Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journal 16 | Researched Solution | Wendy Wu

A hot topic discussed in the education arena is charter schools. I have definitely been drawn to this as it's been discussed in the previous team facilitations. It's also something that highly interests me because I attended Oakland Military Institute, a charter school in Oakland, that I personally think was unsuccessful. That's why I have mixed feelings about this push for charter schools, and the New York Times article discusses some of these mixed feelings. However, because of this push for charter schools, the topic has definitely come to my attention, and I've been wanting to learn more about it. Recently, Waiting for Superman came out. Although I have not watched the movie, I know it's very controversial and discusses Harlem charter schools that have been successful such as KIPP.

This past weekend, I got to have a very deep conversation with a friend who's in the Teach for America program. He's currently working with students with Aspergers, and he's have a wonderful time in TFA. As a graduate from UC Berkeley, I got to ask about his experience in Education 190 and talked about the social change account where I got to ask him how he was using education as a vehicle for social change. We talked a lot about charter schools, and he brought up how he wants to work at KIPP for a few years to gain experience before working for school administrations. The topic of KIPP intrigued me because I heard about it in high school and how successful it was. I really liked the model of the schol, and I can see why many charter schools use it as a model. My friend said he advocates for charter schools but only if they are like KIPP. KIPP definitely has an amazing track record and it's amazing how it's keeping low-income students of color off the streets and into higher education. I had my doubts about charter schools, but I have to agree that if charter schools can be on the same level as KIPP all over the nation, then charter schools will be the way to go. However, right now, there's no standardization in these charter schools and they are free to do whatever they want. Moreover, I have noticed that many of the charter schools in Oakland are unsuccessful because they replace public schools that failed. Some even move into the old public school property and just change the name to a charter school to get different types of funding. I don't think charter schools like that work and just increase the problems education already has. Not only does KIPP have great teachers who definitely care about the students, but KIPP also has uniforms. Although I went to a school with uniform, I hated it, but I can definitely see the benefits of uniform. It takes away something that differentiates students and decreases bullying due to one's lack of money to purchase the best clothes. When it comes down to it, KIPP emphasizes high achievement, so if all the students care about this the most, then there's potential for success as seen in these schools. Moreover, KIPP schools are from K-12, which definitely incubates students for success in life and higher education. In conclusion, I have mixed feelings about this huge push for charter schools based on my own experiences, but if all charter schools can model that of KIPP's and if there's standardization across the board for all charter schools to be successful and meet standards, then I support charter schools.

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