Thank God I work for a charter school.
Everyone in education is anxious these days. Why are test scores so low? Why are states cutting teacher salaries? How are we supposed to teach more and more kids more information on less money, with less assistance?
There are no easy answers. But right now, I'm noticing that the only schools hiring are charter schools. For the past six years, I've taught at a charter school. It has been a great atmosphere for teaching.
Exactly how are charter schools different from regular schools? We are regulated by the same rules as any other public schools. Our students take standardized tests. Our declared purpose might be to reach a segment of the student population in a specific way, such as emphasizing math or science, or to specialize in the arts. But charters still must measure up to state accountability systems, or they get closed down.
One huge benefit of charter schools is the lack of a large, unwieldy bureaucracy. The board at the top makes decisions, often quickly, about new policies and improvements. They set up training and things get done. As a teacher, you don't have to wait three years for things to be put in place. On the other hand, if you dislike or disagree with policies, you just need to put on your walking shoes and go elsewhere.
For students, a small charter can be a safer school where more attention is given to the individual student.
I'm hoping the state fixes the budget issue. At a time when students struggle to get the minimum competencies, cutting teachers seems criminally dumb. I'm hoping my job at my happy little school is safe, as we aren't dependent on the same funds in the same degrees.
And if your child is drowning in a large classroom is a huge school, check out the charter schools available near you. This option can be a fine way to obtain an education.