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Friday, March 15, 2019

The mission of charter schools.

The mission of charter schools
A recent post in Forbes ( reignites the debate about the mission of charter schools in America.
Foreword: Comments to some statements/"findings"

Meaning: Charter schools do not guaranty anymore the highest performance of their students. They will teach without interference from administration, but the results are - whatever.
2, 3, 4.

Meaning: No for-profit management, no ties with philanthropic organizations, so, charter schools become no different from any other public schools, except the freedom they want.
The statement says "performance varies". Period. Further reading of the article does not include word "performance" anymore. It only describes various stiles or forms of teaching. Charter schools want to be free to chose their style but do not want to guaranty the results.
Meaning: Charter schools do not want to promise good performance.

The article is based on the report prepared by association which promotes charter schools.
Meaning: it is not a report, it is promotional booklet.
It's like asking Donald Trump to assess his own performance as the President. The result is obvious.
But if charter schools become less and less different from regular public schools and do not promise exceptional performance, what do they do, what are they need for? What is the mission of the charter schools?
The answer is in the next part of this post.
Here are some numbers:
Thinking that a tiny portion of schools teaching a tiny portion of students would make an impact on the whole system of public education is a delusion.
Or a deliberate deception.
Even if all charters would perform at the perfect level - which is NOT a case.
So, if charter schools are NOT for reforming public education, what are they for?
In their current form, charter schools solve problems of some parents, some students, some politicians (to brag about), and some businessmen and businesswomen (to make money off education using politicians who brag about supporting education), but that's that.
There are two major types of charter schools:
1. where there are many students from poor families - those schools do not demonstrate performance better than a regular school and is being used as a many-making machine and a bragging tool;
2. where there are just a few students from poor families - those school are basically private schools for affluent families where parents do not want pay money for an actual private school.
So, the mission of charters schools - not as an idea but in practice - is to be a money-making/bragging tool, or a "public-private" school for mostly white students.

The systemic and systematic reformation needs a completely new paradigm:
And the first people who needs to think about it is teacher unions:
Otherwise, millions of dollars will join millions of dollars which have already entered someone's deep pockets - and that is the true mission of charter schools - but 95 % of American students and teachers will not feel any improvement.
The only statement we can make for sure from study charter schools is that a highly professional principal who gathers a team of highly professional teachers and staff, and has a significant budget can develop for students an efficient learning environment.
But any sane person finds it just obvious, doesn't s/he?
The real question - how can we make ALL schools be good schools?
It's doable, but it requires a very different type of thinking about education in general and teacher professional development in particular.


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