In a recent article, Brockton School administrators have rejected as charter school proposal for which many parents welcome. The charter school proposal has allegedly divided the city. While some Brockton parents feel the necessity for the charter school, many local educators oppose the movement.

A charter school is a school which receives public funding but operates independently of the established public school system it is located in. Charter schools are an example of alternative education. Minnesota wrote the first charter school law in the United States in 1991.

Charter schools in the United States offer primary or secondary education without charge to pupils who take state-mandated exams. These charter schools are subject to fewer rules, regulations, and statutes than traditional state schools, but receive less public funding than public schools, typically a fixed amount per pupil. There are both non-profit and for-profit charter schools, and only non-profit charters can receive donations from private sources.

The number of American charter schools has grown from 500 in 16 states and the District of Columbia to an estimated 6,400 in 2013-14. Over 600 new public charter schools (7%) opened, serving an additional 288,000 students (13%), totaling 2.5 million students. By contrast, some 200 schools closed, for reasons including low enrollment, financial concerns and low academic performance. Waiting lists grew from an average of 233 in 2009 to 277 in 2012, with places allocated by lottery. They educate the majority of children in New Orleans Public Schools. Charter schools may provide a specialized curriculum (for example in arts, mathematics, or vocational training), however others aim to provide a better and more cost-efficient general education than nearby non-charter public schools. Charter schools are attended by choice.

They may be founded by teachers, parents, or activists although state-authorized charters (schools not chartered by local school districts) are often established by non-profit groups, universities, or government entities. School districts may permit corporations to manage multiple charter schools.

Many parents find that charter schools have the potential to provide opportunities for children that public schools have not provided. For example, Families for Excellent Schools notes that 143,000 New York City students attend failing schools–most of which are minorities and come from families living in poverty.

Black parents are especially convinced that racism in education is the cause for the perpetual tradition of classroom racism that continues to perpetuate a cycle of poverty for their children. Black parents are fighting to get their children in charter schools because the education many urban public schools is inadequate.

Urban school systems tend to have specific challenges that impede their ability to effectively educate students. Urban schools exhibit challenges in the areas of persistent low student achievement, fragmented instructional initiatives, inexperienced teaching staff, and poorly functional school business operations. The educational factor of urban schools is the primary reason why parents turn to charter schools.

Public schools must utilize different strategies to reverse the characteristics of a dysfunctional organization which continues to facilitate racism. The most important relationships in the education of children is not between the student and the parent, not the parent and the teacher, but the relationship between the student and the teacher.

Since most Black parents embrace charter schools do to the racial challenges in public schools, public schools will need to enhance the racial relationships between teachers and students.

Charter schools have the ability to foster these type of relationships because tenure laws do not pertain to charter schools nor are most charter schools unionized. So if a teacher does not fit the culture of the charter school, they in most cases have the opportunity to return to their sending school district.

Public schools do not have the same latitude as charter schools and therefore if a teacher does not fit the culture or has racial tendencies they have opportunities to remain that the school district.

For public schools to save the financial resources that are given to charter schools and reverse the trend of parents embracing charter schools as an alternative they must promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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4 thoughts on “Why do Black parents welcome charter schools?”

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