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The learning process can only be effective with the aid of furnished facilities such as libraries, which have the requisite resources to equip students. Libraries are needed by organizations in order to offer efficient education, as demonstrated by colleges and high schools, among other learning institutions. Nonetheless, charter schools are denied these services, leading to their low results. Aside from the shortage of facilities, the schools still lack librarians that aid with their administration. Inadequate funding budgets are one of the reasons charter schools neglect libraries. As such, this study seeks to identify the challenges facing charter schools and how they compare to public ones. Although it seems upsetting, there are no libraries in charter schools due to lack of budget allocation towards these facilities. It is crucial to understand that libraries are fundamental in enhancing reading and research while improving performance; hence, must be embraced in all the learning institutions, especially charter schools.
According to the US Department of Education, in the academic year 2007/2008 approximately 92 percent of the conventional public schools had libraries but only 51 percent in charter schools. It is a worrying trend that affects most students. As per Maria Traska, there is an immense void in charter schools posing significant threats to the development of kids. Evidently, how can children develop a reading habit without the assistance of libraries to nurture them? It is a viable question seeking to highlight the challenges facing these institutions. The same sentiments are echoed by a parent, Peter MacPherson in the District of Columbia who states “most charter schools lack libraries because they do not have the necessary space to contain them.” In fact, although Anocastia High School was refurbished in 2012/2013 academic year, the library did not have any books since money was not allocated for the same (Traska, 2013).
Apart from constructing and furnishing the structures, it is also crucial to have permanent librarians. Volunteers such as Laura Dildine have strived to improve the status of charter schools by building and furnishing them. The individual was passionate about education and wanted to assist in building and improving charter schools. Driven by the institute’s thirst for transformation, Dildine started a significant community-wide promotion with contributions from the local companies, newspaper, public libraries, Wake Forest, and many organizations as well as individuals. All these campaigns led to the accretion of more than 5000 books. The move has been instrumental in the improvement of the institution in numerous ways (Snedeker, 2010). Such movements could be instrumental in improving the status of charter schools. As evidenced by the volunteer above, the status of this institution was enhanced through the construction was libraries.
The poor condition of charter schools drives most students to prefer public ones. Greg Foster’s “Empirical Evidence on School Choice” illustrates how children prefer public schools over charter schools due to the infrastructure and facilities associated with these institutions. Evidently, the public schools tend to be well furnished as compared to charter institutes. The abundance of materials in the conventional schools helps the students to perform better.
Improving charter schools also needs the intervention of parents and community members. With the lack of parental choice the institutions do not have a natural, healthy environment suitable to empower the students, which is crucial to improving performance. Each organization strives to enhance quality in order to retain their customers. Health care practitioners provide proper care to entice patients, and lawyers provide adequate services to attract and retain clients. Professionals need to maintain high-quality services to ensure they do not lose clients or in the process attract more customers. In that regard, charter schools need adequate structures to support the learning process as well as attract more students. The current state is disadvantageous to the children, especially in nurturing a reading culture in them.
Evidently, monopolies tend to offer poor quality services since they are sure that nothing negative will affect their businesses. Whether they serve the clients appropriately or not, they do not suffer any losses. On the contrary, when the customers have other options, they can opt to change where they purchase their products or services. It is a similar case with charter schools. When students are cognizant of the fact that they can get proper education in other institutions like public schools, they can avoid charter schools. The quality of service offered in the traditional public schools attracts most children; thus, being detrimental to the charter schools.
According to Hannah Little, charter schools have significant improvements even though more can be done. As portrayed by The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), the campaign for charter schools are continuously on the rise. Hannah Little assessed the movement in Tennessee, and implied that there has been a consistent over the last 10 years. For instance, in 2014, the institutions enrolled over 22,500 students (Snedeker, 2010).
As per the data entailed in the American Library Association (ALA) fact sheet, 2011 to 2015 experienced an increase of 19000 librarians in the public schools within the United States. On the hand, the same period private institutions experienced a 1400 decrease in the number of librarians. It is a worrying trend that poses significant threats to the students going to these schools. Even though schools are many, they lack enough facilities such as librarians to boost knowledge acquisition. University and colleges are also facing similar challenges though on a different scale. The graph below illustrates these rates (Little, 2017).
As illustrated in the National Center for Education Statistics, in the academic year 2011/2012, out of 85,500 conventional public schools in the U.S., 79,000 had library centers. On the contrary, only 2200 out of 4500 charter schools had librarians. In that regard, more than half the charter schools lack librarians (Wales, 2002).
Overall, rebuttal claims deem libraries as expensive and unnecessary given that students do not appreciate the same. However, it is worth to note that such constraints cannot be compared to the benefits of proper education. Moreover, the learning process can only be effective if schools are furnished and equipped with the necessary tools. Institutions need libraries and librarians to guide students and nurture a reading and researching culture in them. All these cannot be inculcated without well-furnished libraries. Organizations need libraries to deliver effectual education and this can demonstrated in colleges and high schools. As portrayed by the various studies, performance is contingent to well-equipped structures. It is the reason many students prefer traditional public schools; instead, of charter schools. Recent developments have shown significant progress in charter schools but they still lack enough librarians and materials to support the students. As such, this study emphasizes the need to improve libraries with enough materials and permanent librarians to enhance education in charter schools.
Little, H. B. (2017, April 5). School Librarians Missing at Private and Charter Schools . Retrieved from http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/school-librarians-missing-private-charter-schools/
Snedeker, L. (2010, May 13). Former teacher helps build local charter school’s library book by book.
Traska, M. R. (2013). The VOID in Charter Schools. American Libraries, 44(6), 26. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2013/08/07/the-void-in-charter-schools/
Wales, B. (2002). Libraries in Charter Schools: A Content Analysis.
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