Thomas states, “…charter schools in those states where legislation has been created are free of virtually all other state and federal rules and regulations.” I was wondering where special education fits into this. Do they have to follow IDEA and NCLB? What does “virtually free” mean? Do they get to pick and choose which state and federal rules and regulations they want to follow? How do they know which ones to follow and which one they don’t have to?
He also states, “In addition, many educational and non-educational professionals insist that governmental regulations stifle the learning environment. By their very nature, charter schools are free to experiment with educational practices and curricula. For charter schools, creativity and innovation are not simply buzzwords: these concepts are expected to be the cornerstones of such entities.” If this is true, why are public schools stifled with these governmental regulations? Charter schools are funded with public money through taxpayers so how do they get out of following governmental regulations? I hear a lot of complaining in public schools about how much time is spent on testing and specific rules for teaching standards. In fact there is so much time doing this, that teachers complain they can’t be creative in their own lessons. If everyone knows that this stifles the learning environment, why do we insist that teachers teach this way?
I guess all my questions show my lack of understanding about Charter Schools. I would love to be teaching in a charter school where I wasn’t pressured by rules and regulations. I would love the chance to use project based learning and universal design for learning. What a great chance to use technology in the classroom! I would love smaller class sizes and the support of parents who are really involved in the school.
I have said for years that we need to go back to the old neighborhood schools where schools are smaller and students attend a school right in their own neighborhood instead of being bussed miles away to another school. I understand about race ratios but I think in today’s time that we have reached a level where our children’s education is more important than race ratios. I think we need to have smaller schools where parents and teachers can interact more; where students know that their teachers will encounter their parents in the neighborhood. We need to be more of a “family” to the students where we are all working towards the same goal. I think that is what I see Charter Schools becoming. Maybe after all the years of consolidation and large schools, we have realized that smaller schools are the way to go. Maybe this is the start to moving in the other direction.
If you have any answers to my questions, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe my view is too simplistic and would love for someone to explain why my view is wrong.
Photo credit: Original image: 'Crayola Lincoln Logs'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73207064@N00/404321726by: Chris Metcalf