Monday, May 19, 2008

Kind of weird

I'm wrestling with this charter school proposal in Oconee County for, well, the same reasons that the Oconee County Board of Education is wrestling with it. My friend David Weeks wisely asks 'why' ...

With Oconee County public schools already outperforming others around the state in math and science, Weeks said he'll base his decision on what would be best for the county's students.

"If we can do it better with a charter school, then I'm all for it, but if we can do it better in the school system, then I'm for that," he said.

Hillary and I share some disagreements over charter schools, with she being opposed to them in principle while I take a much softer stance on the issue in that, well, namely I think that, if structured right, they can provide a strong educational alternative for their respective communities. And The Oconee County School of Math and Science appears to be just that, but I go back to Weeks's concern ...

The Oconee County schools perform very well academically and among some of the best in the state in a variety of categories, so it seems more than odd to set this type of charter school in an area that already features well-performing schools. This would, to me at least, appear to be a good model for Clarke County which features a very talented population of students, but also struggles with dropout rates, parental engagement and the like. Such a venture here might be very beneficial (then again, it might have the oppositie effect, who knows).


Anonymous anon 23 said...

Oconee County students do well, in large part, because their parents value education. Most of my son's friends at OCHS are Professor's kids.
We were NOT impressed with the Honors/AP Biology teacher. We expressed this in a meeting and a letter to the Principal and school board. We were not alone in expressing discontent.
I don't know why the Charter School folks are proposing this school - but if I signed my kid up for it the reason would be rigid teachers who do not understand the actual process of scientific exploration.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just more of the same bull@#^$ with bureaucrats putting themselves between students and a great education.

Problem number one: The debate here isn't necessarily about relative "quality" but rather about providing a curriculum and pedagogy that differs from the one size fits all school board approach.

Different students and parents have different interests and needs and it is insanely unfair and inefficient to force them all into the school boards one size fits all approach.

Problem number two: In as much as you would like to make the debate about quality, what's wrong with aspiring for excellence? That Oconee students perform "very well" on standardized tests or that they perform "above the state average" is really not a very impressive claim. We are talking, after all, about standardized tests that have the nuance of a walrus in heat, and the state of Georgia which ranks at or near the bottom of every educational ranking known to man.


5:44 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

anon23, to be clear, you mean the reason you'd sign up for the charter school would be the rigid teachers in the non-charter schools, right?

Generally speaking, what was the rigidity and the lack of understanding on the teacher's part?

6:34 AM  

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