Letters to the Editor

Letter: Charter schools hurt public schools

To the Editor:

On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on March 11, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has never visited an underperforming school, could not explain why the performance of the public schools in her home state of Michigan continued to decline under her watch.

I can explain it. I only need to use one skill from the more than 30 cognitive skills associated with critical thinking. Logic.

Start with a comprehensive heterogeneous community public school. Now siphon off the hardworking, motivated, higher-ability, eager-to-learn, better-behaved students into charter and private schools.  

The motivated, hardworking, competent teachers tend to follow these good students to the charter schools, since teaching the now larger percentage of unmotivated, lower-ability students remaining in the public school turns out to be more difficult and less enjoyable and satisfying. Logically, the performance of public schools declines.

Instead of President Donald Trump tasking DeVos with chairing the commission focusing on school safety, she should be chairing the commission on how to motivate the unmotivated students to learn what they need to know to survive in the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum that lies ahead of them, as well helping them develop a love of the arts, an understanding of history and society, and importantly, civility. In my humble opinion, I’m not sure DeVos is the right person for this job.

David Thiessen

Woodstock

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