This article in today's Blade has raised many questions for me.
It's about parents deciding to enroll their children in TPS schools that are in academic emergency just so they can qualify for vouchers. And there are several things very concerning about this.
One - what does it say about parents' perception of the Toledo Public School system that they're willing to risk the education of their children by putting them - even temporarily - in a failing school so that they can, in the long run, permanently leave the school system? And this is an issue that's more than just 'perception' that needs to be changed by some advertising campaign.
Two - what does it say about our school leaders that they refuse to acknowledge the problem and instead see this as some conspiracy against urban school systems? Interim Superintendent Foley said this was "...just another way for the state to harm urban schools..." As if the entire goal of the voucher program was to decimate urban schools rather than to give students an opportunity to choose something other than a failure in their education.
Three - when a business begins to lose its customers, it starts to look internally at what's going wrong - are my prices too high? is my quality not what it should be? does my competition have better customer service?
Our school system, on the other hand, starts trying to place blame anywhere BUT internally.
Then there is this paragraph in the story:
"The teachers’ union reported two Bowsher High School students transferred recently to Woodward High School because they want free public cash toward tuition at St. Francis de Sales High School in the fall." (emphasis added)
Which leads me to point four - why is that these school leaders fail to understand that it isn't 'free public cash' as if the educational funds belong to some nebulous group or entity. These 'public' funds are OUR tax dollars which we expended to purchase a product - that being a quality education. There is no ENTITLEMENT of public schools to these monies - the only entity ENTITLED to such funds is the CHILD. And if such a child cannot get the quality education to which they're entitled, they should have every right to take their own monies and go to where they can.
If the TPS school system wants to stop the students from leaving, it needs to realize that criticizing its competitors - and insisting upon the usage of a failed monopoly - is not the way to do so. The test scores at these failing schools are already speaking loudly and clearly as is the decision of parents to send their children elsewhere - but is anyone really listening?
UPDATE: I wanted to add a link to this column by Debra Saunders, "Higher Grades, Lower Scores," which discusses the decline in proficiency despite an increase in grade point averages.