Discussion 4 Notes

Discussion starter:

Were there any points in the reading that you felt strongly about? Why?
– The class did not have any response to this question.

Discussion Questions:

1. “Proponents of family choice in education argue that public schools, especially those that serve poor children, no longer enable their students to learn and excel academically to a level that will prepare them for college and the labor force” (p. 61). Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

-The class agreed that the success of the individual is up to that individual, it all comes down to their drive and determination.
-The class also agreed that there should be more emphasis on making all schools desirable, rather than giving parents a choice.
-Finally, the class agreed that the government needs to change their priorities. Rather than spend money on a large military, they need to invest more in the education system.

2. “Research on the largest voucher programs…have demonstrated that attending a private school does not in and of itself guarantee higher academic achievement” (p. 62). With that being said, would you say that many parents enroll their children in private schools in order to segregate them? Or perhaps in order to have them socialize with other children of their socioeconomic status? What is your opinion?

-The class came to the conclusion that parents choose private schools because colleges will look at the title of the school before they look at GPA and test scores. There is also the stigma attached to students that attend private schools, if parents are willing to shell out serious amounts of money for private elementary and high schools, they will be willing to shell out tons of money for the university.
-The class also decided that public schools offer a chance for students to be exposed to more diversity, and that public schools better prepares children for the real world. However, there were some in the class who pointed out that they did attend a public school, and did not experience such diversity and felt deprived of that experience.

3. According to the reading, charter schools actually receive less money per student than traditional public schools and studies have demonstrated that there is no evidence suggesting that students who attend charter schools are more successful than students who do not. Since additional funding and increased likeliness for success are clearly not advantages of charter schools, what do you think potential benefits are, if any? Why do you think charter schools are so appealing to some parents?

-It was decided that the appeal of charter schools all boils down to the individual student. Parents may be more attracted to schools who have larger or smaller class sizes based on the student’s preferences and personality.
-The class also concluded that success can be defined in many different ways. Whether it is for individual success or success for the common good, when choosing a school the parents need to know how they define success in order to protect the best interests of the child.

Discussion Ender:
“When Americans began to use public funds to pay for schooling, they called those schools ‘common’ because they served the common good. It is time to return to that concept” (p. 64).

(Note: This summary was a joint collaboration between Nikole and myself.)


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