I Was watching Tavis Smiley speak with Michelle Rhee and it lead me to thinking about Charter Schools. the hyperlink for charter schools is very general and varies state by state. If you are from California, the bay area specifically, then you yourself or someone you know went to a charter school. You very well could have had an aunt or uncle that went to a charter school that was ran by the panthers back in the day.
I’m somewhat split on the idea. The public school system, especially in California, is in drastic need of overhaul. You can spend the twelve or so years in Oakland, San Francisco, or Hayward public school system and get all A’s from K-12 and still NEVER meet the qualifications to get into SF state or U, Cal Berkeley or Hayward (now called Cal east bay) and don’t even think about Stanford located in Palo Alto California. I would love to see the numbers on how many locals are admitted each year. To me that is a shame. It is one of the best schools in the nation and the world, people from all across the globe send their children to Stanford yet the kid that was born and raised in Palo Alto and was educated in the Palo Alto school district would not and does not consider Stanford and a viable option for higher education, even if they were able to afford it they know they would automatically have to spend 2-3 years in a Junior College then maybe another 2-3 in state and then cross their fingers and pray. We also know that UC’s not only are more expensive than they have ever been but actively recruit from outside the state so they can charge those students more on admissions and other fees. That is another issue that I wont get into here.
On the one hand a students surrounded by like minded and other similarly talented students tend to do better in that area. (I.e. art, dance, music, ect) but then it does rob the public school of the natural talents and experience that those students bring. If all your students that live in that area that are talented or have an interest in art all go to the art charter school then why offer art in the regular school. This is what happens and in part, by not creating a need or interest in those area (art, dance, music ect) public school boards see no need to fund, (if there were funds, again another issue), music, art, dance, ect programs. I remember in 6th grade we had one music class (for one day) with instruments, and you could only take choir. Yes until 7th grade I was in school choir and it was nothing Like glee. My high school did not even have a choir or glee club and the kids that were in band in high school had to bring their own instruments. I thought that was bad, but recently my little cousin told me that school does not even have: art, music, or dance in her school. She has a guy come in once a month or so and they do a group project with her grade level (she is in high school and is showing a natural talent for photography)
So yeah talent specific charter schools seem great for the student that expresses a talent from an early age. I would love to see my little cousin shuttled off to some charter school that focused on and helped her build and develop her talent as a photographer. On the opposite coin, If my cousin has this proclivity then im sure there are others that if they were able to take photography (or even art) as an elective, might spark a fire in them. They may not be able to draw in or sing in 5th grade but after their voice changes we could have missed out on the next great tenor because they never had the opportunity to explore and try. Isn't that what are schools supposed to be, places of learning, exploration of self, and education? To prepare them for college and life not babysitters for 5-18 year olds.