“Charter school saved my life.”
This isn’t just an anecdote from a concerned constituent that I have heard in passing. These are the words this very morning of my wife, an incredibly bright, but also quite introverted woman who moved from rural Nevada to Southern California in middle school, and felt lost – struggling to thrive in enormous classes that teachers had challenges managing. Then she was given the opportunity to attend high school at a charter school in Apple Valley, CA and blossomed. She graduated at the top of her class, while taking not only college-level courses in high school, but classes at local area colleges as well.
She credits this to the idea that all students are not alike and shouldn’t be educated as such. While charter schools like hers recognize and foster individual differences in learning, public schools regress to a mean established by whatever standard du jour is imposed upon them by the federal government. These methods may or may not make for good test scores, but even former New York state Teacher of the Year John Gatto doesn’t believe they lead to a well-educated mind that is capable of critical thinking.