Monday, September 01, 2008

School Facilities And Learning 

Jay Mathews writes today about the fact that schools don't necessarily have excellent facilities to have an excellent programs. While what he says is certainly true the lack of proper space can wreck havoc on the success of a school, especially when it comes to charters.

I remember clearly how the Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy suffered as the result of existing in a "temporary facility" for six years. The place became so crowded as the maximum student count was reached that teachers had no where to do their work other then the classroom. (No charter school opens with it's final enrollment. They usually start with a few grades and then build to their allowable capacity.) Discipline was adversely effected as students broke into fights and arguments simply because they were virtually on top of each other.

In addition, the search for a permanent space drains energy that could be used to support the education of the student body. It is a tremendous distraction from which many charters never recover (such as Tri-Community Charter School that we take over starting tomorrow.)

Finally, while may charters do operate in church basements and store fronts morally this should never be allowed to occur. Charters are public schools and as such should be awarded adequate space. Just because we are permitted certain freedoms this does not mean that we should be punished by having to compete for space in the commercial real estate market.

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