Public School versus Charter School- Second Installment

I now have one week served as a teacher in a local charter school. It is still very vague as to how things work exactly, but I am least getting used to my schedule that is now five days old. I should specify that my current school is also a public school. So just like any other public school, its doors are open to anyone. I suppose the exception is that students don’t automatically enroll based on where their home falls in regards to school boundary lines, that instead a family elects for their child to attend based on the program design of the school.

This is an interesting and rather foreign concept for me. My parents elected for me to attend a Catholic high school for my freshman and sophomore year because the choice of public school, was not much of a choice at all, in their eyes. They based this on my mom’s own experiences at the same school, and my dad’s brief stint in public school after leaving Catholic school. They wanted more for me. However, they had to pay for it. Catholic school is a pay to play education, and the reality is that if you mess around you don’t have to be there. My dad can attest to that. So basically, in order for me to receive the education they wanted for me, they had to pay. As it appears, my current place of employment provides students with a strong education without a fee. This is an extremely interesting concept, and I am curious as to how funding works within the school.

Just by my first impression, the school is extremely limited when it comes to supplies, computers, library books, and overall space for the students. However, there is some serious teaching going on. The students are mostly well behaved to the point of my being able to pick out those who just started this year compared to the students who have attended for years. As a whole students have an impression and expectation that they are there to learn. For the most part, this is an entirely different experience than I have had previously.

I have unequivocally found that the state imposed standardized testing guides, if not runs the school. There is a continuous hum from my fellow teachers as to how they are going to get this student and that student to not just satisfy standards, but to exceed standard. This is the same tune I have heard before, but the words are a little different.

I have now worked in four schools in my entire teaching career, and in each I have found that testing is more and more the only guiding practice leading our students’ education.  I genuinely believe it is taking over our ability to connect with our students, and as I continue to experience different buildings in vastly different communities falling prey to the same restraints housed on teachers, and students, and schools…I am left to wonder what exactly are we preparing our students for by judging them solely on their test scores. I recently watched an animation clip that discusses the downfall of our current education system. It is an extremely interesting piece that focuses on our inability to teach for the future because we are stuck teaching in the past. It is worth a look.

I still have much to learn about the inns and outs of my new school, but I am open-minded and quite curious as to how it all works.


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