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Comparing Traditional and Public Charter Schools

There are many aspects of schools to compare or how one school is different from another. I recently conducted a survey about how traditional public and public charter school students and staff feel about all aspects of their school. The purpose of the survey was to analyze the opinions in both schools. The results showed different trends in the relationship between students and staff of traditional public schools and public charter schools.

In traditional public schools students tended to be closer to their teachers. Most teachers who were working at regular public schools had been working there for at least 5 years or more, which would help build relationships with students. The survey also reveals that students at traditional public schools are taking rigorous classes but not more than public charter schools. In public charter schools, students tend not to be as close the teachers. César Chávez Public Charter School hires new teachers almost every year, so it would be evident that students aren’t as close because of the changes made every year.

Even though there are many differences, students in both schools didn’t give a correct definition of a public charter school. The charter school students were closer to the definition of course, but still not quite correct. The students in each school also agreed that their school was better than the other. But who wouldn’t say their school isn’t better; it’s ok to be biased sometimes.

As I wrapped up my survey, I began to look at what the public charter school and traditional public school teachers said about the schools. All the teachers said almost the same thing, the school is good overall but attitude and behavior need to improve in some areas.

The survey was a success and I got great results. It was very interesting sending surveys online

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Reflecting On Education for All

“We have not even come close to tapping the potential of this country”, said Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University (ASU), at the first annual The Atlantic Education Summit this week. Educational opportunity was the common theme during his talk, and Crow spoke passionately about his university’s attempts to shift what education means in the United States. The skyrocketing cost of college tuition was discussed as an economic, cultural, and psychological barrier keeping many people from pursuing higher education. Crow and ASU are working relentlessly to restructure education for the changing face of America. As an undergraduate student, the panel was an inspirational look into improving educational access.

Touching on college rankings, Crow discussed how schools are not ranked on outcomes like student learning, critical thinking skills, real-world experience, and character development of those who graduate. Instead, school rankings are based inputs such as the caliber of admitted students. College admissions are not an apples-to-apples game, and Crow encouraged high school students not to take these types of college rankings to heart. Instead, Crow suggested high school students apply to college based on which schools offer programs they are passionate about at a price that fits their needs.

The second half of the session focused on the unique partnership between ASU and Starbucks, and the opportunities it creates for Starbucks employees to go back to school for free. For Mary Ham, a Starbucks manager and single mother in Virginia, the program is a life changing opportunity. She spoke of her desire to continue to excel and set an example for her children. The crippling effects of accumulated student loans were also discussed during this part of the panel. The solution that ASU and Starbucks offer is giving adults a debt-free way to return to school

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Getting Education Bills to the Finish Line

CER interns had the chance to tune in to a Brookings Institution webinar entitled “Getting Education Bills to the Finish Line”, and listened to former Capitol Hill staffers tackle the issue of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA).

During the webinar, the failure to reauthorize ESEA was attributed to the introduction of the No Child Left Behind waivers, while failure of HEA was attributed to an abundance of policy proposals and executive orders, like giving letter grades to college institutions.

The overall consensus of the panel was that these bills needed to be updated to currently reflect education of today and the future. Some pointed to the separation of the branches of government and the non-alignment of the political parties as the reason these laws haven’t been updated. Panelists recalled their time in the Senate when legislators only wanted to be involved with the Executive Branch if it was an election year. The fact is there is not a bill that combines both the views of the Democrats and the Republicans, so anything passing is highly unlikely.

It was clear that education has become some sort of a “political football” that will be one a large factor in the upcoming presidential campaigns. Although the Obama Administration tried to pass these education bills, they failed because “shooting at POTUS is more popular than working with him”.

The panelists then took a vote on which bills they thought could hypothetically pass, and the results were mixed: reauthorization of HEA was unlikely, ESEA was 75% maybe/yes, and a proposed standardized higher education bill was a definite no.

I believe that both the House and the Senate need to put aside political agendas and focus on what’s important: THE CHILDREN. They need to figure out exactly

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