How should public schools respond to the school of choice expansion?

Newly appointed Department of Education executive Betsy Devos has promised an additional assault on public schools through a school of choice expansion initiative. Schools of choice allow students to determine which school within the resident district they will enroll as well as allowing non-resident students to enroll in a district other than their own. Public schools will need to consider alternative measures that will attract parents back to their school district.

According to the article, Public schools step up fight to win back charter students, public schools have successfully adopted alternative measures to reenroll the students of parents who opted to enroll their child in a school of choice. For example, the Upper Bucks Public School District superintendent decided to build a new dance studio, to enhance the drama program with a “black box” theater, and a bare-bones performance space to compete with the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. This new addition will help the public school district save $250,000 per year in tuition reimbursements for 17 students. Additionally, Quakertown Community Public Schools spends approximately $2 million on students who choose to attend a school of choice.

A school of choice has a significant impact on the public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the start of the 2015-16 school year in New Jersey, an estimated 42,000 students attended a school of choice. In Pennsylvania, there were nearly 135,000, or 65,000 more than in 2007-08. Much of the 97 percent increase occurred in the Philadelphia region. Meanwhile, in the same period, the amount of money that Pennsylvania districts paid to schools of choice to educate those students rose even faster  — by $865 million to $1.5 billion, a 139.3 percent jump. Public schools can only reverse this trend by first investigating the reasons that parents choose to enroll their students in a school of choice.

Why do parents choose a school of choice rather than a public school?

The preference for a school of choice rather that a public school is born out of the dissatisfaction with educational quality. Schools of choice are being created for students by parents and other concerned adults to seek an alternatives to the traditional public schools. These alternatives include an alternative vision, serving a special population, or to gain autonomy from state or district regulation.

A school of choice supposedly provides parents and students with a practical alternative to public schools without having to pay tuition. It is reported that schools of choice shift responsibility to parents to select schools that reflect their own preferences and meet the learning needs of their children. The belief is that parents, when given a choice, will withdraw their children from poorly performing public schools or schools that are unresponsive to their needs, thereby generating pressure for higher performance and responsiveness in all schools. The key to attracting students back to a public school lies within the decision of the parent and this is where the process must begin.

Public schools must begin with an assessment of their community and then an assessment of their school. Many of the parents who choose to send their children to a school of choice are also a product of a public school. It is impossible to attract parents if they believe that a high school education in a public school did not help them. For example, if a parent is a high school graduate and the only job that they were able to attain is that of a manual worker then they will believe that public education is insufficient. The school must evaluate the educational outcome for the parents in the community as well as the process that parents have had to endure.

Next, the public school must develop a curriculum that will ensure that all children will attain a higher employment status as a result of a public school education. The school must also ensure that students are not plagued by disproportionate discipline. Finally, a public school can compete with a school of choice by guaranteeing a safe and educationally productive school environment.

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All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

The Raccelerate Phenomenon

Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education

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“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
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Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools


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~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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