A Criticism Of Charter Schools Essay

1568 words - 6 pages

One of the most hotly debated issues in the United States today is the controversial topic of education reform. Since public schools are funded almost entirely by local property taxes and money at the state level, many parents feel that they deserve a greater say in what their children learn in school. However, sometimes the opinions of parents contradict the policies at the federal level, thus causing conflict. Dissatisfaction with the public school system in their districts has led many Americas to seek other options for their children’s educations. In 1992, the first charter school opened in Minnesota, giving parents the option to send their kids to a free public school of their choice (“Charter Schools”).
Although about 2 million American students now attend around 5,600 charter schools, I do not think this as beneficial to American students as charter school proponents claim. Despite all of the “perks” charters schools boast of and attract parents with, these schools do not necessarily perform better than average schools. Charter schools give an unfair advantage to stronger students, leaving students who struggle in weaker schools with fewer resources to help them. Perhaps most importantly, they are not available to all students, even though they are funded by public tax dollars. Although the motivations behind charter schools are admirable, they are not worth it. Our efforts in improving education are better spent investing in the public schools we already have.
Despite their intended purpose, charter schools do not statistically perform better than other schools, making them ineffective. Amy Ruck, the New Jersey director of the Office of Charter School explained that the charter school law allows charters to be granted by the Commissioner of Education for various purposes. Some of these include increasing options for parents, creating a system of accountability, improving student achievement, providing new opportunities for teachers, and using progressive teaching methods (Ruck). While all of these are essential factors into charter schools being created, one of the most vital is the increase in student achievement. However, while this is something that charter schools strive for, there is no evidence to prove that they are more effective than regular public schools. One of the most famous experiments in education in the United States is the Knowledge is Power Program, or KIPP schools, which are non-profit public schools that educate low-income children. Students at these schools perform significantly better than low-income students in public schools, but they still do not reach the goals of the KIPP schools. 33 percent of students who attended a KIPP middle school have a college degree today, which is comparable to the eight percent of students throughout the entire United States who are from low income families and have a college degree. Although the success of the program is obvious, many wonder if 33 percent is...

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