Charter Schools: What Happens When the Schools Our Children Attend Compete?

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/04/tulsa-school-sends-girl-home-because-dreadlocks-and-afros-are-too-distracting/ 

School says no to girl’s hair

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZp7Ec0bo-I 

This video caught my attention when a friend of mine shared it on Facebook and it brought to the surface an old argument about the relevance and the possible benefits of forming a more extensive Charter School system.  The thoughts that follow are not directed at any one school specifically, but rather, these thoughts are to open a dialogue about the systemic structure of Charter Schools and what the implications of such a system might have o our society. I welcome your thoughts on the matter as this will help us all derive a better understanding of the situation facing us in the near future concerning of educational system and preparing our children for our society.

The fact that Charter Schools have executable policies, such as the denial of enrollment because of hair, is not such a strange occurrence when we are talking about Charter Schools because they are for-profit-businesses. As such, they are not governed by the same rules as public schools are and can write whatever clauses they want into their contract, which are for enrollment.

Charter Schools may have been a good idea initially because in theory, when schools compete then the quality of education will be an improvement over what we are seeing in the public education. In theory, it would also decrease the public burden of taxation for education.  And even as much of an advocate for education as I am, I do not think that a federally regulated educational system is exactly constitutional (I could be mistaken about it though and I welcome corrections to that assertion).  Economically speaking, what we should see if the theory is correct is a transition of money from the public school system into a charter school system as students transition into the new system and education should improve for everyone.

However, as with many economic analyses and decisions an externality, something that may or may not have been accounted for during planning and implementation has emerged, as can be seen in the video accompanying this post. One of these externalities is discrimination framed in terms of the marketability of the school, has emerged and this I think, is just the beginning as the education system moves more into the private as opposed to the public realm.

We are likely to see just as much, if not more, discrimination in this system as we do in other competing industries and societal disparities will likely deepen as the system becomes more and more stratified. I bet that we may even see entire sections of cities without schools if we keep moving in the same direction and then we will indeed be in an unfortunate situation.

Given these conclusion, I think that we as a people need to seriously reconsider the direction of our educational system and just what the outcomes of every plan that can possibly be implemented may have.

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