In Response To Our Editorial On Charter Schools

By Frank Cuccia
Public schools have several differing factors than private or charter schools; one being that they have to for the most part take everyone who wants to attend. Now, let’s assume that Scottsdale public school is leased to a private school, does this private school have to accept all comers? If not where does the refugee students go to school. If they are accepted, will see how innovations play out.
Are these charter/private schools now going to have to take the physically, emotionally and mentally challenged students, whose scores count toward the school’s performance grade? Already, the performance scores of charter schools for the most part don’t even meet those of the area public school and once saddled with the extremely more expensive students to educate, it isn’t hard to extrapolate that their performance will further wane.
Home schooling is driven in large part by more than just a lack of public school’s performance. It is driven by social, religious, racial, as well as, educational aspects. Regardless of the school’s flanking capability most home schooled kids will remain home schooled kids.
Note, that the State of Arizona has BY FAR the MOST charter schools per capita than any state in the union and has had for some time. This fact speaks to the lack of success of the charter schools OVERALL. For the State of Arizona’s national education rankings still put us at or near the bottom. That is in spite of the fact that teacher accountability measures are near the top as it relates to strictness.
As far as a monopoly goes, that is where some entity has the power to control most all aspects of the market. Public schools are only the largest institutions in the educational sphere because THEY HAVE TO, BY LAW, take all comers, whereas private schools could & do pick & choose who to let in, but more importantly who to keep in. Some charter schools also pick & choose, and the ones that do are often the ones who out perform their contemporary public school. The ones that are less picky, if you will, tend to have similar or worse results than public schools.
So this move to privatization will unfortunately play out as it has in most all other situations, bad for the average educational consumer; more costly with no better or worse results. Just as the privatization of the prisons has cost the taxpayer more for worse results, so will be the result from public school privatization.
Lastly, the white elephant in the room, is that where there are better results, you will undoubtedly find more parents who hold themselves & their children more accountable for their own education. Innovation cannot offset the lack of proper student support at home for a good percentage of the student body.
Where public schools should change, is in the makeup of each class. The horrible experiment forced on public schools by you Joe Citizen decades ago was to insist that the best way to educate everyone was to combine the excelling students with those that struggle. Arguing the the modelling by the excelling students would raise the level of the struggling.
This flies in the face of the fact that many young people including many of the excelling students would like to get by doing less (human nature). So once they watched the struggling students do less and still pass they modeled them. Result classroom chaos; the state was forced to dummy down the standards, because they couldn’t be seen as putting out so many failing students. After decades of that philosophy – here we are.
Schools need to create pathways for the excelling students, as well as the struggling ones. Struggling students should be taught to become excelling, and excelling should be allowed to excel. Many schools have just started reorganizing their classes, and couple that with the more stringent common core standards Arizona schools have a chance of getting out of the educational basement. If they don’t screw it up with privatization before that happens.