Webber on Public Schools
David Webber, a professor at the University of Missouri, makes some good points in an op-ed about school choice in the Columbia Daily Tribune:
Properly administered and supervised, charter schools show promise for expanding specialized education program alternatives. Home schooling is a rapidly growing practice, and those children should be allowed to easily take advantage of public school extracurricular and supplemental activities.
Public schools should adopt more "alternative teacher certification" programs, work to retain teachers (requiring higher pay) and treat them as professionals.
However, I can’t say I share his dismissive attitude toward vouchers and tuition tax credits. He writes:
Public schools do more than teach math and reading, skills that can be purchased at a for-profit learning center at a strip mall.
Since he admits that private organizations can teach those skills successfully, why not involve them more in our education system? The argument seems to be that although public schools often lag behind private schools in teaching academics, public schools also build community pride and bring people together.
That may be true of some places, especially some rural communities where there aren’t many alternatives to the local public school. But in cities like St. Louis, where a few wealthy professionals can afford private schools while most people are stuck in the failing district, public schools can foster more frustration and resentment than community.