Ramifications of School Closings and Charter Schools
When schools are closed and not turned around, the students are transferred to another school. Sometimes this involves a much longer walk to school in the morning and going home after school. The students may also have to go through hostile territory to get to school. Other problems can result.
The reason for closing schools that performed poorly was to improve education. Many of those schools are replaced with charter schools. For those who don’t know, charter schools are independent public schools run by non-profit organizations that contract with the public schools to manage the education of its students. Charter schools have been here in Chicago for some time now. As a matter of fact, they have been here long enough to be evaluated. It has been reported that the charter schools perform no better than the neighborhood schools they replaced. There are few exceptions. No mention has been made of the cost for charter schools, but in addition to the cost for teachers, other staff and supplies, there is another cost that makes it attractive to the charter school organization to run them. If that cost exceeds the expense for the public school system to manage and run them, then what is the benefit of using them? If that is the case, then money is being wasted. In this economy, we cannot afford to be wasteful. Additionally, charter schools are governed by a plan with the Chicago Board of Education.
Getting back to the subject of closing schools, these changes must have an effect on both the teachers and students. As indicated before, for those teachers who know that their school is being closed, that has to affect their attitude towards their job. Why would you be interested in putting your best foot forward if you know that your job will only last until the end of the school year? Does an attitude like this one affect your teaching negatively? In an air of uncertainty, can those teachers do their best in the classroom? What happens to the children? Do the children in a poor performing schools exhibit even less progress when their school is targeted for closure? We really won’t know until some type of in depth study is done to determine whether this has an impact on student performance.
If students are experiencing such inconsistency in their classroom, it must affect their ability to learn.