Saturday, December 02, 2006

Laurens School District Opposes Thornwell Charter School For Children in Crisis

What we need in this state is a more innovative and entrepreneurial public education system that delivers creative educational alternatives for students not well served by the status quo. If there ever was a group of students that met that definition it is "children from broken or torn families" that the Thornwell Charter School is designed to serve.

If you've never toured the Thornwell Children Home in Clinton, you should. It's doing desperately needed work with children in crisis. You would think that because presumably the the Laurens School District cares about providing quality education to all children, they would be bending over backwards to help the Thornwell Charter School be successful.

But no. What's at the core of their objection?
A charter school would cause disruptions for 250 to 300 students spread throughout the district's schools. "If they came out in classes, we could close the class and not pay a teacher. But they wouldn't and that would mean we'd receive less money and still have to pay the same number of teachers."
You know, the way the real world works is that if you've not providing value that attracts customers, you have to downsize. And it is never easy nor painless. That keeps managers at the top of their game to do anything they can to make sure it doesn't happen if it doesn't need to.

Let's move beyond the charade that the objection of the public education establishment to educational alternatives is about meeting the needs of underserved children, and acknowledge that at the end of the day, as is true in everything else, to understand their objections you have to follow the money. The mantra "We don't want public money going to private schools" is a ruse. Charter schools are public schools, and the public education establishment doesn't like them either. They don't really care about children getting the best quality education, nearly as much as they care about the the public education establishment getting the money so they can control education.

It's why we're in the mess where in. To get out, we must clearly and passionately identify that we have "a culture of education which is 'limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year,'" and we will no longer tolerate that in South Carolina.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Laurens 56 school board has a fallacious argument. Using the same logic, what they are saying is that they could accommodate 250-300 new students in the district without spending appreciably more money. I doubt they'd agree to that.