit the mold.
There are too many teachers who are teaching to the tests which are not authentic assessments, which do not encourage our students to become critical thinkers.
Critical thinking is significantly important, as we can see from the numbers of individuals sucked in to “fake news”. Students are discouraged, mocked, and ridiculed for asking questions.
In many classrooms, teaching practices are no longer effective, self-motivation for students is lacking, and teachers work harder to control student behavior and learning. This doesn’t work, because that is not how humanity works.
We have unique gifts, strengths, weaknesses that are forced into molds to help us assimilate, to make things easier. However, the old adage is true: “You cannot force a Square peg into a Round hole”…
Yes, it is scary to release our hold on our children, and on our situations. However, it is like a pot of water that is boiling with the lid pressed on… you could try to contain it, but it will eventually explode, scalding whatever is close enough.
The solution? (1) Identify the individuals who need help, seeing past their own noses, and remove them from positions of power over policies and budgets (2) Teach our kids and community to be critical thinkers (3) Encourage critical thinking, humanity, empathy, and wisdom (4) Get rid of standardized tests and use authentic assessments instead (5) Ask questions, seek truth and stand strong (and rest and ask for help when needed).