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Op-ed

Charter Schools Are Robbing Public Schools

Charter schools are supposed to benefit education. However, they divert resources from traditional public schools, resulting in public school students losing access to resources and opportunities, which is not benefitting education. These cuts harm public school programs in three ways.

Firstly, public schools cut enrichment programs in the arts, depriving students of the opportunity to explore potential passions. According to Susan Zoller of the United Teachers of Los Angeles in 2016, “The declining enrollment in [Los Angeles Unified School District] is having a financial impact on the district of over $55 million”. This is one of many major revenue losses public schools face due to charter schools. “Athletics programs, library services, and summer school programs were reduced because of state cuts.”

Without revenue, public schools will not be able to stay open, leaving students to fend for themselves education-wise.

Secondly, cuts negatively affect the school infrastructure. According to the Huffington Post, “School infrastructure showed to suffer the most in areas like restrooms, graffiti-covered walls, internal heating and cooling and classrooms and desks.” Students cannot focus in these conditions, therefore not being able to achieve their full learning potential. David Branham of the University of Houston said, “Students are less likely to attend schools in need of structural repair, schools that use temporary structures and schools that have understaffed janitorial services… the quality of school infrastructure has a significant effect on school attendance and drop-out rates.” This shows how much of a negative impact a bad infrastructure causes to the students. Not only are drop-out and attendance rates affected by infrastructure, scores are too. Katrien Cuyvers in 2011 says that, “[…] statistics reveal higher average scores for students who enjoy good quality school infrastructure compared with students who have poor quality infrastructure.” These cuts from public schools are potentially threatening a student’s education, therefore not giving them the chance to succeed academically.

Lastly, budget cuts create larger classes. The Parent’s Guide to the Impact of the Public Education Budget Cuts notes that “teachers have less time to prepare for each class and have less time to provide detailed feedback to their students” and that “larger class sizes impacts the quality of teacher instruction.”

With less focus on each individual student, students will not get the help they need to succeed. Education is a right and we need to protect it at all costs.

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