05 September 2006

An Incredible Discussion

 The folks over at Blue Mass Group have outdone themselves this afternoon with a lengthy and informative (and informed) discussion of charter schools, pilot schools and public schools in Massachusetts. As I've never studied education policy and have only taught at the pre-kindergarten level (and not in Massachusetts, at that), I've got nothing to add but feel obligated to mention it and pass it along. Perhaps once I've digested the information, I'll have an opinion on the matter but at the moment, I'm simply glad to have learned more about an important issue facing Massachusetts generally and Boston in particular.


Blogger lecollye said...

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05 September, 2006 16:09  
Blogger lecollye said...

Great discussion indeed. I support the idea of the charter/pilot school. And yes, race/class is a large issue when discussing pilot/charter schools, when we can afford it to be.

I believe the larger issue is the economic one. Boston PSD and Springfield PSD can afford to experiment with their budgets in ways other smaller cities and towns can only dream of. The smaller cities and towns whose district budgets' can not support an additional school, let alone one that fails. While grants do support large portions of the budgets of some charter/pilot schools, predominantly, when a charter/pilot opens in a district with 5 or less schools, that new school then draws from the budget of the other schools.

While those existing schools may be failing on many levels; with the MCAS raising dropout rates to all-time highs, we need to set priorities on improving our exiting schools in every way possible. Taking away their much needed funds and programs is not the way to improve education in the state.

I know this is a bit of an extreme take, but in regards to specialized high schools, this isn't Soviet Russia. While I myself probably would have thrived at an arts intensive high school, all students need a strong foundation in the arts and languages, not just those pursuing them as a career. How many musicians do you know that earn a living from it?

Yes, diversify and specialize the course of study. Yes, improve schools on every level. But not at the sake of our already troubled smaller schools, who already charge kids to play sports and lost their music and language programs years ago.

"Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That's my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet." -Aaron Sorkin

05 September, 2006 16:11  

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