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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What To Do About Students on Waiting Lists?

It's a convincing argument--many children are on waiting lists for charter schools, but as I read, the argument is misleading and short sighted.

Massachusetts is known for its strong public schools. We are on the right track with regard to teaching and learning well. Do we want to upend the good work by giving away our financial resources to private organizations that run schools? What does that mean for the long run? What will that do to our communities--who will benefit and who will not?

If any state can revise and reignite public schools, it is Massachusetts.

We have what it takes to create top-notch schools in every community throughout the state.

We're on the right track with well qualified educators, strong standards, and lots of private/public interest in education.

Yet, some would like to give up on the good work possible and give away our opportunity to better schools and do what's right by students with the dollars from all the working, tax-paying citizens.

We don't have to opt out of publicly run schools in this state--in our state we have what it takes to continue to build a strong, public school infrastructure.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for growth, development, and change. I see lots of opportunity for positive change to serve all students better if we work together and promote schools that integrate and educate all children.

I worry when our public officials begin to use tax dollars to support schools for some, but not for others.

The argument might be that this is the way it is between wealthy communities and not so wealthy communities, and with this comment my response is to provide similar schools, supports and structures to students throughout the state. Update facilities, improve playgrounds, make sure that all teachers are well qualified, give teachers the time, support, and leadership they need to teach well, and connect schools to the social/health agencies they need to utilize to support all children.

Rather than give dollars to privately run education companies, use the dollars to look deeply at how Massachusetts can create the best possible public schools--a school system that will create a strong foundation for our State going forward, a foundation of solidarity, prosperity, and strength.

To divide us more by using tax dollars to support some and not others is not the way to forward our education system at this critical time in our country.

I'm not ready to give up on public schools, are you?

Note: While I am strong supporter of public schools, I also support parents' individual choices to send their children to private schools if that's what they deem is best for their child, however, I don't feel it is the public's responsibility to support those schools unless there is extreme circumstances--the kind public schools face when a child has a very challenging health or social-emotional situation.