Charter schools — those two simple words are politically charged, no doubt. No matter which side of the coin you land, you likely have an opinion about these public schools that do not belong to the local school district.
I happen to be a believer in good charter schools. I also believe good old-fashioned locally run schools, magnet schools and private schools. What I do not believe in is a one-size-fits-all approach to education – public or otherwise.
Personally, I am a product of both public and private schools. I know they are both valid. I am also a product of a time when class ratios were manageable and schools were not overcrowded. My graduating class – at a public high school – had about 75 students.
When asked why I chose to leave our local public school system, I could provide a well fleshed-out list of problems and frustrations. However, I like to say why I chose charter schools instead.
It is a basic philiosophy – “Big Box” education vs smaller scale solutions.
Big Box education is exactly that – if you looked at my kids’ former middle school it looked like a big brick box. Lots of kids, operating at 140% capacity, and at last count it sported 27 mobile classrooms. My heart ached to send my kids into that environment.
My kids did well in the public school system. All three are honors students, bright kids, involved in their school and community. But “doing well” is not what I want for my kids. I want them to thrive and shine. I want them to feel nurtured, loved and supported.
Bottom line for our family is this: Ratios matter. Student body size matters.