Thursday, January 12, 2012

Charter Schools In Kentucky? What Do You Think?

So, this morning, I'm minding my own business, watching the Today show, and this commercial came on: 

It totally stopped me in my tracks. Were those facts for real? I was shocked and alarmed by what I saw. So, I decided to check out the site that was sponsoring the commercial, and read a little more about Charter Schools. 

Would a charter school help my children? 

I know that I for one, love the small town atmosphere of my kid's public school. My son is in kindergarten, but all the teachers and staff know him by name. They talk to him in the hall, and they know me as soon as I walk through the door. I feel welcome there, and I like that. But, I went to high school in the same school district that my boys attend now, and I know for a fact that it was a sub par experience. I know that high school did not prepare me for life the way that it should have. 

So, I was excited to do a bit of research and see if this could be a good option for my kids. 

Pretty much, what I get is that a charter school is in between a public school and a private school. I like the fact that the charter schools have more freedom and independence than a regular public school. I like that charter schools are usually small schools (not that that would matter in our small town). I found it shocking to learn that 38 states have charter schools, but Kentucky doesn't even have laws in place to open charter schools. 

They are apparently pretty popular. California has 500, Arizona has 491, and Florida has 258. Obviously, something is working right for them. I would like to explore the option a bit more and learn more about charter schools. 

Some things have happened this year that have led me to be a bit disappointed in our public school system. When school started back, Tater's kindergarten teacher had just had a baby and was on maternity leave. The long term sub was an older lady (60+) who was extremely stern and liked to put her hands on children. (On numerous occasions, I was told that she would drag someone by the arm, or pull them and jerk them around). Tater had a horrible time, getting in trouble each and every day. He had NEVER had a problem in preschool, so I knew the problem had to be this teacher. I complained to the school, who agreed that many other parents had the same concerns. Also, the three kindergarten classes were overcrowded, with around 30 kids each. So, they took about 6 kids from each class and moved them to a new kindergarten class. The teacher was wonderful. However, she was only hired on as a part time basis, making $12/per hour. And she was 7 months pregnant. 

Tater thrived in her classroom. Did exceptionally well, making better progress than everyone else in the class. I was so happy. Then the teacher went on her maternity leave. The long term sub, a young guy in his early 20's, was perfect for Tater. They bonded immediately, and he cried for a week when it was over and his regular teacher came back. Fast forward to yesterday: Christmas break is over, and he heads back to school, complete with a bag of candy and hand drawn picture for his teacher. He comes home with a note. Since she was never hired on full time, his teacher has quit. Taken another job in another county, and won't be back. No warning, nothing. Again, Tater is crushed. He has had four different teachers during the first half of kindergarten. And now, the answer? They are going to move the kids back to their original classes. Back to a teacher that Tater has never met (The one that was on maternity leave at the beginning of the year!)So, all of his friends and him, will be split up once again. And he will have to get used to yet another teacher. This really bothers me. So, I am very interested in charter schools if they would provide more stability. 

This is still a work in progress for me, I am still researching, and not sure if Charter Schools would be the best choice or not.

Do any of you guys have experience with Charter Schools? Please share in the comments!

(On a side note, if anyone is interested in checking out a review of the Sitter City Babysitter review service, click here!)

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