Trying to figure out how to improve public education is challenging - no, let's get it right - frustrating exercise. And if we are to get it right, then we have to be honest, there are points at which it has become more about the adults involved than the children. But I have never totally given up on the idea that reform of the public education system was possible. I opposed vouchers and I was lukewarm to the concept of charter schools. After all, these are two models which a) suggest we've given up on the conventional public school system and/or b) confirm our surrender by syphoning off resources from public schools leaving the worst in poor neighborhoods with even less money, fewer good teachers and less chance for real reform.
The question is, how many more children must have their futures short-circuited before we get it right?
Don't get me wrong, I'm still against vouchers. But I have to admit, I'm being forced to take a new look at charter schools. Not because I believe they offer the answer, but because real reform in public schools calls for changes of elements embedded so deeply in politics and process that need to find a way to truly educate children has reached a crisis stage.
There's an interesting series of articles on the charter school movement in the Dallas Morning News. On October 7, at the Magnolia Theater, the public policy department of Central Dallas Ministries will be co-sponsoring a free screening of 'Waiting for Superman', a documentary on the charter school movement. After the screening there will be a panel discussion with educators, non-profit leaders in education and parents regarding the state of public education.
I'll provide more information as the date approaches.