Why Do Charter Schools Work Better?

Do charter schools seem to score better on tests because of the teachers? The curriculum? The students? Can I get a straight answer? Yes. All the above.

First, teachers in a charter tend to be excited, energetic, and determined; IOW motivated and independent. They don't need a principal telling them how to make thier teaching more "powerful" or "meaningful", or how to align standards with curricular materials.

Second, the curriculum used at any school has little to do with how well students learn certain standards. Go into any classroom and you will find 10 years worth of curricular materials that the teacher has morphed into one, and used them and tweaked them over the years so that they work for students and the teacher--symbiosis.

Third, almost all charters require certain commitments from parents and students that public schools could never demand; there are codes of conduct (with expulsion as a consequence!), parent volunteer hours, dress codes, homework codes, longer days, and and if you don't follow the codes, you're gone.

So when the unions get busted, and all teachers are scrambling to get hired by the moneyed charters (which will come, mark my words)remember that your child will not be attending an exclusive charter with a self-selected group of students/families that bring the scores up and makes you think it is the school(read: teachers). No. It is the selectivity of a charter--its boutiqueness--that allows it its apparent success. And that success cannot translate when every school becomes a charter school or privatized.

Public education is in such trouble because we throw money and regulation at a problem that should be dealt with locally. If there are students struggling in a school, the school should be free enough to move money and personnel around to accommodate remediation, enrichment, supervision, and all the other things a school needs to provide on moment by moment basis; things that can't be ordered, or planned to death, or requisitioned, or approved.

We have tied our hands with NCLB, and there is no way out other than failure of public education, and the resulting corporatization that will come--with Michell Rhee as its CEO, smiling all the way to the bank.

Raise your kids, people. Don't rely on the government to educate you or your child anymore than you expect the government to get your exercise for you. The government gives you parks and trails for you to get exercise, and the government gives you schools for you to get educated.

Update: Here is a conduct code as an example:

by Dr. Ben Chavis

1. The school facility is open daily from 8:30am until 4:00pm, except Saturdays, Sundays,
and all holidays known to mankind.

2. The staff of AIPCS does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance.
Anyone who does not follow our rules will be sent packing with their rags and bags!

3. Squawkers, multicultural specialists, self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers, and
those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort will be booted out.

4. Boot-licking or self-promoting is not allowed by any politician who enters our classrooms.
Politicians should beware: teachers are on duty!

5. We do not believe standardized tests discriminate against students because of their
color. Could it be many of them have not been adequately prepared to take those tests?

6. The staff does not allow students to wear hats, gold chains, or ear-bobs in the building.
Adults are not allowed to use cell phones, beepers, and other gadgets in our school.

7. Dr. Chavis does provide psychological evaluations to quacks and Kultur specialists on a
sliding scale. See him immediately for such rates.

8. All solicitors should note the nearest exit upon entering this institution of learning. We
view such alley cats with a fishy eye.

9. No more than one psychologist or school administrator is allowed in our school at a time.
This rule is part of our commitment to high academic standards.

10. Photographs of the Director of Staff are on sale at the front office. Payment must be
made in advance. CASH ONLY! The photographs will be sent to you by pony express.

11. The staff of AIPCS is of the first rank. We request that you do not flirt with them. They
will accept your cash donations!

12. Visitors are welcome daily. Due to the time it takes to re-educate university visitors, we
are limiting their number to a maximum of four individuals a week.

13. It will be difficult for our staff to meet with those educational experts who "know it all."
We are willing to meet with such tomcats on Halloween night.

14. How does anyone convince a Billy goat or taxpayer that school administrators possess
above average intelligence? How will we address this educational dilemma?

15. Our staff does not subscribe to the back swamp logic of minority students as victims.
We will plow through such cornfield philosophy with common sense and hard work!

16. If you wish to share any suggestions regarding this page, our common sense
committee accepts suggestions from 8:30am to 8:31am each holiday.

Notice the selectivity in this from American Indian Public Charter.

Go see it for yourself: http://www.aipcs.org/CommonSense.html

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