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Peter Greene to Parents: Why You Should Choose a Public School

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Peter Greene gives his sales pitch to parents about the advantages of public schools over charter schools. This is one of his best posts ever. He does a great job of explaining why parents should enroll their children in public schools, not charter schools.

Did he forget anything? If you were making this argument, what would you say?

This is what Peter Greene wrote:

“Here’s why you should send your child to your public school.

Stability.

I will promise you that at the end of this year, at the end of next year, at the end of your child’s educational career, even if that’s thirteen years from now, this school system will still be here. You will never arrive at our doors and find them suddenly locked. You will never spend a single part of your year scrambling to find a new school to take your child in. As long as your child is school age, we will be here for her. You will never have to discover that we have decided to stop teaching your child because we can’t make enough money doing it.

Shared expertise.

Our teaching staff has over a thousand years of collective teaching experience. You may think that those thousand years don’t matter if your child is in a classroom with a second-year teacher, but they do, because that second-year teacher will be able to share in the other 998 years’ worth of experience any time she needs to.

Our staff will also share the experience of teaching your child. Your child’s classroom teacher will be able to consult with every other teacher who works with, or has ever worked with, your child. We do not routinely turn over large portions of our staff, nor do we depend on a stable of green young teachers.

Commitment.

We are committed to educating your child. Only in the most extraordinary circumstances will we expel him, and we will never “counsel him out.” We will never require a minimum performance from him just to stay in our school.

Ownership.

Our public school is owned and operated by the voters and taxpayers of this community, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The charter school is not. This public school is overseen by an elected board of individuals who live here and who must answer to voters. The charter school is not. When you have a complaint, a concern, an issue that you want to direct attention to, the people who run this school must have regular public meetings at which you must be able to air your concerns. The charter is a business, run by people who don’t ever have to let you into their board room.

Will you allow me to see your financial statements any time I wish?

Will you commit to holding all meetings of your leaders and operators in public, with ample opportunity for members of the public to speak out?

Will you promise me that no matter what, you will never turn my child away from this school?

My suggestion to you? Find a place that will say yes to all of those, because without a foundation of stability, transparency, and commitment to your child, any other promises mean nothing. They are like getting a marriage proposal from a man who says, “I will be the greatest husband ever, but I do reserve the right to skip town any time that I feel like it.” The charter school promise is not really a promise at all. Our promises are smaller and less grand because we know that whatever we promise, we’ll have to stick around to deliver.”

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