Saturday, November 24, 2007

How are we spending our money in our public educracy?

My family moved from the city to the county when I was a child--we, like many 'white-flighters' from the city, left in pursuit of a better life--safer community, better schools, promise of a future. We pay our taxes--plenty of taxes. Now, though we've been feeding the community pot for generations, we are left wondering why the promise of a better future through public education is not delivered?

It's time we look at alternatives to the standard inferior model of public education. What's working elsewhere that could work here? And why are we not accomplishing more? I found very exciting information on educational reform in Chicago. With the introduction of 80 new PUBLIC charter schools in a depressed city demographic, they are seeing results.

In an area where only 45% of Chicago Public School students graduate from highschool and only 3 out of every 100 African-American and Latino males earn a college degree, the introduction of competing schools has raised the standards of academic achievement dramatically.

They are now seeing the percentage of Kindergarteners reading at grade level rise from 18% to 84%! A 400% jump in just one year! Prior to the new competition, college prep schools for boys were only available to families who could afford tuition.

The approach to teaching in these newly created schools allows the following:

  • Innovative and rigorous academic curriculum
  • School leaders with a strong record of performance
  • High expectations for every student
  • More classroom instruction through longer school days
  • High levels of parent involvement and support
  • Safe, healthy and supportive learning environment
  • Sufficient resources to help all students achieve
  • for the boys' prep school: small classes, positive male role models, 6-week summer program

Parents get to choose which schools to apply to! How do you like that?! School choice by PARENTS! Who would have thought of that?! Why aren't we doing this in Missouri!?

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