Charter Schools I Love

If I were a young teacher, I’d work hard to set up an arts charter school.

There’s a cool one on the other side of the mountain here in Utah. On this side of the mountain, we are rather culturally deprived and certainly have far fewer funds than over there. The funny advertising slogan someone came up with is “the other side of Utah,” which we translate to mean, “the backside of Utah.” It certainly feels that way much of the time.

The arts charter school of which I speak is a great model. They practice performing arts, theater and music, during most of the day. There’s time provided during the day, and also provided after school and evenings, to do online core subjects. What a great way to do high school! What a great way to grow up!

There are many models of arts virtual schools. I like the idea of using cross-curricular instruction to teach the core, which is the model of Waldorf schools. There are Waldorf charter schools which do this very thing; two of my grandchildren attend such a school. Although they aren’t purist Waldorf schools, I think the adaptations they have to make to be charter schools, such as having certified teachers, are all good. Similarly, you can find Montessori charter schools which utilize this positive and humane approach.

For the science and technology charter schools, the reviews are mixed. This is because it’s very hard to find a large enough population, with the commitment and academic vigor, to sustain good work over the long-term in rigorous subjects.

We don’t particularly hear about athletic charter schools, but there are issues surrounding athletics, mainly that charter schools sometimes recruit and use top athletes that don’t attend their schools, and there is not enough regulation over that.

Measuring by academic achievement, there’s no good argument for thinking charter schools are better than regular public schools, but for these types of specialties, the arts, which are the birthright of all children but which are being cut in many schools, hurray for charters which will keep arts alive!


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