With the appointment of Betsy DeVoss to Education Secretary, lots of people are concerned that her prior commitment to charter schooling and her potential lack of experience helping public schools may hurt our education system and our kids.
However, DeVoss could redirect funds to school choice and away from the corrupt teachers’ unions. Right to work should be a federal law. But I digress.
Teacher’s Unions do NOT Represent Our Children
As pointed out very well in the Prager U. video below, the teachers’ unions are about protecting the rights and privileges of teachers and their salaries (and dues, don’t forget those!).
Charter/Home School Hybrids in California
Interestingly, California has one of the best charter and home school systems in the US. Here, we have three ways to educate our children, including charter-home schools, which are a hybrid of public, secular charter schools and home schooling.
If you register with a public school ISP or Charter School, your child is still in public school. You are considered a teacher’s aide and will be assigned a credentialed teacher to oversee your program. You will need to keep the records required by the program in which you enroll. The amount of freedom you have in choosing what to study depends on the program’s policies and your assigned teacher. 1
And it’s a really great option if you want to have the benefits of home and classroom schooling.
Our Experience with Charter Home Schooling
My kids go to school twice a week for STEM classes, math and science Olympiads, art and choir. Three days a week, we study at home the four main subjects with a curriculum we have chosen. In the case of math, we use standard public school curriculum. For science, we choose a two-year Christian curriculum from Sonlight, which cost us around $230. For language and history, the school bought us a secular curriculum we prefer, written by a Christian author (Susan Wise Bauer)
All paid for by our taxes, the school gets money from the state for each kid. But we get to spend it on approved curriculum and private lessons in art, music, etc. We are not allowed to buy religious materials, which is fine.
Every three weeks, an educational coordinator, typically an experienced educator, visits our home, asks our kids questions, collects examples of their work, tells us where we are doing well and what we can improve. If we are not progressing, they can take steps to remediate. But typically, we are doing great. Our kids take the annual state tests, and score high or high-average.
The teachers at most charter schools are very motivated and excellent, and usually Christian. They don’t push faith, but understand and work with families who want to more explicitly incorporate that world view.
My kids, who spent years in a good public school, were at first intimidated by how much smarter the charter school kids were.
All that is to say, charter schools can be awesome even in California, and even more so here because of the charter/homeschool hybrid that doesn’t exist in other states.