It is unfortunate but there are some charters that mirror traditional schools in that they are only able to reproduce the status quo (socially speaking). The only difference is that they have changed the financial/political infrastructure… shifting power from the left hand to the right. And, because they typically serve students who historically have done well in the traditional structure, they can boast about their “achievement scores” and stand in front of others and profess that they have the key to “real” reform!
Interestingly enough, these schools are still maintaining an instructional climate where minority and poor students are yet powerless, disengaged, and under performing. For these students who need the charter school law the most… this is not reform!
The battle in a nutshell…
We need to take advantage of the opportunities provided by state charter school laws that allow for innovation, differentiation, and community based programming. Instead of alienating students, we need to engage them. Instead of stigmatizing students, we need to validate them. Instead of teaching in context to our world, we need to teach in context to theirs!
Simply put, we need charter schools that will offer a different instructional platform for students who have not been adequately served in the past! Charter schools that can fulfill this end… well, these are the schools for which we should protect!
Speaking in Context
PSGL used Wisconsin’s charter law to challenge the spiritual state of students who were disenfranchised with learning. With an instructional platform that allowed learners to flex their intellectual muscles within context to their community and their culture, the school promoted student production, prosperity, and promotional growth for students who had a track record of chronic disengagement. Even for those students who did not have behavioral or learning challenges, it was the first time they were able to engage in academic scholarship that was rigorous and relevant. Because of the charter school law, 50 students (90% receiving Title I support) were able to attend a school where they could learn.
To learn more about PSGL, please visit http://www.pbsdevelopment.com/the-first-school.php.