MWB wrote:Not sure how many people look into this thread aside from the regular contributors, but I am curious about something. Charter schools are on the rise around the country. Vouchers are gaining steam again. If you have kids, or are planning on it, does sending your kids to a public school leave you with a negative feeling? Is that feeling specific to the school, or just general?
After working in a charter school and seeing how they operate from the inside I would never send my child to one. They preach a lot of idealism but on the inside have very little in the way of enacting that idealism. They preach "data driven instruction" which is useful in terms of seeing what a child knows and what they need (if they take the test seriously). My experience with that approach was less focus on the actual student and more focus on what their data told us. If a student needed some emotional support "perhaps you should cater more to what their data tells you." if a student was struggling with a concept they apparently had mastered, "their data supports that they already have mastered this concept, you should find a way to engage them with what their data said they need work on."
I could fill pages with my bad experience at a charter school. There were some excellent teachers there, really just superb. The administration though was mostly clueless to what an actual classroom needed and constantly tried to force a square peg into a round hole. I'm not saying all charter schools are bad, this is just my personal experience form the inside. If for instance I lived within the Pittsburgh Public School system I'd for sure be looking into sending my child to a private or charter school. Heck the school district was one of the biggest factors for my wife and I moving out of North Versailles. There was a zero chance I was sending my child to Woodland Hills... but I digress.
Charter schools and private schools may seem like a cure all or a way to protect your child but I can assure you the same "problems" you're trying to avoid in a public school still occur in a charter school. Kids are kids and they are constantly learning and evolving both in the classroom and with interactions between peers. Sending them to a charter school, private school, or public school has little impact on their experience between peers.
For a brutally accurate and humorous look into charter schools I recommend visiting the blog http://teachbad.com/
start from the beginning of his posts as he no longer teaches due to the hypocrisy and rhetoric. (The guy that writes the blog is highly educated and depicts my experience in a charter school to a T, his was in Washington DC, mine was in Pittsburgh.)