The Debate Continues: The Ongoing Feud Between the Public Schools

We can support school choice and advocate for the equality and improvement of all schools! – Charter School Parent/Public School Alumni 

As legislators are looking at House Bills that will impact education in Georgia, there are many advocacy campaigns that are using negative language and messaging against traditional public schools in the name of school choice. It’s always a small group of people who work to impose their agenda on everyone. That’s why it’s important for school choice leaders in Georgia to promote positive advocacy campaigns. As a Charter leader, I agree that not all public traditional schools are bad just because some are failing. I also believe that the failure of public traditional schools doesn’t make all charter schools great simply because some perform better than traditional public schools. I acknowledge that there are supporters of school choice who feel that performance is a key factor of gaining support for school choice. They support negative messaging even if it continues the ongoing debate of public charter vs public traditional schools.

How does the public charter vs public traditional schools performance debate impact student success?

It appears to only further divide resources and support. I see the school choice movement as a partner to public traditional schools not an enemy. It gives parents and students an option to choose what learning environment is best for them. We must focus on what is working for all students because we still have too many children being left behind. We must believe in all the educators who are going above and beyond to serve children in all pubic schools. I believe people can support school choice without demeaning traditional public schools.

Advocacy Campaigns Fueling the Debate 

We can come together to improve advocacy for school choice and how it’s portrayed without attacking public traditional schools. This can be done with presenting facts in a way that isn’t demeaning. We all have a common goal in our advocacy. We’re advocating for more resources for our schools. School choice supports should not rally behind marketing campaigns that influence stakeholders to give more money to charter schools at the expense of public traditional schools. However, there is some language used advocacy campaigns that makes it seem as if funding for public traditional schools should be reduced to support charter schools that are performing better. It also paints a picture to policy makers that we should support one or the other. School choice shouldn’t be underfunded nor should traditional public schools. This isn’t Robin Hood. We shouldn’t empower conversations of taking funds from one school setting and putting it in another. This means that some children are still going to be without and this shouldn’t be.

Not all school choice supporters use or support negative campaigns against traditional public schools. There are organizations and advocacy groups who believe all schools should receive the funding that is needed for all students to succeed.  The GCSA (Georgia Charter School Association) is one group that uses advocacy messaging in a way that supports their cause and respects others. Here’s a recent advocacy message sent to stakeholders from the GCSA.

Since the passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012, state-authorized charter schools have received less per pupil funding than other public schools.

The current funding levels prevent charter schools from offering competitive salaries and attracting quality teachers. Fortunately, House Bill 787 can change that!

Contact your House Representative and urge them to fund all public schools – including charter schools – equitably.  Please click HERE to ask GA Representatives to say YES to HB 787!

. . . children will not learn and thrive in environments that are created out of fear, stress and unnecessary pressures.

The negative messaging  of traditional public schools doesn’t just attack the schools but the teachers. This type of negative language and comparison reminds me of the stress and pressures put on public school teachers that led to cheating scandals across the Nation. The cheating scandal was driven by the bullying of teachers and the creation of school cultures driven by fear. I believe negative messaging further adds to the demeaning of public school teachers who often times don’t have the resources needed to help children find success. Punishing teachers and children in public traditional schools isn’t what school choice is. That type of message is not a collective thought but an individual one.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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