My youngest daughter will soon be turning five years old and when my fiancée and I was trying to decide which school we wanted her to attend, we were looking into the public school system. That was until my fiancée received a notice in the mail that there was a charter school having an open house. There were several concerned parents there with us and as we entered the building where this open house was being held, my first thought was how big the building was. As we entered one of the classrooms where the principal was about to begin her presentation, I was surprised to see that there were no individual desks but tables and chairs. The classroom look able to handle about 40 students and thinking charter school, I had thought of smaller class sizes. None of this helped us to decide about enrolling our daughter that was until the principal opened her mouth and said those words that I had been dying to hear. She said that this school would be preparing our daughter for college. Enough said where do I sign?
Some people may say that public school also prepares kids for college and I have to disagree quite strongly with that ascertain. After all these years of dealing with the public school system, I have seen no evidence of that whatsoever. What I have seen is a tendency to do the bare minimal in order to collect a check. What I have seen is an administration more determined to suspend and expel than to educate. Besides the “preparing kids for college” claim there were a few other things which only provided more evidence that sending her to the charter school was the best call. “Each school engages parents as real, not nominal, partners. Each school fosters a culture that is highly collegial and focused on continuous improvement. And each effective charter school has a strong accountability system, not just to please its authorizers but also its “clients,” the parents.” (Unknown Author, US Charter Schools, Elements of Effective Charter Schools, Retrieved from www.uscharterschools.org). I loved the fact that charter schools see the parent as not a tool to be used to encourage students to behave properly but as a client and partner to consult, listen to and learn from. Won’t find that in public schools. “In some schools, the mission is to prepare low-income, urban students for higher education.” (Unknown Author, US Charter Schools, Leading with a Mission, Retrieved from www.uscharterschools.org). In other words, Charter schools are the low-income earners equivalent to a private school.
Lest we forget that another reason why it was very easy to select charter over public is because the students will have actually workbooks to bring home and give parents something tangible to see and allow us a better opportunity to help our children get the best out of their school years. The final one was when I was informed that if charter schools did not achieve the goals set before them of student preparation and education, they would lose their charter. To me that sounds like a really good incentive to help keep the educators on their toes and their feet to the fire. For other parents out there, if you have a chance to set in on a charter schools’ open house, don’t miss it. It may be the eye-opening experience regarding your child’s education that you have been looking for.