The closing of traditional public schools throughout our nation and mainly in large urban centers means that children will either be bussed to “nearby” schools, gain admission to charter schools or be bussed to suburban schools as has already happened here with the Kansas City school district. More times than not, as I have learned through people who live in and or work in areas where schools have been closed, children from the very same neighborhood attend different schools which is further decimating the community fabric of shared experiences, trust and local empowerment.
Instead, we are opting to put public mass education into the hands of charter schools and whichever entities that manage them instead of ensuring high-quality public education for all. With studies analyzing the (in-)effectiveness of charter schools, the need for “lottery-based” – thus exclusionary- admissions methods to gain entry into these schools and the reliance on Educational Management Organizations (EMOs) & other for-profit institutions to organize charter school education, how can we possibly expect that our children will receive the education that they need and deserve?
Here are a few links to the most comprehensive study conducted to date on charter school vs. traditional public school performances (a new study will be released by Stanford some time this year). The results are not satisfying and further compound my belief that our educational resources must be directed at strengthening traditional public schools:
Debate on the accuracy of this study:
We are fooling ourselves if we believe charter schools can replace traditional public school education. In fact, we are turning elementary and secondary education into the next “cash cow” or, rather, industrial complex…which leads me to higher education.
There is not much I can write that U.S. American’s do not already know about our higher educational system as regards the costs involved. But perhaps the following articles will serve as a reminder of and lend a fresh perspective on how backwards our system has become: