After dealing with the Public School System in Lee County, Florida, I had had enough. I realized I had another option as opposed to enrolling my children in a pricey Private school. That option came in the form of a Charter School.
Charter Schools are schools which are publicly funded like Public schools, however they follow their own set of rules and regulations. The student to teacher ratio is usually much smaller in size, and therefore each child gets more one-on-one attention. Most Charter Schools that I’ve seen adhere to a strict dress code and uniform policy, sometimes bearing a school logo embroidered into the shirts, and thus eliminating any room for ridicule over a child’s wardrobe from peers. In today’s day and age, that’s an important key point, especially in terms of bullying. The meals these schools serve tend to be healthier and fresher, and mindful of a child’s nutritional needs. There also tends to be an extended day within these types of schools, providing the children with extra curricular activity time, or homework time.
The cons in which I’ve noticed within the Charter School three of my children currently attend would be plentiful, but important; first being transportation. The school my children are attending here in Cape Coral, Florida, does not have an adequate busing system established. I believe there are only two buses which operate for the school through a private bus company, and being that we live 25 minutes away from the school, this could occasionally cause a problem. Luckily, I work only five minutes away from their school and have hours correlating with their school hours, so picking them up and dropping them off isn’t too much of a chore. For the parents who live more than 5 miles away from the school, they can either meet the bus at the designated bus pick-up/drop-off point where they meet loads of parents to pick their children up, or parents can drive them to school and pick them up themselves. Although this is inconvenient, it is a reality.
There also seems to be quite a bit of dysfunction and confusion ongoing within every aspect of the school’s day to day operation. Front office staff are unaware of important dates and addresses of sports events, and as this is a school based on fitness, again – this poses a problem. There is no school calendar system established that I know of, which makes it difficult to know when kids have days off. I always seem to find these things out last minute. Their parent pick up line wraps around the school, cutting off traffic and causing chaos and confusion with other drivers who are trying to get where they’re going.
The teacher quality seems hit or miss. For instance, my daughter, who is in the 7th grade, has had three teachers to date here this year alone. The first teacher resigned, the second teacher was fired, and the third teacher is not to my liking. My daughter was in high honors classes before I moved her school, and is now in a split 6th/7th grade classroom, which I don’t particularly like, learning things she learned back in the 4th grade. There is only one class per grade level, so switching her classroom or moving her to a high honors class is not a possibility. This infuriates me as she is moving backwards instead of forward. Her previous teacher allowed her to do 8th grade work as she realized she wasn’t being challenged enough. The new teacher revoked this privilege, stating, “it didn’t make any sense.” My sons, however, are thriving in their classroom. They are both in the 4th grade. At one year apart in age, they are supposed to be one grade level apart, however my oldest son had stayed back due to behavioral issues at his previous school. This fact is actually what prompted the school change, and they couldn’t be happier. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about their quality of education. The right teacher, in my opinion, makes all the difference in the world.
As I mentioned above, I switched my children to a Charter school because of problems I had faced in the Lee County Public School system. It was as if my son was being discriminated against due to his behavioral disorder. Even while he was attending counseling, seeing a psychologist and eventually a psychiatrist, and on trials of various medications until we found one that worked, the teachers and principals I encountered weren’t receptive of our efforts as parents and didn’t try to accept my son or even understand. They viewed him as a burden and a thorn in their side. They would rather he spent every day suspended or sitting in the office rather than take the time to find teaching methods that worked for him, or to even so much as show they cared. After a few really tough years, I decided to make the switch. Ultimately, I am happy I did. In my daughter’s case, I believe she would be better off back in the Public school system. I moved her along with them out of the convenience that they could all be in the same school together. I believe I will allow her to spend the rest of the year here, however, next year I will more than likely move her back into the Public School system.I do intend on keeping my boys in the Charter system, whether at this school, or another in the area. It just works better for them.
Ultimately, each child is different, and as a parent, it’s always best to evaluate your child’s needs before making the switch.