Charters and PPS
March 26, 2009 10:04 am
Responding to the recent audit of PPS charter schools, PPS Superintendent Carole Smith had this to say:
“The track record of PPS charter schools — and of the district’s success in managing and partnering with those schools — is a mixed bag. After 10 years, it is time for a deep and thoughtful assessment of charter schools, in theory and in practice.”
Given the Board’s rejection of the most recent charter applications, it looks like the worm might be turning. Odd timing, given the rest of the country under our new President is going ga-ga over charters.
Full disclosure: my daughter attends Trillium right now. There are lot of great things about the school, e.g., not holding kids to artificial benchmarks, integrating art and music across the curriculum, theme-based education that ties in different learning styles, project-based learning, and allowing kids to choose things they are interested in learning and then giving them time and support to pursue these things. As an educator and parent, I appreciate these forms of pedagogy.
But as an activist, I question the role of charters and worry about their draining effect on neighborhood schools. On this blog, Rose and Stephanie have shared information about the way kids with IEP’s and kids with disabilities are served by PPS. The way charters handle this concerns me even more.
I think we as a community need to look carefully at the charter movement here in PPS. Is there a way that charters can become community partners, or will they always serve a niche? And why?
Peter Campbell is a parent, educator, and activist, who served in a volunteer role for four years as the Missouri State Coordinator for FairTest before moving to Portland. He has taught multiple subjects and grade levels for over 20 years. He blogs at Transform Education.