Supplementary Reader #2 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Magazine : Readers Digest Article: "Showing Kids the Way" by Sen, Joe Lieberman

"Showing Kids the Way" is an article dealing with the benefits and successes of Charter Schools within many of the States. Charter Schools are basically public schools with more freedom and choices in the decisions concerning the operation of the school; this inculdes planning curriculums, textbooks, selection, scheduling and staffing. Any person or group can begin a charter school if given approval form the state. There are currently 1100 charter schools in operation within the states. The author went on to explain that charter schools provide the best opportunities for students to succeed. It seems that the reading and writing proficiency of sudents in charter schools has increased significantly when compared to other schools in the district. The dropout rate in charter schools has also declined considerably. After reading this article, I can see both the pros and the cons associated with charter schools. Charter schools have the opportunity to set higher standards for their students and to keep the class size smaller to provide more of a one-on-one teacher-student relationship. Charter Schools do not have education boards making decisions instead it is teachers; It is the teachers who interact daily with the students and fully understand what is happening in the school and what should be done. After having taught in both a private and public school I have found the standards in the private school to be much higher than those in the puplic school. The higher standards cannot always be associated with a smaller teacher to student ratio. Although the're are often fewer students in a private school classroom, the public school in which I currently teach has a very low teacher-student ratio. Because of the lack of higher academic standards found in some public schools I believe the development of schools will force public schools to take a second look at their academic standards not to mention class size, curriculms and textbooks. The increasing popularity of charter schools by parents and students could change the way many public schools are run today. I do have to wonder if charter schools are possibly given too much freedom in all the choices given to them. If my child were enrolled in a charter school I would pay close attention to the curriculm, choice of textbooks and the teachers. The article stated that some charter schools only choose a few subjects and concentrate on these alone instead of having a broad based curriculm. I would be watchful of what subjects and activities were excluded before commending a charter school. This article dealt mainly with the pro's of charter schools and I would like to read what others write concerning the con's of charter schools before making a decision to fully support them.

-- Anonymous, February 01, 1999

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