kitchen table math, the sequel: how many people know what charter schools are?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

how many people know what charter schools are?

At last night's board meeting a parent asked what a charter school is, which led me to wonder: how many people know, today, what a charter school is? I remember it was only a very few years ago that I finally figured it out, probably after I started writing kitchen table math.

I found a terrific description in the Times:
SOME things never change. For example, children still collect soda cans and box tops to buy classroom equipment. But much in K-12 public education is being turned on its head, especially in urban districts where fixing failing schools has become a national focus.

This means new education leadership jobs: running charter schools, directing turnarounds of troubled schools and founding nonprofits with creative answers to education challenges.

Such work demands educators who are more M.B.A./policy-wonk than Mr. Chips, which is why universities are unveiling degree programs that pull professors from schools of education, business and public policy. In September, the Harvard Graduate School of Education announced a tuition-free, three-year doctoral program in education leadership, the first new degree at the school in 74 years.

[snip]

Other programs are drawing people looking for high-level job training or flexibility. That’s who’s filling Central Michigan University’s online charter school leadership program, which graduated its first class on Dec. 12. One student, Patrick Kissel, 44, a retired Army master sergeant, wants to change careers, and appreciates the opportunity to earn his master’s while working as chief of business operations at Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania.

He will not graduate until August 2011 but has already been contacted by a charter school group in Canada. That’s not unusual, says David E. Whale, the program director. “People are reaching out to me saying, ‘We want to talk to your graduates,’ ” he says, noting that starting salaries for charter school directors are $60,000 to $80,000 a year.

Sergeant Kissel, who chose charter schools “because they are mission-driven,” became interested in education while serving in Bosnia and Kosovo, where he was charged with rebuilding schools and, he saw, children’s lives: “It was sort of like a passion to give these young kids skills they could actually use.”

Skills to Fix Failing Schools
By LAURA PAPPANO
Published: December 29, 2009

Mission-driven.

2 comments:

Crimson Wife said...

What most annoys me is the misperception that charters are not public schools. It drives me up a wall when critics of charters claim that they're part of a campaign to "privatize" education in the U.S. They're not private schools!

Allison said...

Catherine,

What problem do charters solve?

KTM exists because parents send their kids to schools that they think are good-to-excellent for their children, on whatever measures they use, and the parents, low and behold, are wrong.

KTM's focus is on certain elements of academics where the parents are mistakenly under the impression things are okay, but KTM has also pointed out the things schools get wrong in terms of character ed, discipline, motivation, etc.

Why would parents suddenly know better about what's right and wrong in their child's school if their child were magically in a charter?

What about being a charter (necessarily) changes the observables?