Charter vs. Public School By: Lori j Loesch


 

Wow, have things changed, in a relatively short time.  Change for the better.  The house is calmer and quieter.  I took my 5th grade daughter to a Charter School.  It’s the same Charter School that her brother went to ten years ago.  There are eleven years between my kids.  Same parents, and both were planned!  

I just can’t believe the difference in me since switching to a Charter School.  This charter school is unconventional, just like we are.  I don’t discipline like some parents.  I never gave my kids time out or consequences.  My kids never did anything really naughty.   I pick battles, and usually don’t need to go to battle with my kids. I am with my kids a lot, and I have always talked with my kids, that was all I needed to do. 

I love to learn, and teach.  However school has always been a place that makes me anxious.  There are so many rules that kids and parents must follow.  For my daughter, it made her upset that she would get a fine because I didn’t sign her homework paper, or if she doesn’t understand her homework, she’ll get a fine, if she doesn’t finish it.  My daughter is a good kid and would never do anything she’s not supposed to do.  The public school system made her nervous about everything, even lunch.  I took her to the dentist and stopped to get lunch.  Upon returning to school, she was clearly upset about what to do.  Her class was at lunch, and she was afraid that she would have to buy a lunch.  As if she wouldn’t be allowed to sit in the cafeteria without a lunch.  When I saw the anxiety in her face and saw that she didn’t want to leave the office until she was sure  she wouldn’t get in trouble for not eating lunch at the school, I made the decision to take her to the Charter School.  

My mood has changed in a drastic way.  I drive my daughter to Charter School in State College, Pa.  This is our home town.  I feel comfortable around life! The drive is shorter, than the drive to her school in the Valley, Penns Valley, and there are people, cars, people walking dogs, there is life in State College.  My drive down the Valley to her old school, was long and dull.  Fields, some sad looking cows, that I pray for everyday, they look so bad and are always covered in mud.  I get sadder driving this country drive everyday.  

The Charter School is laid back, relaxed, and she gets one on one teaching, if she needs it.  There is an Extended School Program, which she is taking advantage of.  She can stay after school, free of charge, until 5:30pm.  There, she can work on homework, draw, go outside and play sports, or a number of different things.  There’s even a day they go to Tussey Mountain Ski Lodge, and she informed me, that was not something she wanted to do!  

There are always pros and cons to every change, and Faith misses her friends at her old school, and her teacher.  She also misses the chairs!  Faith is so funny!  But she realizes that being with her friends was a very small part of school life.  I’m feeling sad, too, when I see the notes her friends have sent, telling her that they miss her, and that she was a good friend.  There are two people that have surprised me by their response or lack of a response.  The principal called me the first day that the Charter School sent word that she would be leaving the public school.  I never got a call from the principal when she was missing school.  I got a letter.  Funny, right?  I have only good things to say about Penns Valley School District.  It’s a great ‘public’ school.  The other person that has surprised me is her long time, pre school friend.  They have been very close, but her friend has been slowly slipping away.  For five years they have been close and so far, the friend hasn’t said anything to her about leaving.  She said something short, like I hope you like it.  To me it sounded like she read it from a script.  This was just before Faith left school and she has heard nothing from her BFF.  My husband thinks this BFF, stuff is for the birds!  There’s no such thing.   

For me, being back at the charter school was like going home.  Most of the teachers that taught when my son attended, are still there.  I don’t believe they have tenure.  The teachers are there because they are good, honest, teachers.  Tenured teachers, aren’t always the best teachers.  They just got lucky and now we can’t get rid of the bad ones. 

Seven years ago, we moved to the country because our son didn’t want to go to the large high school, in State College, Pa.  He met a friend at the charter school that was from Penns Valley, and we built a house down the road from them.  He hit ninth grade and he and his friend went separate ways.  Bummer!  Now he was all alone, in a place where people from the outside are not accepted.  He made it through with flying colors.  We thought his sister was different and would excel in public school, but public school made her too nervous.  The evenings at home are more relaxed, and getting her off to school is a breeze!  I know it is still early and things will get more difficult as she no loner will be the new kid, getting all the attention, but I think she will excel in her endeavors, as she wants to be a computer animator.  This Charter School is very computer savvy and she will learn a lot.  

As for the family life, well…it’s getting better, little by little.  I know this too will pass.  I hope it’s just a phase we’re going through.  

Peace.

 

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