Unless you actually went to public school yourself and/or decided to send your own children to one, you really shouldn’t be making decisions (for others) regarding public versus charter schools and vouchers. (And yeah, I am talking about politicians including some alleged moderates and progressives.) Unless you really “get” that the middle class doesn’t have a future if parents are going to have to shell out tens of thousands every year for every kid for private school tuition, that a professional teaching force is better than eager grads padding their resumes, that public schools (and charters) aren’t just for the less fortunate but should be the default, and a decent education that helps every child – regardless of how much money their parents make – to reach his or her potential is a NECESSITY if America is going to compete with the rest of the developed world, you really shouldn’t be talking about gutting public education in order to give contracts, free space and other goodies to corporatized low-bidding charters. Public schools can and do succeed, and when and where they don’t, systems can be reformed. Charters, for the most part, limit parental involvement, subject kids to long commutes, sap resources that could go to public schools and will never be able to take everyone. They are often secretive about their actual data.

All of the “innovative” stuff and best practices can be done by public schools, PLUS it can be done in communities where kids actually live, parents may actually be able to participate, and local institutions and organizations may be able to partner for the benefit of all.

Yes, there are issues with unions, not just teacher unions, but cafeteria workers, janitors, paraprofessionals etc. Cities and states may need to be tough, but the countries that have the best public systems ALL have strong teacher unions. If Finland can do it, why can’t we?

Also you know what causes America to consistently score low in educational achievement compared to some other countries? POVERTY — something charters don’t even begin to address, but public schools working with a community school model can begin to.

The problem is when “reformers” are not consumers of public education and think of public education as being for other people’s children.

End of today’s rant. Discuss.

(Marion went to public school, taught public school, worked as an administrator in a public school/CUNY collaborative program, and worked with a non-profit that was the senior developer of a public school with other community organizations. See these three previous posts on the top — here, here, and here. She is not talking out of her butt on this one. Also btw she writes fiction that has nothing to do with this topic, but you might want to check out.)

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