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Children Are Being Cheated out of an Education in Charter Schools

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Children Are Being Cheated out of an Education in Charter Schools

There is no reason to have charter schools because they are performing even worse than most public schools, even with all their funding. The reasons why they fail are due to the inconsistency in each institution, racial discrimination, instructor credentials and the inability to spend money wisely. We have a time-honored system of public education in the District of Columbia and the United States of America. Although it has its shortcomings, tax money should go to the public schools and not to someone's idea of a better educational experience. That should be left to private schools. There is certainly enough ammunition to support these claims.

Imagine a parent sending their child to a place where it is believed the child would receive a better education and be given more individual attention. The parent might think that they are doing his/her child a service, but it is actually the exact opposite. The child comes home with their report card time after time with horrible grades and not understanding what is being taught. If the parent feels like they have the only child doing poorly, then he/she is greatly mistaken. Ashley Marcus, a past student of a charter school in the District, said that, “when I was in school, my education was interrupted more times than at any other point of my day" (Carnoy 76). The charter school was so awful for Marcus that she felt as if she wasn't learning during the point of the day when she is expected to. This haunting quote gives some insight to how terrible the charter school system is right now in our country.

Typically, public schools serving poor neighborhoods have lower average test scores, more discipline problems, lower parental participation, and higher teacher turnover rates than schools that serve the more wealthy. Many critics of public education see these shortcomings as a characteristic of failure of public institutions. But there are plenty of new studies showing weaker student performance in the independently run, but tax-supported, charter schools (Carnoy 77).

The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research in Raleigh has released a comprehensive study of the charter school experiment in North Carolina. Though the center did not assign a letter grade, it is entirely possible to summarize the school with one letter. Based on the reading of the center's findings, charter schools in North Carolina -- with some notable exceptions -- deserve to be failed out of the American education system. Though a few schools, such as Magellan Charter and Exploris Middle School, both in Raleigh, have distinguished themselves in testing at the end of the school year, most have not. While Magellan outperformed every school in the state, including all public schools, and Exploris finished 10th among all schools in end-of-grade testing in 2000-2001, six of the 10 worst performers in all of North Carolina were charter schools. Two of the worst 10 were special interest schools, the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf and the Juvenile Evaluation Center. The other two were public high schools, Weldon High and West Charlotte High. Currently, North Carolina has placed a cap on the number of charter schools allowed at 100, but backers of the concept are pushing for that limit to be raised or eliminated (Perreault 14). Increasing the number of charter schoolss in North Carolina would be an extremely bad idea for the state to make. With the number of failing charters schools already very large, there is no reason to add even more of these schools to the system. The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research concludes, based on its study, that "the state should wait for further evidence of adequate performance before allowing an increase in the number of charter schools" (Perreault 15). I'm a bit less genteel than the center. The entire idea should be abandoned, and perhaps more Americans would agree if the findings about the center was mainstreamed. While one would hope that a focused school environment would result in exemplary performance, that's not the case. In fact, the center found that charter schools did not perform as well as regular public schools on end-of-grade tests.

Charter schools have struggled with racial segregation since they were first started in our country. After decades of trying to achieve racial balance in public schools, the center found that 30 of the currently operating 97 charter schools in North Carolina have a population of more than 80 percent non-white students. That's an astounding number, but not as astounding as this: Seven charter schools are 100 percent non-white and another seven are more than 90 percent non-white (Lundeen 111). A statistic like this can't be denied or forgotten. Interestingly enough, these results from North Carolina are an actual microcosm to the rest of the country's charter schools. Of all our

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