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This is a comment I made on the main page.  The diary was  My Experience with an Alternative Charter School.    To be clear, upfront and honest, I am pro public school, and quite distrustful of the charter school movement that I see today. I believe I explained it in another comment in the diary.   I will always support the notion of not-for-profit in any way (by that, I mean the charters who insist to the public they are the same as the public schools but have hidden investors getting the public school funds to push their agenda) PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR ALL. I am totally against "merit pay" or the notion that schools should compete against each other in anything but sports, debat, intellectual competitions.
Competing for dollars for education is just wrong imo.  In the end, and we all know it, the balance of power will go to the corporations and the oligarchs behind the scenes rooting for the end of public education.  
But this comment is more of a general comment about students, learning, teachers and what education me.
Comment follows....

Here's the deal from a forty year veteran (now retired) teacher who taught sixth grade for almost 30 of those years.  

There is NO MAGIC POTION for teaching/educating/learning whether in public, private or charter schools.

Children can be and often are learning regardless of what any tests say.   Children learn in different ways, at different rates, even when they are in the same grade.  Children are not widgets.  We know this because they physically grow at different rates; develop all kinds of skills at different rates.

Curriculum is not the problem.  Standards are not the problem (just a joke).  The problem is that children are not widgets.  Teachers are not robots.   Over their 12+ years in school, fortunately students will get many different teachers.  That is a good thing.  
Even the best teacher ever, will not succeed with 100% of the students 100% of the time.  It's nonsensical to even think that is possible.

We accept that all children may run different speeds and we do not deem them failures if they run slower than some of their peers. We urge them to get to the finish line regardless of their speed.   But in reading or math or writing, heaven help them if they are slower.  

Here's the thing.  Tests only are valid for a portion of learners.  Those of us with good auditory and/or visual memory do well in tests.  But those of us gifted with our hands (able to draw, or build), or gifted with our voices or with our ears in  hearing music and language may not be good at testing.  

When I was in school in the 1950s, I was in a catholic parish school (paid for the then large and very rich parishes so even the poor could send their children to catholic schools). Back then catholic diocese how their own version of NCLB.   Every quarter, starting in grade 1, students in every school (urban and suburban) were tests.  Schools and teachers were compared.   I was one of those kids with better than average auditory/visual memory so always scored high.  It did not take me long to figure our why teachers liked me.  My geometry teacher (a lay teacher, not clergy) in tenth grade was in his first year.  When I got the highest score possible in the diocese test, I thought he was going to give me a halo and a chance at beatification.  He was a struggling new teacher finding his way.  My scores helped him.  
Did that mean I was learning?  Not really.  Once I saw him work out particular theorems I pretty much visually retained it.  I did not necessarily understand it but I could redo it with different variables.
In English classes I could memorize any and everything.....and retain the explanations of the teachers and give them back.   Is that learning?  Partly.  But when I got to college and had to write on my own, use my own theories, my own interpretations, my own opinions, I was stumped.    What I got in basics (grammar, punctuation, times tables) were all valuable tools not to be discarded for sure.  But I missed out on the creativity party, on the experimental parts, on the parts that cannot be tested on paper.
And while I did well, many of my peers failed, were deemed "unteachable" and sad parents told they must go to the "public" school (unless of course the parent was a rich donor and gave money to buy a statue or a stained glass window...then somehow the student got to stay).

My point is this.  THERE is no one way to teach or to learn.
I feel confident about saying I was a successful teacher because I tried to vary my teaching hourly....from sage on the stage to guide on the side.
I honestly have always gotten back very positive feedback from students and parents and colleagues alike whether in an upscale, high socioeconomic area or in a low socioeconomic neighborhood.    

I believe in the environment now (I still sub) I could not do it.  Scripted for teachers texts are pushed because they "reflect for the tests".    Creativity is frowned upon unless you are in a school already "scoring well on state tests."  
Teachers are not trusted to be professionals.  Instead they are the conduits of the "testing" corporations.   All classes must now post the standards they are teaching thus, imo, sending a message to children that learning has limits of what is important.  What a sad, terrible message to send to wide open minds.

It's not about public or private or charter.  It's about what we, as a society, believe about learning.    If learning is just about getting into the best schools to get the best jobs to make the most money to get the best house....we are doomed no matter what the system.

***Regardless of all of what I said here, I believe public schools are the best way to go because the concept of making sure ALL children have the same opportunity, in a system always working for the ideal of a "equalizing the playing field" has to be in a not for profit, for the common  good atmosphere.  When investors are involved to make a profit (and they are in charters and privates), we have diminished the concept of "the common good."

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Comment Preferences

  •  So is opening a charter & giving parents choices.. (3+ / 0-)

    "competition" and a bad thing in your book?

    I see charters as strengthening the public school movement by giving it a "developmental edge" of vitality.

    But confessing my bias, I am a parent (of two now young adult kids unschooled during most of their teen years) who has never been a professional educator.

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:21:46 PM PDT

    •  We can give parents choices within the system... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, radical simplicity

      we have had choice inside public school districts for many, many years.  

      What in charter schools makes it any different from the public funding their own schools to specific "outside the box" experimentation?  Many years ago in the first district in which I taught they (public schools) opened a "tech high school".  Basically it was an "outside the box" high school that served the entire district.  Originally it was designed to appeal to students who did not do well in traditional coursework like literature or language classes.   It offered things like "mechanics, carpentry, cosmetology.....and later on computer tech".   Students still had to take their basic math and english/reading classes and then could go to the tech school.  It was extremely successful, and was expanded.

      From that idea, other districts tried to push for schools with particular strong curriculums in certain areas.  In the district from which I retired in which there were six high schools, they pushed one school to empasize the arts, another emphasized CAD programs, and another alternative curriculums.    One school emphasized an IB program.  All the schools elementary thru high school had "choice" windows where parents could apply to send their children to any school.  But like most charters, transportation was on the parents.  Needless to say few of those parents using choice were from the poorest schools.

      But alas, in our area, as in many areas around the country the Grover Nordquist mentality of tax cuts took hold.  Our conservatives pused for and got TABOR which seriously impeded financial support for developmental, creative endeavors.   On the heals of that came the push for more testing, then the NCLB.    Huge amounts of money were taken from the schools to be used for tests, practice tests, subs for teachers who needed one on one time to get all the testing done.  

      Interestingly, and imo not coincidentally, that is when the "charter" movement picked up steam here.  Many of the conservatives pushing for lower taxes, cutting school budgets, were now hailing how "charter" schools could do it better and (here's the rub) CHEAPER.  First step to union busting, demonizing teachers through demonizing the unions we fought hard and long for to get a fair salary.

      I did not go into teaching to get rich.  It was a calling. I answered.  But I did one a salary on which I could live a decent life, and most importantly, coming from a poor family with no inheritance, I wanted security.   A teacher's pension was when I started one of the most secure things I could do.  As it turned out, I ended up remaining childless, and now I am on my own as I age. My pension is it.  When I see the charters, I get angry as heck because I know, ALL GOOD TEACHERS KNOW, that we can be just as creative as any charter school.  We are shackled by the right wings "test mania".   I do not agree with you that the right is better on this than the left.  While Obama has bought into the meme of NCLB along with others in the beltway, on the local level here, it is the right wing pushing harder and harder for "charters".  
      In the south, the charters as much as private schools are the way around the end of segregation.  As taxes are cut, less for the schools, more for the right to make their argument for ending public education as we know it.  Whether vouchers or charters, it is all on the road to ending what I strongly believe to be the best for the greater good.

      So for me public schools are strengthened when tax payers deem public things (schools, roads, fire departments, police, utilities) as appropriate.
      It seems to me there are many precautionary tales out there for those who want to see what privatization does....check out Indiana road....and health insurance.

      As much as many of you want to believe that charters are not "for profit",  are just like public without the restraints, I ask you to do some more research.  If there are investors involved in a charter, then they are making money somehow.  Somehow, some way that will come back to hurt the children.  I believe that with all my heart.

      Should we relax some rules by which public schools must abide?  Perhaps. But shouldn't that be up to the community and shouldn't have nothing to do with "profit"?

      Sorry to be so verbose but I feel the need to give examples.  It's a teacher thing.

      •  I just want to comment on one part of this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just recently read the CREDO-Stanford Report on Charter Schools because it was recommended in the diary I wrote earlier this week.

        You make a comment here about charter schools in the South forming to continue segregation. I thought you might like to know that:

        Black charter school students do better compared to their TPS peers in both math and reading in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Missouri. In addition, Black charter school students to better in California and better in math in Arkansas than their TPS peers.

        Hispanic charter school students do better compared to their TPS peers in both math and reading in Missouri. In addition, Hispanic charter school students do better in math in Arkansas, Colorado and Louisiana than their TPS peers.

        I was surprised to see the appearance of Southern States in these lists. In my ignorance, I had assumed that wouldn't be the case.

        •  Yes, if you consider (0+ / 0-)

          "test scores" as doing better.  And if you trust that the tests were administered fairly.  And if you trust the charter school took ALL kids not just a selected few.

          Here in CO we have a charter that is a part of a chain.  Somehow there students do better in tests.  Of course, they have no special ed program so students with any learning disabilities are not enrolled.  Hardly makes for a fair playing field.
          For years, we all heard how that one school district in TX did so great, scores came up all because of the precursor to NCLB set up by W.   Years later the facts came out.  Cheating happened .......a lot.
          Students who were doing poorly were "encouraged" to drop out.  If you are not enrolled, then your test scores won't hurt the score.

          Sorry I am a cynic.  We had charter school gurus coming to our public school when a real estate tycoon here offered "scholarships" to any family who wanted to attend the new charter (which of course was being opened by one of his friends...and of course his wife was an investor).  So our admin directed us to allow these people to come in and pitch their schools.  
          All kinds of claims were made about scores.

          Sorry but I am a cynic.  Just because someone says it has the scores does not prove to me that a) the kids are learning b) the kids are getting a good education at all.  

          In my example about my years of catholic school "training" where kids had been taking tests at a very young, I was trying to point out.......testing well does NOT equal learning.

          •  Being a cynic isn't a bad thing. (0+ / 0-)

            I've just lived in a lot of states and seen a lot of different education systems. I know we have some serious flaws, especially in the South, when it comes to quality education. I'm a cynic about all schools in the South, honestly, but if anyone of them are helping, I think they deserve a closer look, whether charter or public.

            I'll be writing a diary about the entire report... some of your concerns are addressed. All of us, those who have been using the report to oppose charter schools and those who thought the report wanted to get rid of charter schools will all be surprised at a lot of the findings. They're not bad across the board. Of course, the findings may not be worth the time of day - testing was the main criteria and I don't like how they compared charter school students to virtual public school twins. But that's a conversation for that diary when it comes about next week.

  •  Curious on you take on Lynn Stoddard's work... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, MKSinSA

    His book is called Educating for Human Greatness and I wrote a piece about it

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:25:13 PM PDT

    •  From the excerpts I have read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, MKSinSA

      it hits a familiar note.  

      I do remember my first principal ever (who almost did not hire me because he thought I was flaky but was convinced by the other interviewer to give me a chance...he told me years later when I was moving away) telling me that exact thing....better to get forgiveness than ask permission as she relates about a teacher.

      Fortunately for me, I started teaching in a less litigious time...1967 being my first year.  I can tell you, teachers like some Stoddard describes, were quite common.

      I read books back then like "Push Back the Desks".....and "The Geranium On The Windowsill Just Died But Teacher You Went Right On"

      I have not read her entire book but I will try to get to it.  

  •  You figured this out pretty quickly! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, radical simplicity

    Welcome to the group.

    I hope we can encourage you to write more!

  •  I have a question. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, radical simplicity

    You say:

    I believe in the environment now (I still sub) I could not do it.

    How do we get the environment back? Or how do we change to current environment into something new? Or maybe it would be better to ask, Where would our energies be best spent?

    •  For me that's easy to answer.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the public needs to come together to get the truth out.  Government does somethings way better than private can ever do.   It's not just education.  

      Look at the places where right wing governors have already turned over public toll rolls to the private sector.  Indiana for one.  Have your read this:

      Dylan is hardly is big bad progressive.   So I put a lot of faith in his research.   Same thing with the military. Private militias scare me.  Yet Blackwater had them all over Iraq.
      Schools are no different.
      To me "Charters" are the bridge to privatization.  Maybe not one individual school but the "charter" movement.  Like private schools they are taking money away from something I believe should be public.

      Our district outsourced our "lunch" program to Marriott years ago. On the surface, it supposedly save money and the lunches stayed essentially the same.....same government surplus.  Same pizza, chicken nuggest, etc.
      But the change no one talked about was this.  Marriott came in and immediately "cut" the workforce.  One person was cut from each cafeteria and all the food was cooked in a central location.  Usually the people working the lunchroom were neighborhood people.....often poor doing a poorly paid, part time job but they did get benefits.  Each person fired so Marriott could get more profit affect the family, the neighborhood from where they came.  That old ripple effect.   Mulitply that effect by 50 schools.  Fifty people lost their jobs, lunches stayed the same.  Did the district really benefit if those fifty families now had to use public resources for their family???

      Communities need to value education enough to want to put their money into making sure ALL children, not just their own are getting a quality education.  It's that simple.  It's good for all of us to have ALL the children be successful and contribute in a positive way to the community.

      We all used to care about that......and back when taxes were not treated as an imposition but part of what we all do because we want well educated people, nice parks, good roads, a community that works for everyone.

      We have to stop the notion that "greed is good"....and that rich people have the right to blackmail us all so they can live in gated communities.  

      •  All good vs All bad (0+ / 0-)

        We're very familiar with privatization. As a military family, we've encountered it in several different forms - health care, housing, and some of the job positions my husband has commanded.

        There are times when privatization is beneficial. But then we always seem to take it too far. But some of the initial problems solved by privatization were not necessarily a bad way to solve those problems. I'm not saying that we should have started the privatization of schools (I haven't read about the issue enough to have formed a good opinion) but I hate that all charter schools are suffering the stigma caused by the privatization of some charter schools.

        I think we need consider schools one by one. Just like we need to consider students one by one. We're not all widgets. We need a government that is responsive to that.

        •  If a charter school was actually (0+ / 0-)

          NOT related in any way to any investment corporation, I would perhaps be more open to them.  Once "for profit" is a  part of things established for the common good, for community, I predict (and it has been proven over and over and over throughout time) cheating, scoring of tests to meet the needs of the corporation.

          With something "subjective" like the art of teaching, the art of learning, the evaluation piece is difficult.   In our state, millions are spent to hire "outside" graders of the state tests.
          So we have many strangers reading the essays of third graders to determine if this child is "on level.'   Think about this.
          I, as a teacher, could give a writing assignment to a child I KNOW and know well, and could assess it way more fairly than any stranger.  But, the test making corporations, have convinced the general public that strangers will evaluate much more objectively than some bleeding heart liberal teacher.   Here's an example:
          One year the writing prompt was: I woke up one morning and there was no electricity in the house.  I tried everything and nothing worked.  

          Now the kids were told to complete the story.   A big part of the grading was "creativity" of thought.  Experientially speaking, this was not difficult for many of the kids in our school who had had electricity turned off when Mom had no money for utilities.   Several of our students related those stories. It was their experience.  They competed with children who never knew you could lose power because you could not pay the bills.  They wrote stories of aliens, of mysterious forces.   Guess which students scores higher.  
          As a teacher, knowing my student had experienced this, I could read their story, and then, if I chose, ask them to write something that was not real, to use their imagination.   But of course in the NCLB mode had any teacher told their class to NOT use a real experience as mundane as not having money, the scores would be invalidated.   The point?  I KNOW, as a person who knows the children, that their answer, as uncreative as it may seem to a stranger was based on their reality, was not a measure of their ability to write but a measure of their experiences.  I could tell in five minutes without millions spent to send out the test, that had I been more explicit in explaining what I was testing for, why it was important to "pretend" rather than just tell a story about what one knows, the outcome may have been different.  Taking the human factor out of scoring tests, i.e. using people who have no knowledge of the test taker seems on the surface to be fair to many.  But it isn't.  Because all third grader lives are not the same, their experiences are not the same.  But these tests are now used to tell parents..."see that public school is need a "charter" where we teach better and care more."   In the end, the blame game has one goal.....end public education.  

          Test companies WANT schools to invest more and more and more money into testing practice materials, into "tutors" into all the things that will "up the scores."   To compensate for the vast amounts of money going to corporations who publish "practice tests" blows my mind.
          The tests cost nothing but the boom in text book sales aligned with things like Dibels is mind blowing.
          So instead of money spent on field trips (which by the way I believe are invaluable for kids from low income neigborhoods) the monies are spent on tutoring.

          I could go on and on but I do not think privatization is good for public services of any kind.   It is too easy to abuse the system for the bottom line.  It is seen over and over in corporate America.  Slimming down companies = firing people, getting rid of unions, getting rid of OSHA. That is not the world I want for any child.

          Government cannot be responsive when something is privatized and when they are corporatized.   In Indiana when they sold off the public toll roads, who, except for Goldman Sachs and the foreign companies they represented, won?  The people of Indiana lose completely since they cannot "improve" and roads that compete with the foreign own toll road.....unless the pay the private companies potential loss of business.  How easily can that be translated to "not public" charter schools that get public monies.   I say if you want a private school that gets to follow it's own rules, that gets to hire teachers based on them being less expensive (i.e., not union), based on them not having to follow special ed mandates, safety mandates, class size mandates, fine. BUT NO PUBLIC MONIES.

          I understand you feel constrained for your children and other people feel the same.  The problem in my opinion is where the blame is being put.  It is not the "public" schools that are to blame. It is the community, the apathetic, don't want to pay no taxes types, the only my kids matter types, that are causing the problem.  

          The scapegoating of teachers and their unions by many of the charter movements' gurus speaks volumes to me.
            Charter school proponents, especially the ones involved with their "chains" schools across the nation are out there with lots of power, lots of attention and they are blaming the problems in education on the teachers.  There is a reason why.  MONEY.  They see dollar signs on the heads of kids.  The potential profit making is enormous.  And that
          is the problem.

          •  We agree in an awful lot of places. (0+ / 0-)

            Just not on the benefit of charter schools.

            I think testing, especially at a national level, is a waste of time.

            I think that the best judges of a child's progress are the child's parents, the child's teacher, and the child himself.

            I think that the vast majority of privatization in our nation has been a huge mistake.

            I'm trying to make a decision about the importance of the Federal Government in educational decisions. My gut is to place more power back in the hands of the States but it could be at the detriment of seeing a decline in educational standards in many of them. I'm still undecided. I would love to see more diaries on this topic and read more points of view to help me come to my own conclusions.

            I don't know how to convince people that charter schools are not the enemy. For profit charters might be. When we spend time fighting against schools that might actually benefit student populations, whether public or charter, we're not only wasting our time, we're wasting precious assets. Let's target the fight where it really needs to be, against privatization of schools, and not make it a blanket fight against all charter schools.

          •  FYI, ~14% of US charter schools are for-profit... (0+ / 0-)

            I finally dug up some research on the subject

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 01:41:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  To paraphrase, I believe you are saying... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the concept or premise of public schools is good.  BUT, our public schools are not.  In essence, I would say that I agree with you.  I completely agree with the notion that all children should have access to an equal education.  Unfortunately, I completely disagree with the public school systems as they currently exist.  Considering the system of 'teaching for the tests', that is occuring today, I would prefer my children (of course that would be if they were still of school age) to attend a private school.  At least in a private school, there is more creative leeway in what is taught and how it is taught.

    " is believing what you know aint so." Mark Twain

    by nyskeptic on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 10:49:33 AM PDT

    •  Let me expand a bit on what I am saying. (0+ / 0-)

      We, being good parents, tell our youngsters to go to college so that they can get good jobs and live great happy fulfilled lives.  Whereas that may have been true in the past, I believe that, to some extent, this message is destructive to our children.  Currently, our children are starting their lives with massive amounts of debt from school loans.  Then when they get out of school, there are no jobs.  It appears that Corporate America decided that the American worker doesn't matter any more.  Well I guess that's par for the course considering that Corporate America morphed into Multi-national Corporations. It's obvious that their loyalties don't lie with America or the American work force any more.  

      I think we need to turn back the clock in the schools and go back to teaching the basics.  Reading, writing, reasoning, and skills, not facts! And certalinly not the facts that are needed to pass some stupid test that someone anonymous devised and said that our children need to pass.  We need to start teaching our children skills again.  Why can't young men strip engines any more. Why can't young women sew any more.  Years ago, these skills had practical applications in our lives every day, and they also had real monetary value in the world of work.  

      In my humble opinion, the homesteading movement has the right of it.  We need to stop buying things, and start making things.  And if we realy need to buy something that we don't have the skill to produce, we need to buy it from someone local who is making it, while we learn the necessary skill to make it the next time we need it.  I for one would rather have my hypothetical children learn how to farm or develop a cottage industry, or how to open a small business than have them go through the school system that leaves them with nothing in the future.  

      Farming, and small business are our only hope.  But first we need to start regaining the skills that our fore fathers and mothers had and that we let go by the wayside.  That can't happen with the way that public schools are set up today.  Ok, I am done rambling.

      " is believing what you know aint so." Mark Twain

      by nyskeptic on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:31:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have no issue (0+ / 0-)

      with parents who CHOOSE to pay for private schooling.  
      I may not agree with you on some issues and I may or may not agree with some private schools approach.
      But I do think they serve the needs of some better than a public school may be able to do.  The reason I say this is that if it is a private school, indeed their purpose (necessary for the school's financial survival) is to please you, the clients.  

      The reason I have no issue is because you are paying the money, and the school is not skimming off money from the public schools.  Charters, on the other hand, are getting public funds which hurts public education.

      The reason, it seems, some, (my conclusions from reading the comments on the blogs), prefer private/charter over public is because they think they have more control.

      Let me explain something.  In a class of 25 students, I would have to deal with 50 plus parents/guardians.    More than a few had differing opinions.  Some thought I should give MORE HW.  Some thought I should give LESS HW.  Some prefer I be more of a taskmaster.  Some prefer I NEVER punish students.  Some prefer a harder grader. Some prefer an easier grader.  Some think they should have more say in content.  Some did not like the books I chose to read aloud.  Some wanted more of the arts.  Some thought the arts were a waste of time.  

      Parents MAIN concern/interest is THEIR CHILD's education.  I had the concern for/interest of 25 children.  Sometimes the interest/needs of one child might conflict with the interests/needs of another child.

      It's a balancing act for teachers whether in public, private or charter schools.   Some people think we do not do enough basics, some think we should do more advance stuff....on and on.
      The purpose of a public school, just like a public road or a public utility or a public military is THE COMMON GOOD.  Do citizens in a democracy always agree what the common good is?   Think back.....from wars to regulations.  In a democracy it is always hard.

      When a person tells me "their child did poorly in so and so's class....and therefore so and so must be a bad teacher", I listen and rarely get into a debate.    But the truth is that just because YOUR child did poorly in a teacher's class, does not extrapolate to "the teacher must be bad."   I don't know how many ways to say this.  No one teacher can be good for 100% of the students, 100% of the time.  In the 12 years ALL of us were in school, public, private or whatever,  the general rule is that most of us can remember a few teachers we loved and thought were great, a few teachers we hated and thought were horrid and most fell somewhere in between.  My cousins and I, who all went to the same schools, will often talk about it.  I can say I LOVED so and so and one of my cousins will say "Sheesh, I hated him/her and thought she was the worst."  Yet both of us did will in life, completed our education, went thru college.  Clearly one "bad (in a student's opinion) does not result in total destruction of a person's education.  I had a few who I think, now from a teacher's pov, that they were indeed incompetent.  Not a good thing at all but certainly survivable.

      When I was a girl and complained about a teacher, my mother who was pulled out of school in the sixth grade to work in a textile mill, had an answer for me.  "J", she would calmly say, "I send you to school to get an education.  It does not matter whether you like the teacher or not, you still have a job to get an education....that's what matters." End of discussion.

      I fear some in our society cannot stand the notion that their child may not be blissfully happy every day.  It's unrealistic to me than any of us believe that.  
      When a parent would come in and insist that "their child was bored..."  I would remind them that "yes, that happens sometime to all of us." A few parents did not like that answer.  Realistically, a life skill all of us need is that which helps us to deal with, get past, periods of boredom.   When I am in an airport, and my plane is delayed for hours, I understand it can be boring.  Do I blame the airline and expect their workers to "entertain me?"   That would be silly.  Yet instead of teaching children that when they are bored, perhaps they need to find their own, appropriate way, to end the boredom and stimulate their own thinking, some blame the school, the teacher, the system.

      I agree with you about the "testing" nonsense and the pressure on teachers across the board to teach to the test.  
      But how does that change, in relationship to this conversation, in charters???  If, as some insist, charters are no different, then how to they affect change other than not having to pay contract salaries and not having to take all students?

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