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School Structure Project

What school structures best support students across the United States? Should public schooling be redefined? Are local school boards obsolete?
by

Amanda Struble

on 22 February 2015

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Transcript of School Structure Project

Horace Mann, an educational reformer, led the original public school crusade. Mann emphasized that universal public education was the most effective way of turning the nations youth into disciplined individuals while preparing them for participatory democracy. Over the past 150 years, many issues with public schooling have arisen. Originally, common schools were established due to an increase in immigration. Common schools were used as a way to mainstream all children, Today, this concept has proved to be an ineffective and misleading idea, Few children today are provided the quality education in which they deserve, There is much discussion and disagreement as to the true meaning of "public schooling." As stated by Frederick Hess in What is Public School? Principles for a New Century, "Public schools should teach children the essential skills and knowledge that make for productive citizens, teach them to respect our constitutional order, and instruct them in the framework if rights and obligations that secure our democracy and protect our liberty." Are all of todays opportunities for schooling truly "public?" Do the various models of schooling offer students an education of equity and equality?
History of Public Schooling
School Structure Proposal
Action Plan
The steps to ensure that all students in the United States receive an education of
equity
and
equality
.
Public Schools
Funding:

"Financed through federal, state, and local taxes, public schools are part of a larger school system, which functions as a part of the government and must follow the rules and regulations set by politicians."
Availability:
"Public school systems are open to everyone regardless of disability, wealth, status, race, or religion."
Private Schools
Funding:
"Private schools must generate their own funding, which typically comes from a variety of sources: tuition; private grants; and fundraising from parents, alumni, and other community members. If the school is associated with a religious group, the local branch may provide an important source of funding as well."
Availability:
"While some are more open than others, they can have entrance exams and can explicitly exclude students will disabilities, or those who otherwise don't fit a preferred profile. And of course they can also exclude those who can't pay."
Charter Schools
Funding:
"Charter schools are publicly funded schools that have considerable independence from public school districts in their curriculum development and staffing decisions, and their enrollments have increased substantially over the past two decades."
Availability:
"In general, a charter school may establish no admissions requirements except that students meet the age or grade level requirements specified in its charter. However, a charter school may be formed as a single-sex school or as a school designed to serve at-risk students, and in such circumstances may limit admissions to students of a single gender or who are at-risk of failure in school, unless such action would constitute impermissible discrimination under federal law."
Vouchers
"Thirteen states and the District of Columbia provide state-funded school vouchers to qualifying students. While each state approaches school vouchers differently, there are common questions states must address when developing their voucher programs."
Questions to Consider:
Which students are eligible for a voucher?
Is a voucher program state wide? Or only applicable to certain parts of the state?
Is there a limit on the number of vouchers handed out per year?
What is the maximum value of a voucher?
Charter schools are not an effective way of providing students with a fair, high-quality education. Therefore, charter schools
will not continue to serve as a schooling option.
Charter schools are funded by the government, yet they are granted too much flexibility in terms of teaching and learning. In many cases, charter schools are required to follow some public school regulations, but not all. Some charter schools are even allowed to re-create their curriculum or hire teachers without state certification! Some argue that charter schools are held accountable in that they face the risk of being shut down if student achievement is not apparent. If this is the case and so many of our students are already achieving lower than average, why bother experimenting with these students and potentially not providing them with the best education possible? In a nation that is shifting towards rigorous teaching and learning,
charter schools are not a plausible option
. Children today need the most qualified teachers and rigorous instruction possible to prepare them for the future.
Our nation is in desperate need of teachers that provide the highest quality education to all students. Therefore, there will be
strict limitations on who is permitted to provide public and private schooling
. Charter schools were previously granted the flexibility of hiring their own teachers regardless of whether these teachers maintained a state certification. Unacceptable. Upon applying for a position, teachers must have proof of
certification, references, a strong portfolio,
and
participate in an extensive interview process
. In addition to this, teacher candidates will
participate in a mock lesson
in which a panel of administrators, board members, and veteran teachers will observe and score the lesson. Teacher candidates will be provided with the school, grade, and subject prior to the lesson. Only the best, most qualified individuals will be permitted to teach in all schools, whether private or public.
Private schools will remain an option of schooling while complying with certain district requirements.
In order to comply with the given requirements, private schools will be
granted funds
, from the state (government), to assist in meeting these requirements. First, private schools will follow the districts process for
hiring highly-qualified teachers.
The district itself will hire and appoint new teachers based on their process of selection. Secondly, all private schools in a given state will follow a
universal tuition plan
. Private schools will not have the option of increasing or decreasing tuition. However, private schools may use their
tuition income to implement enrichment programs
of their choice in order to provide more individualized instruction. Thirdly, all private schools will use the
funding in which they are given from the state to establish Special Education and English Language Learner programs
. Private schools will accept applications from all students and all students will be given an equal opportunity to attend the school.
Private schools will be
required to follow a standard, universal application process assigned by the district.
Only students within a
given distance
of a private school may apply. Students considered "out of distance" will be encouraged to attend a private school within their area. First, all private schools will use a
universal application
. This application will be formed by the district. Secondly, students applying to enter grades 1 or higher will be given a
district created student recommendation
form in which the students previous teacher must complete. Thirdly, the district will establish a
universal entrance exam,
per each grade level, that students will complete at the private school in which they are applying. Lastly, upon completion of the above process, an
administrator from the private school will meet with an appointed representative
from the district to select students. The selection process will also be specific in
terms of gender, race, and academic ratio
. Private schools will still be allowed to provide a more individualized education, while still offering all students an equal opportunity to obtain this education.
To ensure high quality teachers in both public and private schools,
districts will establish a professional development system
for teachers beginning in Fall of 2015. Upon completion of this system, teachers will be considered highly qualified. This system will be a
4 module process that all teachers, new or tenured, will partake in.
It will consist of
one professional development session per month
during the school year. This session will occur in the place of an after-school staff meeting, for the duration of two hours. In addition to this, there will be
professional development sessions offered at night and on Saturday mornings.
As a part of this module process, teachers will create an
action plan concentrating on 4 selected domains (classroom environment, classroom management, instrucion, assessment, etc.).
Teachers will spend one semester on each module and collect evidence. At the end of each module, they will complete a
reflection piece to be submitted to the district.
At the end of the process, teachers will
meet with a panel of representatives from the district to participate in an exit interview.
Districts will take the necessary actions to ensure that teachers are the best they can be in all schools.
For those students accepted to a private school,
vouchers will be distributed
. However, the process in which these vouchers are assigned will change. First, there will be an
application process in order to obtain a voucher.
Once students have been accepted into one of a districts private schools, they may then
apply for a voucher
. Secondly. the families applying for the voucher must
provide information regarding annual income
. The district will set a
limitation in terms of annual income.
For example, families earning a combined income of $50,000 or more are not eligible for the voucher program. The district will also
determine a max number of vouchers
that will be issued each school year. The voucher program is designed to specifically provide an
equal educational opportunity for all students
and will allow
students of lower income families to attend a private school if desired
.
The
government will continue to provide funding for public schools.
However, the funding distribution will change. First,
all public schools will receive equal funding
. Secondly, urban school districts considered "
struggling schools" will receive this plus an additional 25% to provide extended education opportunities.
At the end of the school year, the school will be evaluated based on increase in students performance in order to determine future additional funding. Third,
private schools will be granted 50% of the funding in which public schools receive. With this funding they will establish Special Education and ELL Programs.
Private schools will continue to charge a predetermined tuition rate. This tuition will fund additional enrichment programs the private school chooses to offer. This funding proposal will be a plausible way for public and private schools to be financially stable and successful.
Conclusion:
In conclusion, public schooling must be redefined. Public schooling will be defined as a form of schooling, funded by state and local governments, that provides all students in the United States equal educational opportunities. There are only two structures of schooling that will provide the best support for all students. These two structures are public and private schools. All public schools will receive equal funding, with additional funding offered to inner city, struggling schools. Private schools will now be partially funded by the government, but are required to follow strict regulations to assure all students an equal chance of being admitted. The tuition in which private schools collect will be used to offer additional programs and activities not available in public schools. Vouchers will remain in use only by those families struggling with low income. Both public and private schools will comply to the same procedure in seeking only the highest-qualified teachers. Public and private school teachers, new or veteran, will participate in a newly established "Highly Qualified Teacher Module System." School districts will ensure that only the best teachers are educating our students. School boards will contribute to the positive changes made in schools to benefit students. This school structure plan will ensure that all students are offered equal opportunities in terms of learning.
REFERENCES:
Online Articles:
Blumsack, Kathryn & McCabe, Terry. "7 Signs of Effective School Board Members." American School Board Journal. 2015.
Cloud, John. "Are Private Schools Really Better?" Time Magazine. 2007.
Corona, Brittany. "Public Education Should Fund any Education, Not Just Government Run Schools." 2014
Great Schools. "What Makes a Great School Board Member? What Makes a School Board Effective?"
National Education Association. "Research Spotlight on Recruiting and Retaining Highly Qualified Teachers"
National Association of Independent Schools. "Private And Public Schools Can Work Together To Help All Students."
National Conference of State Legislatures. "School Voucher Laws: State by State Comparison."
Pascual, Psyche. "Public vs. Private vs. Charter."
Strauss, Valerie. "What it Really Means to be a Public School Teacher Today." The Washington Post. 2014.
Winters, Marcus. "The Truth About Charter Schools and Special Eduation." New York Daily News. 2013.
Yettick, Holly. "Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, Book Says." 2014.
Zelon, Helen. "Why Charter Schools Have High Teacher Turnover." 2014.
Book:
Hess, Frederick. 2004. “What Is a Public School? Principles for a New Century.” From Glen Koonce, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues. United States of America: McGraw-Hill Education.
Nathan, Linda. 2004. “A Response to Frederick Hess: Linda Nathan, The Larger Purpose of Public Schools.” From Glen Koonce, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues. United States of America: McGraw-Hill Education
Ravitch, Diane. 2010. “Why Public SChools Need Democratic Governance.” From Glen Koonce, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues. United States of America: McGraw-Hill Education
Tucker, Marc. 2010. “Changing the System is the Only Solution.” From Glen Koonce, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues. United States of America: McGraw-Hill Education
Local school boards are an extremely vital part of school districts, therefore they will be
established and utilized consistently
. Local school board members will work together to ensure that the educational desires of the community are met. The following are examples of
contributions in which the school board will make:
Setting the vision/goals of the district
Adopting and overseeing the annual budget
Creating/Approving the school calendar
Adopting curriculum
Informing the community of the districts accomplishments and struggles.
Most importantly, the school board will
focus on student achievement
and
implementing policies that are best for all students.
1. Eliminate Charter Schools
2. Hire Highly Effective Teachers
3. Creating Highly Qualified Teachers
4. Private School Requirements
5. New Private School Requirements
6. Use of Vouchers
7. Changes in Funding
8. Role of School Boards
Zelon, Helen. "Why Charter Schools Have High Teacher Turnover." 2014.
Winters, Marcus. "The Truth About Charter Schools and Special Eduation." New York Daily News. 2013.
Strauss, Valerie. "What it Really Means to be a Public School Teacher Today." The Washington Post. 2014.
National Education Association. "Research Spotlight on Recruiting and Retaining Highly Qualified Teachers"
National Association of Independent Schools. "Private And Public Schools Can Work Together To Help All Students."
Yettick, Holly. "Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, Book Says." 2014.
National Association of Independent Schools. "Private And Public Schools Can Work Together To Help All Students."
National Conference of State Legislatures. "School Voucher Laws: State by State Comparison."
Blumsack, Kathryn & McCabe, Terry. "7 Signs of Effective School Board Members." American School Board Journal. 2015.
Great Schools. "What Makes a Great School Board Member? What Makes a School Board Effective?"
Corona, Brittany. "Public Education Should Fund any Education, Not Just Government Run Schools." 2014
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