As we learn more about the art and science of the teaching profession and the development of the human condition as it applies to learners and learning, it is increasingly apparent that in order to provide students with meaningful access to their world we must seek and adopt a flexible approach to schooling. A flexible school adapts to the needs of learners instead of asking learners to adapt to it.
Our current school model is not meeting the needs of all learners. Most public schools today, as a result of their sheer size and ever-increasing breadth of mission, remain institutions that work for most students. This is not to slight the individuals working within the public education system but rather to highlight that as a system, as a unified organization, we have yet to impart an effectual education for all students. As students move through the K-12 model in chronological age, they are subject to a varied education, dependent upon the quality of individual staff that at best they can select and at worst to which they are arbitrarily assigned.
The public education system, as currently designed, cannot serve all students well. It is too big and is responsible for doing too much. And big ships cannot, by their nature, turn on a dime. Nor can they possibly meet the unique and changing needs of all their customers. Instead, they offer a single experience to all customers and the customer is responsible for fitting within that experience. The end result for school systems is that some students are not well served. They may get lost, fall through the cracks, sit passively, or become victims of rigidity. Charter schools offer a different model within the system and therefore can produce different outcomes for students who do not benefit from a traditional system. Charter schools can build a new, smaller, and more responsive ship.