I happened to watch a documentary called “The Lottery”, which is about charter schools, and more specifically, the Harlem Success Academies. These are public schools that run like private schools. They have a high level of expectations for their “scholars”, and they have a goal of all of their students going to college when that time comes. This documentary highlights the unfortunate situation of families being forced to rely on a lottery, a draw, in order to guarantee their children a quality education. They do not say that all public schools are doing a bad job, they are talking about certain schools in the inner city of New York, that doesn’t take education as seriously as these Charter schools do.
This documentary got me thinking, why don’t we have these schools in Canada? The schools seem to be a good idea, they name their classrooms based on what University the Teacher attended, and what year the students will graduate from College, they are making college something that is more of a reality and possibility for students who may not have ever considered attending college. Yet, despite all of their success, and their proof that their programs are working, people are being convinced that they are a negative! I did some research and found out that Alberta is the only province in Canada that has charter schools. Why is that? Why don’t we have more schools like these?
You could be thinking that it seems to good to be true, or that it makes all other schools look terrible, but the reality is, that these schools have proven time and time again that their strategy, and their results are working, and they are getting results!! I would love to see these schools appear in Saskatchewan, not because I think that all schools are failing, but I appreciate, and agree with their beliefs about education, and about children. Schools need to change, we need to raise our standards and we need to stop teaching from a deficit driven set of beliefs about children from lower socio economic status. We need to start expecting them to attend college, and stop expecting them to drop out before they graduate.
All of my questions are not yet answered, but from what I have seen so far I really like the idea of charter schools. Maybe someday they will be a reality in Saskatchewan!