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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Twitter Debates: Public vs. Charter Education

I often debate via Twitter. I work to remain respectful. I try to listen and learn. Sometimes the debate results in compromise. Sometimes my points are well taken, and other times those I debate with don't agree with me.

While debates aren't always comfortable, they are important. While better done in real time than online, a debate can spur important questions, links, and learning.

Today I debated the use of public money for private charter schools. I am not in favor of using public money for private schools. There was some back-and-forth that led to information I'll consider more deeply and read up on. To date, I've yet to be convinced that a system other than public education can be better for our country. I am worried about putting public dollars into privateers' hands, yet as one tweeter debated, "Has the public served all students well?"

I know the answer here is no--I know that we can serve all students better, and to do this requires that our public bodies invite the voice and choice of all stakeholders, particularly those stakeholders from economic, cultural, and racial groups that have been underserved. It's a travesty to have inequity in schools and to not teach with respect and good service to each and every student. We know that our schools will be better if we have better representation of all economic, cultural, and racial groups in the teaching and administrative forces. We know that we need to create equitable opportunity for all students in our schools, and we have to let all parents and community members lead our efforts, not just a few.

I've been outspoken in my school system about issues of equity. I know there is more that I can do and will work in that regard. I will continue to listen to many points of view to see if I should change my viewpoint which is that we need to innovate and diversity public education within the public education system and not by corporatizing or privatizing public schools with vouchers or publicly funded private charter schools.

There is much to consider and much to learn, and I am open to this continued debate.