Jan 16, 2018
Tutors have an opportunity when it comes to the debate over reforming America’s public schools to offer an out-of-the-box solution to policymakers and students alike.
Few issues are thornier in American education than whether the privately run but publicly funded charter school, with its promise to free students from failing local public schools, are really the fix we need.
For one, they call into question local control of schools, the role of teacher unions, and how governments tackle poorly resourced, “failing” public schools. But as the charter school movement continues to grow nationwide (New Orleans’ schools are now almost all chartered), the question remains as to what alternatives exist.
To that end, educators, policy experts, and a parent have responded to an opinion piece by Chalkbeat’s editor that called for more charter school networks like New York City’s 46 Success Academies, whose roughly 15,000 students regularly fall within the top 5% of state test-takers.
The selection of responses range from supporting charter schools as a partner in “creating strong ecosystems of education,” in the words of education consultant Tim Ware, to more critical takes on how educators and school districts can lead reform instead. Perhaps the pittieth opinion in the public versus charter debate comes from Detroit parent Bernita Bradley, who laments that “both sides could do better.”
While opinions go either way when it comes to the future of charter schools, those same voices might ask what role tutors could play in education reform that supports, rather than guts, existing K-12 public schools. Tutor networks and community-based tutoring initiatives are already connecting students to the personalized learning that reinforces their education.
So as policy wonks weigh up the options for fixing U.S. schools, perhaps the next think piece ought to factor tutors into the equation.
A Chalkbeat roundtable: the promise and perils of charter networks like Success Academy https://ny.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2018/01/16/a-chalkbeat-roundtable-the-promise-and-perils-of-charter-networks-like-success-academy/