Parents Across America issues a position paper…

National parent group reaches out to Congress on ESEA, demanding less testing and privatization and more proven, effective reforms. There are several things that stand out in their call for change. (ESEA refers to No Child Left Behind or NCLB)

The position paper states that

PAA believes a new ESEA must include:

  • Sufficient and equitable resources in all public schools, so that every child can receive a high-quality education.
  • Improving schools rather than closing them, by means of evidence-based solutions backed by parents and other stakeholders.
  • Less standardized testing and more reliable accountability and assessment practices.
  • Programs that encourage the retention of professional, experienced teachers.
  • A full range of parent involvement opportunities, including a stronger parent voice in decision making at the school, district, state, and national levels;
  • The right of parents to opt their children out of standardized tests.

I wholeheartedly agree with what they want. However, before this list there is a strong call for less privatization, less support for charter schools. Having taught in several charter schools I find myself a bit hurt. Not only am I pulled emotionally by the abuse of teachers in the media, but now charter schools. I think people need to look closer at what does work in education.

I do not support the major push towards charter schools – because they are not the correct solution to our current public education problem.  I agree that the appalling organizations set up to gain a profit from the educational system should not be allowed to do such things.  I agree with many of the points in The Myth of Charter SchoolsBut having taught and loved the charter schools I taught at, I find the bashing of charter schools unfair.  (I find most universal bashing unfair.)

I chose the schools I taught at very carefully.  In fact, the list above contains many of the things I looked for in a school and the school’s administration -both public and charter.  The key component of ANY good education involves parents.  I loved my charter schools because I knew and worked with my students’ parents.  They were an integral part of the school.

Charter schools are not the panacea – they were a solution parents, students and teachers sought for because they did not find and were struggling to create what they were looking for in public education.  I see charter schools as a questioning of the system.

The system needs to change.  But all stakeholders need to look at the qualities that make a good school.  There are many charter schools who do make a difference because they embrace and consistently seek after those good qualities.  There are many public schools who make a difference because they embrace and consistently seek after those good qualities.

Why can’t we take the quality research we have and build a system from the ground up?

People are trying…




Rethinking Schools


EDUTOPIA – Reform Starts Here

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