The industrial-era public education system that America inherited from the last century no longer works for the majority of students. Because it is highly centralized and assigns students to schools based on their home address, it produces cookie-cutter schools that treat all children the same. However, that educational model is profoundly unfair to the majority of America’s children. Kids come from different backgrounds. They speak different languages. They have different interests and different learning styles. They arrive at school on different academic levels.
Whereas traditional public schools attempt to treat most students the same, public charter schools attempt to create best-fit learning environments that meet the specific needs and interest of their students.
When children land in the right school, they flourish in surprising ways.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Washington, D.C. The District has a universal enrollment, and nearly 50 percent of the public school students attend charter schools whose leaders have the autonomy to control their school designs and influence school culture. As a result, the District’s charter sector has an extraordinary number of innovative learning models– STEM, Classics-based, dual-language immersion, Montessori, etc.– creating a variety of educational options so that each student can find a best-fit school.
Reinventing America’s Schools and The 74 recently highlighted some of these unique schools in our Schools of the Future series. However, because D.C. has so many innovative schools, we simply couldn’t cover them all. As such, we encourage you to read Harvard Ed. Magazine’s piece on Monument Academy, a D.C. public charter school designed to serve kids in foster care.
Read the story here.