While I was browsing the internet, I came across an article discussing some of the critical issues in the New York mayoral race. In this article, it describes that public education is a vital issue in which each candidates take opposing views. One candidate asserts that the public school system should be refurbished in an effort to compete with local charter schools that seem to dominate the market. His opposition is castigating him for his view on scaling back charter schools, claiming that they are the shining light for the city’s education platform. It is evident that whoever is elected will dictate much of the education system in New York City, which is undoubtedly an incredibly important resource for the youth of the city.
Charter schools present a very peculiar dynamic to a public school system. On the one hand, they are often better equipped with some of the best teachers and educational resources. On the other hand, there are only so many seats in the classroom and inevitably some students are left out of the “gardens of Eden” in an urban public school system. One of the main sectors that experiences benefits from a charter school are minority students, such as blacks, Latinos, and children whose first language is not English. Additionally, nearly a third of the charter school students were found to have learned more when compared with public school students. Needless to say, this presents an effective chasm in the educational system of an urban environment.
Speaking as a charter school student, without knowing it at the time, I absolutely experienced large benefits when compared to my peers at local public high schools during my experience. I would say that the high quality of the faculty presented the largest difference between my school and its equivalents. In Boston, my school was the golden egg for a teaching job. Most teachers had impressive graduate degrees from prestigious schools and often taught at some of the best private schools in the country before coming to my school. Why the shift? Job security existed like no other once a teacher achieved tenure. Typically, this was not an issue at my school but it is a major problem for public schools. The “dance of the lemons” is a moniker for this phenomenon where faulty teachers are sent to different school districts rather than fired for inadequate results in the classroom.
While I am not well versed enough to make an educated conclusion on the issue, I can speak from experience in regards to the opportunities that were presented at my high school. First of all, the resources were exceedingly better when compared to the local high school. Much of this came from the large donor base at my school and the adept ability by fundraising officers to facilitate donation campaigns throughout the year. While my peers were incredibly intelligent, these resources were vital in gaining acceptance into some of the most prestigious colleges in the country, including a long standing relationship with Harvard. I found that some of the available resources for college preparation were unparalleled to a traditional public school. This included a database of college acceptances for our school based on GPA and SAT scores. Additionally, we had an entire office devoted to the college search process and fostering opportunities for summer employment with job searches and resume critiques. These are the examples of the advantage that my school held over its competitors.
Inequality is a rampant phenomenon. There is no escaping the fact that some people are in a better position than others due to factors neither of them can control. While it is impossible to completely bridge the gap into equality, there is no excuse for not at least trying. Education is one factor that should never be a source of inequality for any reason. While many private schools provide better opportunities for students with the biggest wallet, a public school system should be able to rival a private one on education alone. While they may not have the gorgeous campus or state of the art Apple products, the learning material should be the same if not better since it lacks the distractions of a private school. Unfortunately, charter schools often increase the gap between public and private schools. Often, if a child does not gain acceptance into the premier charter school, they will either move out of the city to a different district or enroll in a private school. Inherently, this degrades the public school system in a city. Since environments with mixed intelligence levels benefit students with lower aptitude without harmer those with higher aptitude, an urban school system should be a hotbed for educational advancement. If charter schools continue to dominate urban areas, it will be inevitable that public schools will continue to fail in providing valuable education for its students.