Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nothing New In Charter Schools

When I was growing up I was not that well behaved. I got in fights in school and in the streets, refused to listen to my parents, and threw temper tantrums when my parents punished me or confined me to my room..
When direct physical discipline (spanking, slapping my face, washing my mouth out with soap) didn't work, my parents pulled out what they thought was their most potent threat
: "If you don't shape up, Mister, we are going to send you to Yeshiva or Military School."
That ALWAYS got my attention. The last thing I wanted to do was to be sent to a place where corporal punishment and zero tolerance discipline prevailed.
And as I recalled those "conversations," which I am sure took place in the homes of my Italian friends with Catholic school as substitute for Yeshiva, I thought about the "no excuses" charter schools like K.I.P.P, Success Academies, and Uncommon Schools which are being currently being touted as the "solution" to educational inequality.
And what I concluded is this- Such schools have ALWAYS existed, in some form, as options for frustrated parents, but they
never served the majority of students and won't be able to do that now
Because there is no "one size fits all" discipline that works for every child and every family, any more than there is a one size fits all curriculum or pedagogy.
Charter schools, as the reincarnation of military school and religious schools, work for some families, but to make them the model for all school does a terrible disservice to teachers, students and families who want a freer and less intimidating educational atmosphere.

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