Thursday, March 1, 2012

Appleton May Switch Public High School to Charter School

Appleton East High School, one of three in the Appleton Area School District, is seriously considering jumping on the bandwagon of Appleton charter schools. Serious enough that they're holding closed meetings to discuss the possibility with select individuals. The first was held last Thursday at the school, and the second will take place there tonight at 6pm.

Wisconsin public schools are finding charter schools more attractive because its easier to get more money as a charter school, especially after Walker's redistribution of education wealth to charter schools. Charter schools can even raise hundreds of thousands of dollars by punishing students with fines instead of paying teachers to supervise detentions. What principal would want to work with the slim, locked-down budget of a publicly-funded school in Wisconsin? I don't blame principal Matthew Mineau for asking.

Appleton already has at least 16 charter schools. A school as big as Appleton East switching to a charter school will further reduce the amount of funds to public schools in Appleton and make it more difficult for underprivileged children to get an affordable education. Appleton needs to work on reforming the public school system to achieve success across the board, not twiddle with 'experimental' efforts like charter schools which will never be accessible to everyone (physically and/or financially). Let public schools experiment scientifically to find new methods of success if they're not allowed to already.

We're entering a downward spiral by severely restricting money to public schools, forcing good teachers and administrators to go where the funds they need are. Public schools will only get worse as the brain-drain takes full affect.

Any concerned parents or citizens of Appleton should attend tonight's meeting, even if you're not allowed to share your thoughts. I don't think the school is trying to fast-track a conversion to a charter school, but there are many rumors that they are. I believe there may be a public meeting later this month, but I can't find any announcement.

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