Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Charter Schools? Let's Not Forget our Public Schools

I have not updated my blog for a period of time, as I was waiting to see what President Obama and his team would do regarding K-12 public education; I am pleased with much of what has occurred thus far, yet I am still concerned.

I am pleased that funds have been allocated to schools within our state systems to help modernize the instructional process through investment in computers and software and to help educate students for the 21st century. At the same time, the President is encouraging increases in the number of charter schools. At this point we must ask: “Do we really need more charter schools?” as well as “What are the advantages of charter schools over public schools?”

There is no reason that we cannot encourage public schools to have the same liberties as their charter school counterparts.

Public schools tend to have a large number of children from low income families and therefore have an increased need for the freedom to accommodate 'each student as the class'. If children are primarily in a success-oriented environment, they tend to behave differently because they are rewarded in a positive manner. If they have access to computers that contain software for computer assisted instruction (CAI), then it is easy to vary time for each student and give all students the opportunity to be successful. If we combine CAI with a 'project approach' (i.e., working in small groups on meaningful problems) in the areas of science and social studies, students acquire the skills to use technology as a learning tool, a research tool, and a communication tool. Such improvements -- which may be available in new charter schools -- must be available in our public schools.

Welcome your thoughts on why we are promoting charter schools and not talking more about incorporating such changes into our existing public schools. Hope to hear from you.

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