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Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay

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Published by Kendall O'Neill
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Published by: Kendall O'Neill on May 02, 2013
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05/14/2014

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O’Neill
1
Kendall O’Neill
 Megan KeatonEng 11222 April 2013Charter Schools: Helping or Hurting the Public Education SystemThe Center for Research on Education Outcomes or CREDO proved that the vastmajority of charter schools perform at the same level or worse than their traditional counter parts.While these schools continue to fail, they take important resources from the existing publicschool. The dwindling amount of resources like funding, qualified teachers and eager studentscause public schools to teach in worse environments, making charters appear better. The childrenof today will be the adults of tomorrow and it is imperative that they have a strong education for a hopeful future. Charter schools and traditional public schools are playing a dangerous game of tug-of-war. Charters continue to receive federal funding while traditional public schools fundinghas been drastically cut across the nation. In this paper, I will show the appeal of charter schools.I will then show how they are hurting the public education system. Finally, I will show the reader how this can be settled neutrally by keeping the successful charter programs around whilefiltrating out the weak ones.Charter schools started about 20 years ago with the first one in Minnesota. They were
created as an educational experiment. The teachers didn’t have to follow strict guidelines on
what to teach, how to teach it, and how long to spend on a subject. Teachers had the freedom toteach as they saw best fit with the promise of producing high test scores. This freedom gaveteachers the ability to try new innovative ways of teaching and teach by exploring throughstudent
s creativity. The only restriction they had was that they had to produce strong results,high test scores, or the charter would end and the school would close. Charters are well liked
 
O’Neill
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 because they rely on high amounts of community involvement with the community and parentsof the students. Parents are consulted with opening, managing and upkeep of the school. Parentsare asked to help with school fundraisers and most importantly in the involvement of their 
child’s every day school work.
 
The downfall and reason all students can’t attend these des
irable
schools is because there aren’t enough of them. Students who attend these schools have beenchosen randomly through a lottery. Most students won’t have the opportunity to attend them
even if they have been on the wait list for years.
“As of 2009,
more than 4700 charter schools enrolled over 1.4 million children in 40states and the District of Columbia. The ranks of charters grow by hundreds each year. Even so,
more than 365,000 names linger on the charter school wait lists.” (
Raymond) The desire toattend charter schools are higher than ever before. With NCLB Act 2001 parents and studentshad the opportunity to leave their failing schools
or “drop out factories”
and attend charter schools or use vouchers to attend better 
schools that weren’t in the
ir district. This choice made parents feel as if they were more in control over the education their child would receive.There are a couple of charter programs that have proved to produce results much higher than those of their traditional schools counte
rparts. “Those are the ones that capture headlines or 
show up on 60 minutes: Harlem Academy, KIPP, Achievement First, Uncommon Schools,
Aspire, MATCH, and Preuss schools.” (
Morris) KIPP is a rigorous course that truly challengeskids and produces strong results. KIPP students have an extended school day and go from 7:30
 – 
 5, they attend Saturday school, they attend mandatory summer school for three weeks and theyreceive two hours of homework a night. (Smith)
“Mathew Di Carlo at the Albert Shanker 
Institute estimates that the successful charter school year is 2-4 months longer than that of 
traditional public schools.”
(Morris) With this extended school year, teachers have more time to
 
O’Neill
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focus on their students. They can spend more time on subjects the class may be struggling with
and they have more time to focus on individual students. “In 2004, 85% of KIPP alumni whowere seniors in high school were accepted to a university or college.” (
Smith)The percentage of KIPP students that go off to college in comparison with students thatattend the local neighborhood schools shows a vast difference. However most students that willenroll in the KIPP program will not finish it. It is estimated that about 60% of KIPP students willdrop out during the course of middle school. (Strauss) In reality KIPP students drop out morethan they finish the program. Even with the number of kids dropping out, KIPP rarely allowsstudents to enter in the 7
th
or 8
th
grade
“…because in the later grades, KIPP students are
surrounded only by
successful peers who are the most committed to the program.” (
Strauss)
 
KIPP may be able to produce higher test scores and higher percentages for students going off tocollege but they are false, misguided statistics.

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