Charter Schools-Our Story

As the new school year gets underway, I find myself, once again explaining why we’re not at our neighborhood school.

You see, I made the decision to yank my kids from our awarding winning public school, and place them in a public charter.

<silence>

It’s ok. That’s the reaction I usually get. You see, my kids are bright. And active. And while my son was doing just fine academically at our neighborhood school, he was stressed. Conforming to the traditional setting did not suit him at all. In fact, it was sucking the creativity and the life right out of him. My bright, bright boy was struggling to keep his hands still and his mouth shut and his eyes and heart were glazing over.

I wouldn't battle them

When his then teacher suggested we use medication to stifle what little spunk was left, I was done.

Done.

Now mind you I’m not one of those mother’s who is blind to their child’s faults. We also sought the advice of pediatricians, school psychologists, and a therapist. Its been a long road for a kind-hearted boy who wasn’t a bad kid, but was quickly being labeled as one because he would roll his pencil in his fingers or had trouble sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time.

There he was, standing against the wall at recess because he hadn’t finished a work sheet…when what he needed more than anything was that 30 minutes to run free and climb and play.

So without knowing what I was going to do, but knowing this had to change, I pulled my son from his Kindergarten and sought an alternative. For all I knew that meant I would home school, or we’d sell body parts for a private school…I didn’t care.

As luck would have it, a spot opened up at the brand new charter in our valley. The first, in our valley. Project learning based. Hands on. Individualized learning. Something his then teacher said she couldn’t do for him, due to a lack of resources. And let me be clear… I do not fault her, or the old school at all. They did what they could do and they managed their classes as best they could with the resources they had. But it was a one size fits all solution…one I couldn’t accept for my son and now, my daughter.

I have the utmost respect for the teachers union. For educators. For the system that is being held together by strings and band-aids and for those who work so hard every day to keep it together and educate our kids. But that system does not work for every child. It’s leaving so many of our boys and girls behind in it’s wake, and I refuse to let my kids suffer while the system gets fixed.

I couldn’t wait another five years, or another round of elections, or another anything. My kids are in elementary school NOW and I have no time for this system to change.

I’m lucky, I found a solution in my own neighborhood. Others are not so lucky. But I would have homeschooled and worked full time if that was my only other choice. I would have gotten a second job to pay for that private school. There are no limits to what we’d do for our kids.

I was talking to my husband the other night about telling this story. About how our family ended up at a charter…and I hesitated. You see, even in our growing valley, traditional ‘values’ run deep and there is already the nay-sayers that are complaining about the ‘un’learning we do at our school. I didn’t want to stir that pot.

But, in the end, I wanted to share our story because it’s not just ours. You see, I’m seeing many families transfer over from those award winning schools. I’m hearing other stories of the struggle with hours upon hours of homework, killing and drilling, soul sucking teach to the test.

There are many.

And while our charter is NOT for everyone, it is the perfect fit for us- the quirky family with the writer mother and artist father and two amazing children who learn through play and encouragement and love.

I’m Erin, and I support charter schools. I also support public education. Those two things can- and sometimes do- go hand-in-hand.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing ~ a very familiar story!

  2. I’m glad you wrote this post.

    I’m part of a team starting a charter school here in St Louis, where the public school system is unaccredited by the state. I get flak from progressive friends who say charter schools take money away from our public schools.

    I see their point. And I’m as leftist as they come in most things, especially education. But I also know that both my husband and I tried to become active in our public schools to help make positive change, and were met with resistance at every opportunity. In short, they are a bureaucratic mess. Families in St Louis need good schools now, and charters are the way for people to do that. I’m unwilling to sacrifice educational opportunities to families because of my own ideology.

    It’s not a perfect solution here. Right now, there are more bad to mediocre charters than good. But I firmly believe that our team will open and operate one of the good ones. Public education, particularly in urban areas is largely broken due to a plethora of reasons. I’ve no time to wait decades for those solutions when I can be a part of one right now.
    .-= KBO´s last blog ..Hey Jerkface Do A Good Thing Today =-.

  3. Our 8-year-old also goes to a charter school here in Northwest Arkansas. When we heard there was an Arts & Music charter school that he could enter (once the lottery for it chose him, which it did) we were thrilled. It’s not hugely different from other schools except an emphasis on creative uses of art and music to teach things. The teachers seem happier and the children, too. Also, it goes through the 8th grade which we like. No campus change at 6th.

  4. Fogspinner says:

    We homeschool through a charter school. What that means is my son is supervised by a fully accredited teacher who we see as often as we wish. It means we have a budget to spend on my sons learning tools, aides, and books, that doesn’t have to be shared with 25 other kids in the class, and doesn’t have to come out of my pocket. It also means they report to the state, and I don’t have to.

    But what it REALLY means; My son isn’t sick anymore. His migraines are a thing of the past. His stress induced intestinal issues are GONE. He can look at me all he needs to put his mind at ease. It means he’s not falling through the cracks or lost in the shuffle.

    Is it a choice I think everyone should make? Hell no. Is it right and perfect for some kids? Hell yes. In our situation, facing a terminal illness nearing it’s end, a super sensitive child, an over worked public school system, this was the only option we could make.

    I fully support you in yours and totally feel what you are saying. I still cringe when people ask my son what High School he’s attending.

  5. Nicely put. I’m glad to see someone articulate this issue so well. It’s also really nice to see a mother pulling kids from a school because the kids don’t fit, and seeking another solution rather than drugging the kid into a quasi-coma/stoned state. Or ignoring everyone and the child’s actual faults and getting mad that world won’t accept “my special little snowflake child.”

  6. My friend Erin you know my strong support of Montessori and non-public schools…but for everyone else…speaking as Gifted and Talented teacher and former Montessori teacher…I strongly believe that kids need to run, they need to move, THEY CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO SIT STILL! They’re not created/built to work that way! Most kids at the elementary age are tactile/kinetic learners (they need to touch things and move to learn). Even as adults we don’t sit still and quiet for long periods of time yet schools expect young people with lots of energy and excited minds to do so? As I step gingerly away from my soap box, I will end with the statement that each parent should do what is best for their child and if other parents judge..tell them to suckit :-) As for me…we choose Montessori.

  7. I live in BC and we don’t have charter schools in this province. I’ve read about the US charter schools though and I think they sound wonderful. My son will be going into school next year and I’m already worried that we will have some trouble. I just don’t think his personality is going to mesh well with the regular public school system. I don’t see any other way beyond homeschooling though (which I haven’t completely written off). I think there should be many more options available for the schooling of our kids. If charter schools work, I think that’s fantastic. Maybe they’ll come to BC one day.
    .-= Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)´s last blog ..Lemons =-.

  8. “But that system does not work for every child.” Absolutely. And that’s why charters serve such an important purpose. I’m so glad you found one that fits your child so well.

    By the way, I’m a public school teacher. In my district, the charters are district-run. Most are fabulous. All are unique and serve a unique set of needs.
    .-= Daisy´s last blog ..Weekend Pajama Mama =-.

  9. When I was living in Missouri and had my child in a private preschool, it was suggested to me that my child may suffer from ADHD. I knew my child was active, so I sought further opinion from a child psychologist. She tended to agree. She thought I should consider medicating my child. I refused at the time because of her age. She was four. Who would want to drug a four year old? It seemed insane to me. Later that year we moved to the UK and I enrolled my daughter at the local primary school. At my first parent teacher conference I asked the teacher if my daughter was hard to handle because it had been suggested to me that she might be ADHD. She looked directly at me and said “There is no way this child is ADHD, she was just bored,” in her very authoritative and slightly intimidating English accent. From that moment on I have become very wary of labeling children who don’t fit into that little acceptable box.
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Who is in Control =-.

  10. Not sure, but I think I might know one of the moms who started your charter! :)
    .-= Cynematic´s last blog ..New glasses for the young man Just in time for the new school year fb =-.

  11. As a very strong supporter of public education, and a general opponent of charter schools, I expected to take more offense to your post. I do understand where you are coming from, but I think that pulling a kid out of school because the school model is bad makes about as much sense as a patient checking themselves out of the hospital because they don’t like the way the staff are scheduled.

    I live in Edmonton, Canada, and I am a public school teacher. I see daily the challenges of trying to teach a specific curriculum to a room full of individuals. I see how kids who are “different” (in whatever form that takes) are often forgotten about by teachers because it’s too much trouble to try and communicate with them.

    However, I also see how teachers spend their lunch breaks, their before and after school time, their weekends, and in some cases most of their free time developing lessons that WILL (and DO) reach all students in the class. I see teachers who acknowledge that their students learn differently, and make accomodations for those differences by doing a variety of things: printing handouts on different colours of paper, or using larger font for exams, or allowing the kid who just can’t sit still to write the answers on the board. In my own classroom, I let the kid who just can’t stop talking lead the discussion; I also allow kids to get up and move around, because I know that they can’t learn if they can’t focus. These things do take time, but they help to make the classroom a rich and vibrant place for everyone, not just the middle-of-the-road kids.

    I’m not saying that I’m the best teacher in history, but I think I’m pretty good. I also think that the system I work in is much better than that of the state of California, as we don’t deal with tenure in the same way, and we are members of very powerful unions that are meant to protect us but that also punish us when it is needed. I also know that I get paid more to do my job. Is the pay enough? Not really, but I can’t imagine trying to get by on what teachers in the US earn; I can easily see why it is difficult to sometimes find highly qualified and talented teachers. I am a little unclear as to what an award-winning public school looks like, as we all rise and fall on the strengths of our district, rather than individual schools.

    The teacher in your post, who suggested that you medicate your son, was out of line. Of that there is no doubt. She should never have suggested that, unless she is a medical doctor, which she clearly is not. However, her suggestion was most likely not meant to offend, but rather to indicate that your child is different from others. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve seen good teachers fired because of suggestions like that, when all they were trying to do was open a dialogue with parents about their children. At least this teacher noticed; some wouldn’t.

    Maybe my problem with this idea of renouncing the public system for a charter school is this: looking at public education through a charter school lens sometimes clouds our remembrance of a situation. One of the things that I find most problematic about the charter school model is that it does take away some of the best and brightest students. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t flaws in the public education system, but taking students (and parents who truly care about the welfare of their children as people AND as students) out of the public school setting takes away from the effectiveness of the public school system in general. Without strong parental advocates, the public school system will never change. If every parent who was upset and vocal about it pulled their kid and put them in a charter (or private) school, public education as we know it would cease to exist; school would become a luxury, and we would be no better off than some under-developed countries in terms of educating our populations.

    Public schools need students. Public schools needs parents. Public schools need students and parents to work together with teachers and administrators and school boards, and state or provincial education boards to make sure that any student can walk into a public school and get a high quality education. If for nothing else than to prepare those students to fight for their own children when the time comes.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..mig14- @johnarobertson Also- if you look on a global scale- its even more difficult to get sympathy wwwglobalrichlistcom cc @33dellis =-.

  12. Good for you. Each family needs to find the right fit. And just because a school wins awards and rakes in the stellar scores, doesn’t mean it is a universal fit. Ya done good, Mama.

  13. Jen Wingard says:

    Thank you for putting this up. I am struggling in Houston, TX with the same issues. My daughter is in pre-K for another year due to Texas’ unwavering 5 by 9/1 rule, so we have her in private montessori. We are zoned for an excellent (one of the very few) public schools in our district but we have already decided she will not go there for many of the same reasons you articulate. Whenever I have discussions about this choice, there are very few people who understand my decision. They think I am questioning her later preparedness for college (I am an English Professor at a public university, and they assure me that the school she’s zoned for is one of the best for preparing her.) But that is not the issue. The issue is that I don’t think having her conform to “traditional” schooling models will work for her and her brand of inquisitiveness or kinesthetic learning –for lack of a better term. And I would hate to see her interest and enthusiasm for school be hindered by a system that I don’t believe in. Not to mention what is expected of little girls in Texas . . . that is a whole other issue. So we are looking at public schools, too. Which is hard for me, who teaches at a public university and often teaches public school teachers — and comes from a family of public school teachers — but it is her education, and it cannot be compromised.

  14. I’d like to see more of your attitude here. Our school board is wreaking havoc here, and some of the members stand to profit from the dismantling of our public schools. They stand to profit from flocks of parents fleeing public schools to the charters/private schools they support. It seems that supporting public schools *and* charter schools is mutually exclusive. The problem here is that the fight isn’t about all our community’s kids, it’s about individual families. So much for the supporting and representing all children in our county.

  15. That’s it exactly, supporting public schools and charters does NOT have to polarizing. While I want to see and will WORK for public schools to get healthy… my children can not wait, and I refuse to compromise on this.

  16. I’m confused by your position. You support public schools, but you cannot compromise for your children. Doesn’t supporting public schools inherently imply that some families will be forced into such a compromise?
    .-= Ren´s last blog ..Macro Monday 77 =-.

  17. I will support public schools in all forms. Our charter is part of the public school system. If I had to pull my kid from public schools entirely (which I didn’t…but…) I would continue to work to improve the public schools in our area.

  18. Megan, if ordinary public schools don’t want the smart, creative kids and involved parents taken out of the ordinary public school system, then they need to figure out how to nurture those kids and they need to stop alienating involved parents.

    I — a college-educated professional writer — was told not to volunteer as a reading tutor at my son’s school by his original public school teacher. Because, she said, it would cause “further attachment issues” with my son if he ever happened to see me at the school. She said this because he had cried sometimes when we dropped him off during his first week.

    Of kindergarten.

    I was also told to medicate my child who was having a difficult time sitting still for long periods of time — in KINDERGARTEN.

    I was also told that my child, who could already read chapter books before he ever walked into a school, should not be given more interesting homework than the letter recognition worksheets the other kindergarteners were doing because “we should not encourage him to get any further ahead than the other children than he already is.”

    I support public schools but I put my son in a PRIVATE school we can’t even afford because our local public school was terribly wrong for him, and there aren’t charter schools available in my district. If there had been a public charter school available to us, we might well have tried that first, to at least preserve some funding for the district.
    .-= Jaelithe´s last blog ..Seeds =-.

  19. I wish I had read this post (AND the comments) while my son was struggling in Kindergarten. By the end of the school year his teacher (whom my son and I both adored) was very concerned and had him tested for a number of issues and in the end had us take him to our pediatrician to have him tested for ADD, which he was diagnosed with. Lucky for us our pediatrician said to give our son time and make some changes in the way we did things at home (routine & schedule kind of stuff). She said if he continued to struggle in the 1st grade she would be on my side to figure out the best solution for my son (our pediatrician is against medicating for ADD/ADHD except in extreme cases and as a last resort). Our charter school was a VERY real consideration except the one here in town has a wait list a mile long. So we stuck with our school, and lucky enough got the most amazing first grade teacher EVER. When I told her he had been diagnosed with ADD she stopped me and said “I don’t think his problem is ADD, I think it’s simply being a six year old.” My son FLOURISHED in her class all year long. I honestly don’t know what we would have done had he ended up in an environment that wasn’t right for him. If he or my daughter (who is now in Kindergarten) were to start having issues I wouldn’t hesitate a moment moving them to a place that’s right for them. Good for you Erin. :-)
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..Tuesday Tunes – My City of Ruins =-.

  20. Executive Director of Education--What's that?? says:

    Hello Queen of Spain!
    Thank you for posting this. Your posting has warmed my heart! Postings like this make each day’s work meaningful.
    I read this with the intention of just hearing what you had to say and how others responded to you. And now, I find myself, for the first time ever–responding to a blog. I am intimidated because if you know me, I am a talker not a writer. So……..I believe this will be short.

    Mainly I want to stress that charter schools ARE public schools. We do not steal kids from the public schools, instead we allow an alternative to the educational settings that are offered in the surrounding “traditional” districts. We allow families to vote with their feet. In the posts above, it seemed as if some of the comments discussed charter schools as if we were private schools.
    Another point that I would like to make is that all charter school students are selected through a lottery process. We do not screen students, or pre-test them, we simply put their name into a large bin and pull their names out. I know this because I have personally pulled hundreds of names for our school. And believe me, I am not talented enough to only pull the names of the best and the brightest. What I can say,though, is that at our charter school–the school where Erin’s two beautiful children attend–we know that all students are the best and brightest students. I know that at our school we don’t focus on creating the best “test-takers’ in the area, but instead we focus on facilitating creativity, innovation, tolerance and communication in order to prepare our students to be leaders in the 21st Century. We understand that our world has changed dramatically, but that most classrooms across America tend to look the same as they did 50 years ago. (Ok, maybe the boards are white now instead of black-I’ll give them that much) We understand that our current traditional educational system still acts as if we are preparing students for the industrial age and we have decided to do things differently. On purpose. Not simply because we don’t know better. I have dedicated my life to making a difference in education. After spending 25 years in the ‘traditional” public schools as a teacher and administrator, I went “charter” and finally—I feel like WE ARE making a difference, one school at a time.
    Thanks again, Queen of Spain, you have made my day!!

  21. What a lovely description of what my family’s life was like 20 years back when school principals started having their secretaries program their phones to speed-dial my office to report misconduct. We ;went the therapist route too, stopping short of the genetics that would confirm me as the donor of his personality. We were rescued from a wretched experience at the Jewish day school, though I should not bring up venal rabbis as we approach Rosh Hashana, by some very skilled people at our public schools which had great familiarity with this type of kid, and regarded his academic prowess as a resource. With the skillful use of medication and many skilled saints in our public schools and regional academic charter school, my son went on to earn a phi beta kappa key from one of the Ivies and now nurtures the interest in neuroscience that he acquired there.

    I’ve had my ear to the ground for similar success stories for years. The best that I could recommend appears in Jerome Groopman’s “How Doctors Think” in which he describes a pioneering pediatric cardiologist at one of the Harvard affiliates who also found himself involuntarily transferred from one elementary school to another.

    Parents really need to be their kids advocate.
    .-= furrydoc´s last blog ..AKSE Ad Book =-.

  22. Oh, I think we have the same kid. The kid that was almost kicked out of preschool for simply being at active boy. And the PRESCHOOL recommended medication. We found a new preschool and he was fine. And he seems to be okay in kindergarten but I hold my breath a lot.

    I wish my district had charter schools. I believe that schools are no longer set up for boys. To much sitting and worksheets.

    Please discuss how no child left behind impacted this. Because that plays a big part.
    .-= jodifur´s last blog ..LShana Tova =-.

  23. I want to add that I think charter schools are a great idea and I understand that they are part of the public education system. I am certainly not against public education. My point was simply that not everyone is afforded the opportunity of solving their public school problems by moving their student to a different public school. I don’t know that something like vouchers are a solution to the systemic problems, but it’s difficult not to see them as a potential solution to the problems encountered by individual families.

    It’s easy to argue that the system itself would suffer, but when individual supporters of public school prioritize their own children’s education above the system, it seems disingenous to expect others not to do the same.

    As I understand it, here in Texas (or at least Austin), we do have a system that if your zoned school is not meeting standards, you can have your child attend a different school. Of course, you are required to get them to the school and this doesn’t help at all if the school is meeting standards and simply not suitable for your child. We also have a charter system, but there is no guarantee that you can get your child into one of the charter schools.

    Private schools often offer a better choice for some families, and there is sometimes financial aid available to make the option more viable. But often, it is simply out of reach. I am hopeful that charter systems can fill the gap over time, but what about families that are not afforded such a choice now, when they need it?

    One final thought — what makes a charter school different? Why can’t the traditional public schools fill the same needs that the charter schools do? This is a serious question — I honestly don’t know the answer.
    .-= Ren´s last blog ..Macro Monday 77 =-.

  24. My biggest problem is that the charter schools are publicly funded. If they’re so much better (which is how they sound based on the comments here) than your run-of-the-mill public school, they shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers. Instead of putting money into charter schools, municipal governments (and state/provincial and federal governments) should be better funding public schools.

    I might be making an assumption here, so PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m under the impression that in a lot of school jurisdictions in the US, it’s not a requirement for a classroom teacher to actually be trained as a teacher. To me, that’s symptomatic of a larger problem. I think that expecting someone who literally has no training in education to be an effective teacher is just plain wrong. We don’t go to the volunteer heart surgeon, so why should we send kids into classrooms with untrained teachers? The example that I’m thinking of is Teach for America, where a college graduate receives 5 weeks of teacher training and is then sent off into an inner-city school – ludicrous! Perhaps this is the problem, not the school system.

    But in order to fix that problem, parents need to get involved in the public schools and STAY involved, even when the going gets tough. I realize that it’s not feasible for all parents to beat down the door of the principal’s office on a daily basis, but if enough concerned parents did that instead of pulling their kids out of school at the first sign of trouble, more change would come. Instead what will happen is the creation of a tiered public education system, one where those who have no other options will be forced to languish in the public schools, with inadequate teachers, low funding, large class sizes and few resources, while the best and brightest (teachers, parents and students) will be in the charter system.

    A good education is not for the vocal majority. A good education is the right of everyone. And I, for one, will work hard to ensure that every student that walks into my classroom gets the best education I can give them.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..mig14- @johnarobertson Also- if you look on a global scale- its even more difficult to get sympathy wwwglobalrichlistcom cc @33dellis =-.

  25. I 100% support charter schools. The mainstream public education system we currently have assumes that all holes are round and all children are round. And how does that saying go? “You can’t hammer a square peg in to a round hole.”

    The same can be said about what the school system is doing to our educators as well. The system says “teach this – teach it this way – and don’t deviate. Teach to the test. We have to have good test scores.” We don’t let our teachers figure out their best way to teach either. Kids and teachers with so much potential are falling through the cracks.

    I think charter schools make it possible for teachers and students to find a place that works best for them. When everyone is comfortable, accepted, challenged and guided, true learning and progress is made.

    If the goal is to raise the education standards in this country than we have to use every resource available to us so that EVERY child or adult in the system exceeds their potential. A quality public education should be available to everyone. Yes, parents need to be more involved. Yes, parents and teachers need to work together and communicate. Yes, we need to do more, do better, try harder.

    I say awesome that you are the parent you are. You recognized a problem. You worked to solve it to the best of your ability. What better lesson can we teach our children? We don’t give up. We don’t necessarily give in either. We work to find the best solutions possible.

    Awesome Erin. Awesome.
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Options for None =-.

  26. Point #1
    *Charter schools ARE public schools.
    How many ways can I say this? Charter schools are publicly funded. Yes they may raise outside funds — but surprise! So do conventional public schools — here in California, they are called “educational foundations”. I’m not sure about the legal constraints, but in essence, they are grassroots nonprofits that raise additional funds for a particular school or district. Do charter schools within district X weaken district X? The jury is still out — but I’d say, probably not.

    Point #2
    Your public school district is quite different than my local districts. Had I younger children, my local district for k-8th grade has:
    *A Spanish-immersion k-5th grade
    *A “hands-on, project based” k-5th
    *An admission by test & lottery “gifted” 3rd-8th grade
    The local 9-12 district has reluctantly accepted two charters — both smaller (400 students each) but also has set up an International Baccalaureate academy at one high school and instituted “colleges” (learning communities) at another.

    In Big Unified District to the south:
    *A Spanish immersion k-8th grade (entry by semi-lottery)
    *A Mandarin immersion which will eventually grow to k-8th grade (entry by semi-lottery)
    *A “hands-on, project based” k-5th school (entry by semi-lottery)
    * A couple of other “special flavor” k-5s, but I’m out of the loop there so can’t really comment.

  27. I just wanted to make my own brief point about medication. Sometimes it Is a good option and leaving it as a “last resort” because you are fearful, can be just as damaging.
    .-= jenB´s last blog ..Wring it out and lay it on a towel to dry =-.

  28. What I find disheartening in many anecdotes is the eagerness on the part of teachers to recommend medication for children (mostly boys) who have angular quirks that don’t fit pre-fab round holes. I wonder if anyone has done studies to see if the prevalence of this is greater in public schools vs private, and if it’s mostly female teachers who recommend medication for male students.

    It might be poking a hornet’s nest, but maybe just as there is unconscious socialization for teachers male and female that often leads them to call on boys more to the detriment of girls, maybe there’s also unexamined socialization for many female teachers to prefer boys to act like stay-in-their-seats girls. (Though, shouldn’t girls be up and about and learning kinetically too?)

    Inequalities in “PTA equity”–elbow grease to fundraise, volunteer, and otherwise nurture the school by parents (let’s face it, mostly moms)–will continue to magnify the differences between schools. There’s a big gap between what working class families with single parents and dual parents overloaded with 2 and 3 jobs can supply to their schools versus what dual-income middle or upper middle class earners can give. The reason I support generous funding of public schools is that it’s a rising tide that lifts all boats. If all public schools could be better funded, maybe communities low on “PTA equity” wouldn’t fall further behind and maybe communities high on “PTA equity” could relax a bit with the incessant fundraisers.
    .-= Cynematic´s last blog ..New glasses for the young man Just in time for the new school year fb =-.

  29. I hear you saying that you support public schools and that you don’t think the issue should be polarizing, but comments like ‘I’m hearing other stories of the struggle with hours upon hours of homework, killing and drilling, soul sucking teach to the test.’ serve to do nothing but make those of us who don’t have any choice except public school feel crappy. In other words, you’re contributing to the problem.
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Why convert =-.

  30. Christina some children thrive in that atmosphere. Some, my daughter being one, would do very well in kill and drill. That’s just not what I want for them.

  31. Amen.

  32. I love that you shared this story. So many Moms think that they just have to accept the situation. My oldest just started kindergarten and I feel like its sucking her spunk right out of her. She goes to private school. Our charter schools are filled teh previous year in November for the school year, so we can’t just do a transfer but if it keeps sucking her life out..Mommy’s finally going to have to put that masters degree to work and homeschool:) Thanks for sharing. I agree, you got to do what’s best for your children. Every kid is different andlearn differently.As parents we have to be their advocates and make sure everything is kopestetic in their world.Happy Mothering!
    http://motherhoodthetruth.blogspot.com/
    .-= Truthful Mommy´s last blog ..Mommy The straw that broke the camels back =-.

  33. Agree. Agree. Agree.

  34. I agree. I wish we had a charter school here that fit this description. It is nice to know that there are some that aren’t just replications of the schools that aren’t working. My oldest is in private school now, because there are no other real public alternatives here that provide an education that isn’t the same “one size fits all.” I’d love to see charters open up here that are innovative, experiential. and project based. But the ones we have aren’t any of those things.

    I too support public education and am a public educator, but I often have to defend my choice to send my kids to private school. My kids are in school now and they deserve the best education they can get. I think every child deserves the best education. I feel fortunate that we can afford to send out kids to private school but hope to someday have a good public option.
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..468 Months Old 2 days =-.

  35. Grammar Ghost says:

    And where did you go to school that you don’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? As a journalist, you should use proper grammar and spelling.

    *erin’s note: as a blogger I can do whatever I damn well please. As a commenter you should use manners :)

  36. Grammar Ghost says:

    Did I say something unkind? Did I say something untrue? How am I not using manners?
    You have a responsibility to use language correctly, especially when you are bemoaning your local school system.
    Yes, as a blogger you can do whatever you damn well please, but I can tell you now, you will lose readers because of it. You have valid and insightful points on many subjects, and readers shouldn’t have to read a sentence over and over to figure out what you mean. (I’m assuming that you’re blogging so that you can share your stories.)

  37. lol I blog. I do not have an editor, like I do when I write professionally. There will be typos. There will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

    This blog is me. Flaws and all. And yes, you lose manner points when you are anonymous. Here in the blog world we call that trolling. Welcome.

  38. Oh, and I should mention. I am a HORRIBLE speller. My editors have red-penned me to death over the years AND … wait for it.. I WRITE LIKE I TALK. Enjoy.

  39. Although charters are public schools in the sense they are funded with public moneys, they are distinctly different. In hiring practices they are often not held to the rules laid out by the state for teacher certifications. They are not held to the teachers’ unions rules that define pay and benefits requirements. And (here in CO) the local school board may or may not have any oversight of the schools, they can choose to be chartered directly to the state. So they have their own board making decisions about the schools.

    Given their successes in education, one might consider some of these differences to drive improvements in education, but also realize, that the lower social classes are often not represented in these schools, due to their inability to find transportation. I neither advocate for or oppose charter schools, as I think both sides have valid arguments but also some challenges with their system. Good that some people have the choice, hopefully we can make those choices available to all.

  40. Well put. We plan to use local public schools. I’m also very disappointed that the local public schools prevented a new foreign language immersion charter school from opening this fall, afraid of the funding they would lose. The public schools in our area are great and I’m thankful for them. This charter school would meet our needs and desires for a more global, internationally-integrated education better. They both have their places.

  41. I realize that I’m commenting on this late, but Erin, I do have to say thank you. Before my daughter was to attend kindergarten, I called my local public school to find out class size. She’s in first grade now (at a private school) and I’m still waiting for someone to give me an answer. I found working with our public school was like beating one’s head against a wall. Also, our school at that time had cut music and art. And you are right — people don’t get it whether you choose private or charter (which isn’t a choice for me).

    What needs to happen? Make all public schools equal. We have 2 districts in the small village where I live. The district I live in cut music, art, extracurriculars, and teachers aides. The other district still has all of that, and last I heard, bought whiteboards for all the classrooms. Now, how is my daughter getting an equal education with other kids who live in the same town? She wouldn’t be which is why we choose private school for her.

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