In writing of the state of education in California. Mr. John McDowell waxes poetic on the possibilities he envisions in charter schools, (“Thank God for Mississippi” in the Jan. 25 issue of the Daily Journal) with their alleged freedom from stultifying rules and teacher unions.
A few facts. Mr. McDowell states that the Stanford CREDO study shows that charter schools “do a better job teaching low-income students, minority students and English learners.” However, the CREDO study also acknowledges that traditional public schools in the area studied have up to four and a half times more students enrolled who are English learners. Finland is often cited as a global model for education, as it was in the documentary “Waiting for Superman” referenced by Mr. McDowell. Finland also has the highest rate of unionization of their teaching force, and maintains class sizes of around 20 pupils. Schools are also funded to provide wrap-around services.
As of 2013, California had slipped down to 35th in per pupil spending in the United States. The passage of new taxes and a redistribution of funds to target schools in underprivileged areas mean better resources are on the horizon for California public schools.
California’s passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 demonstrated a firm commitment of our families to the promise of public education in our state. It seems to me on the question of school choice, the voters have spoken. Let’s make every public school an excellent school.
Michelle P. Kern