Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Charter schools can raise standards

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on July 30, 2012 at 11:40 am | 16 Comments »
July 30, 2012 2:25 pm

A letter writer (TNT, 7-26) observes that charter schools have higher teacher turnover than do most public schools and concludes that this higher turnover makes charter schools undesirable since our children require “stability.”

The higher turnover at charter schools occurs for two reasons: Teachers who cannot teach to charter school standards can be, and generally are, released; and charter school teachers must adopt “whatever it takes” educational objective, normally requiring greater work commitment which many teachers are not up to over time.

Perhaps the best single book on the current status of educational reform in the United States is “Class Warfare” by Stephen Brill, who concludes that charter schools alone cannot complete nationwide reform effort, exactly because of the greater demands on individual teachers.

Brill believes a compromise solution between charters and teacher unions is essential for bringing entire school systems up to target national standards. Public schools can also opt for “whatever it takes” objective, as Evergreen Elementary School of Spanaway has done (TNT, 12-12-11).

“Whatever It Takes” by Paul Tough and “Push Has Come to Shove” by Stephen Perry describe other public schools that successfully aimed higher. “Stability” might indeed be desirable, but not at the cost of continued low educational standards.

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