Knowing you are addressing legislation around Education Reform, Im compelled to write and share with you my thoughts and observations.
Since my children began public schooling back in 1971 Ive been heavily involved in public education volunteering in the classroom, serving on policy committees and the local school committee. Never have I supported charter schools nor have many of my friends and supporters. We all worked from within to improve the system.
But in the last year or so there has been a definite change in attitude regarding charter schools. I cant tell you how many people Ive talked with, who formerly never supported charter schools, have now come out strongly in favor of unlimited charter schools. These are people like me, who have worked long and hard for good public education. Some are parents concerned about education while others have also worked in public education as teachers and administrators.
Like me, they see that all too often, decisions are not made in the best interest of high expectations for all children. Even when changes are made it has taken years. We see what happens to those children who did not have the benefit of good education because change came too late for them. It is criminal to have good scientific studies on how children learn and not have best practices in every classroom in every school building. It is detrimental when there is new technology that would help students but unions stall for years in the use of this technology.
One example of technology is the ability many systems have to put on line students test/quiz scores and assignment completion. Yet this takes years to be negotiated. Yet, the teachers have to keep track of this information (which they do on paper) instead of just entering it on the computer. With the information available by computer, parents can easily check to see if their child is keeping up in a timely way. They no longer have to wait for the teacher to notify them that the child is falling behind (which generally even if they do it comes too late to rectify). For any conscientious parent this would be helpful but for students with learning or behavior issues it is crucial.
I could go on, but Im sure you have heard many of the issues that just dont seem to move forward in a timely manner for our childrens learning.
The point I am trying to make is that I see a major shift in the public far more people are supportive to unlimited charter schools. If it is a ballot question it will win.
And, while I am a union supporter, it saddens me that some unions come across more supportive to their members while forgetting that each of their members owes a good days work to their employer in fulfilling the mission of educating every child.