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Friday, November 5, 2010

Bishop McLaughlin of Potters House, protests to much

Bishop Vaughn Mclaughlin took umbrage at the Times Union investigation into local schools that took advantage of the Florida Tax Credit scholarship program. The Potters House Christian academy reaped on average a little over 1.1 million dollars a year for the past five years for its roughly 240 students. This is money by the way that is diverted from public schools that are currently facing what one education expert termed a financial apocalypse.

I have no doubt that the Potters House serves children that come from an impoverished back ground, just like every public school does and I won’t argue if the faculty does a good job or not, though scientific data shows that on average charter and private schools do no better than regular public schools. Though I think it is very unfair and misleading to compare the Potters House graduation rate, as I think it is very unfair and misleading to compare public verses charter and private schools in most categories. They are playing different games.

Public schools are required to educate whoever walks through their doors, regardless of parental involvement, economic back ground, and effort, lack of effort, behavior or disability. Private and Charter schools on the other hand can not only pick and choose who they want but who they keep as well and can have more requirements made of their students and their families. Furthermore their hands aren’t tied but many of the stifling regulations that are currently choking public schools but again with all those things working against the public school, they do just as good a job as private and public schools.

Imagine running a race where you were blindfolded, bare footed and had your legs tied together and your opponent had no such impairments, in fact they also had a new pair of shoes courtesy of you. They should win going away right, well in the case of public verses charter and private schools they don’t, in fact it’s a photo finish. I can’t be the only one who sees the problem here. Why are we funding charter schools as an alternative to public schools if they don’t bring anything extra to the table?

Bishop MacLaughlin, nobody questioned your teacher’s ability or your kid’s needs or your school’s mission. All that was questioned is if we the public should be giving away our money to what are basically for profit businesses that do no better than public schools. Very reasonable questions if you ask me.

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