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Is Outsourcing Education A Good Idea?

5:56 PM, Feb 14, 2012   |    comments
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Triad, N.C. - Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools has outsourced its entire summer school program to a private education company. But, would outsourcing all public education be a good idea?

Taxpayer dollars support charter schools, which is technically outsourcing. Charter schools do great things, but they have limitations just like traditional schools.

Guilford Preparatory Academy emphasizes small class sizes, a pathway to college and a streamlined administration.

Principal Robin Buckrham said, "We can make decisions a lot more efficiently. We manage our money here at the building level. The state funds we get, we manage those. We appropriate those where we see the need."

But, charter schools do not get capital funds. In other words, they do not get money for buildings. Guilford Preparatory Academy leases its space.

"Facilities are our biggest challenge," Buckrham said.

While smaller class sizes and more attention might seem like the answer to improving the education system, it's not that easy.

"I don't think there's any silver bullet. We have so many needs that students are bringing to the classroom now. We have so many different kinds of perspectives that parents are interested in seeing students develop, that I think having that broad range of options available for parents is the best way for us to go," A&T State University Dean of Education Dr. William Harvey said.

Also, it's important to remember, charter schools aren't always better than traditional schools.

"The presumption is that they perform better than public schools. That isn't necessarily the case. There are some very high performing public schools that draw from a variety of student populations. There are charter schools that don't do well," Dr. Harvey said.

It all comes down to what's best for your child. Some children will do better in a larger school with more students and activities. Others need more individualized attention

Last year, Winston-Salem Forsyth County did their own summer school. It cost $783,000 dollars. The program lasted eleven days for three hours a day.

This summer, the district will out source summer school. The program's actual cost is around $1.2 million. But the district will pay the same price it did last year. Grants and philanthropies will cover the extra cost.
The program will also last more than twice as long.

WFMY News 2

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