January 18, 2013 1:09:25 PM
There are many ways to help improve the quality of education for students K-12 in Mississippi. Charter schools is just one of them. Appointing school superintendents is another. Erasing school superintendents is yet another. All face opposition for various reasons, but all are viable solutions that should be tried and given an honest chance to succeed.
Charter schools may not work in every case, but arguing against them won't prove they will fail in any given situation. So what if the students "take" $8,000 apiece with them when they transfer? The purpose of charter schools is to improve the education of their students. If the "better" students, those who are more academically inclined, go to the charter schools, then teachers in the rest of the schools can concentrate on those students who don't learn as quickly or as easily. It's a win-win for everyone.
Elected superintendents are politicians first and foremost or they wouldn't have their jobs. Some may be good supes, but that isn't necessarily so. Here in Noxubee County, we've just had a circus concerning the public school superintendent. The incumbent lost, then won, then lost again in re-elections and law suits. Or was it the other way around. Excuse me for being confused. It is ridiculous that went on when the more competent applicant could have been hired by the school board, or fired and replaced if he proved to be a bad choice. Time and money saved, not to mention continuity in the school system.
If school district lines were erased, parents could send their children to the school of their (parents' or students') choice. Schools could tailor their curriculum to the students in attendance, and students could opt to attend the school that best fits their needs. College-bound students could go where calculus, chemistry, physics, English lit, etc., were taught and those who aren't interested in college could go where there are more shop classes, home economics, and more relevant classes geared toward a career in the "real world. "Everybody would benefit from a better education.
Longer school years, or at least re-designed school years are worth discussion. Remember, we are trying to improve the quality of education for young people, not accommodate the vacation schedules of parents. Also, schools do not exist to provide anyone with jobs. We've got to improve education all across America if this country is to stay competitive with the rest of the world in technology. Politics and personal agendas have no place in this business.