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The Future of Education February 27, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Education.

High Tech High, a charter school in Silicon Valley, is closing. I found out about this thanks to Scoble (ROBERT SCOBLE KNOWS EVERYTHING! — Starter For 10, great movie :D). I wrote a little comment on that post, and I think I should just copy and paste it here:

This sounds a lot like the charter school I attend in Vacaville, about 45 minutes away from SF. I am an 18 year old Senior at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School (www.bcmhs.org). We too are a small (less than 400, including staff) school, and we are currently located in the middle of a shopping plaza (kind of weird to explain to people). We too are underfunded. We too have a teacher, student, and parent body of people that are grateful to be attending such a great school. There is nothing more motivating to students than a teacher that *loves* to teach. This is rare, but it seems like they are a commodity at Charter schools.

The public school system has been a *complete* failure, and in the future, all of these schools will be moving towards the small, community-oriented charter system. There is going to be a privatization of education in the near future. The educational problem that we face in America is much like the Social Security problem: large Public Schools have been a disaster, and charter schools are the only way we have been able to fix this problem.

I believe Buckingham is in it’s 5th or 6th year as a school (I am a senior), and we have quickly climbed to the #2 school in our district as far as performance. There is obviously something unique about this type of education; when you put academia back to the forefront of school, you will see a major change in student performance.

Just logically think about it: public schools have major gang, drug and alcohol problems (which is obviously different depending on where you live). When you come to a charter school with 360 kids and a waiting list of 200 students, there is a huge culture change. Suddenly gangs can be carefully watched; teachers begin to know their students personally; counselors care about getting their students into college. I love Charter schools.

One thing I do miss is the sports and school pride/history that goes along with going to a large public school. But who cares? I’ve gotten a much better education at Buckingham than I would have at any other school in my district, I am convinced of this. With that being said, I *still* think the education system has failed to fully prepare me for a University (Stanford/Santa Clara/Pt Loma) like I think it should have. The only way to get around that is: Private schooling.

Uniforms may not be so bad after all?



1. Ruth Fawcett - February 27, 2007

Obviously, you just have not experienced the true essence of a good public school (of which there are many). Read Ruth Fawcett’s novels, HONOR IN THE HEART and soon-to-be-released sequel, HONOR ME HONOR YOU. You will experience the real human dynamic in an elementary school and better understand its family-like quality. Any school is only as good as the parental support it receives and the joyful dedication of its teachers (your point).

2. Chris - February 27, 2007

You calling it “High Tech High” is a bit of a misnomer. High Tech High actually runs four high schools. Three are in San Diego and one is in Bayshore. They are only closing the Bayshore location. Not many people are saying this but I have a feeling the distance between the southern California headquaters and the bay area had something to do with the decision to close this school. This closure is still sad and families are fighting to keep it open… definitely a story to follow.

3. sdpurtill - February 28, 2007

Sorry Chris, I didn’t realize that it was a company that ran this… My charter school isn’t “privatized” in this manner.

4. Chris - March 5, 2007

Actually, I think the concept is almost unique to High Tech High. They were the first (and possibly only so far) school to be granted a “statewide charter” for California. As part of the agreement, they are required to build 2 schools every 2 years for the next ten years. The rapid expansion has me worried about sustainability though.

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