Conservatives have advocated charter schools for some time. They proclaim that privately run schools are superior to public schools and can be operated for less, thus providing a better educational system for less money, lifting the burden of excessive property tax from the home owners.
Promising lower taxes always gets the attention of the property owner, and gets votes for the politician. Office seekers always seem to favor lower taxes for the middle class. The real reason for that is that the middle class comprises the majority of the voters. Thus the lower tax candy cane is offered, but lower taxes may not occur.
Charter students make up a very small percentage of the total student population. However, in order for the charter school to operate, taxpayers pay a per-student tuition along with transportation costs, that may equal or exceed the per pupil cost of public schools.
Charter schools receive equal financial support as public schools, charter schools are not required to meet all the standards of public schools, teachers may or may not have the required education and training as public school teachers, sports and other extracurricular programs are curtailed.
Charter schools accept students selectively, leaving special needs students for the public school systems, achievement scores in charter schools are no higher than public schools and the property tax is not any lower because of charter schools. Remember, charter schools are privately run for profit.
Private schools have existed for centuries. No doubt they are good schools and for the most part have been supported either by families with above average means or by religious entities.
The main impediment for some of the schools located in the depressed area of larger cities is the failure of parents to be parents. One solution would be to hold neglectful parents responsible by insisting they accompany their children to school at least once a month and have a short conversation with their children’s teachers. This may sound harsh, but there is no doubt that the parents will soon learn that giving those children an opportunity for an education and to become a good and productive citizens benefits everyone.
The nation’s teachers have been maligned by purveyors of charter schools along with other special interests. The privateer’s attack on public schools is malicious, demeaning and just plain wrong. The public school system has well-educated, dedicated and qualified teaching staffs who devote their time to preparing students for life’s challenges. What is missing is participation by parents. It is the parents’ duty to guide their children through their formative years.