They’re debating education over at The Buzz today.
What’s provoked the back and forth on the entertainment blog is the news that Oprah Winfrey gave the Ron Clark Academy a $1.5 million gift to help ease the private school’s financial woes.
Winfrey is a big fan of Ron Clark, the charismatic and inspiring teacher who opened a private middle school in southeast Atlanta in 2007. Along with a focus on arts and performance, the school features an international trip each year and a two-story slide in the building. Students pay a heavily discounted tuition on a sliding scale based on family income to attend the school. Donations pay the rest of the $14,000 annual tuition.
Clark received a card from Winfrey last year on Christmas Eve with a $365,000 check. The pair met nine years ago when Clark was named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year.
These comments reflect the debate:
Smoochies: It’s great that Oprah and whoever else wants to donate can do so to this school. I don’t have any issue with RCA. My question is why can’t the public school be in the same category as RCA and private schools? Why do you have to spend thousands of dollars for your children to get a quality education? Seems a little backwards to me. All schools should be functioning at the level of RCA. No one is talking about how we are 49th in school rankings.
Struggling to Understand: People can call it negative if they elect to do so, however, I have a problem with children singing and dancing all the time as if they can not learn in any other manner. Second, if we are looking at the whole picture, tell me why his methods are copyrighted and in these struggling times, there is a huge fee to attend any of his workshops? If we truly desire to see “disadvantaged” kids excel academically, why is Mr. Clark keeping all of his “techniques” and “methodologies” under lock and key? JUST ASKING!!!
SWHite: As a parent of RCA, let me attempt to dispel some of the unknowledge. They don’t “sing and dance” all of the time. Some of his teaching methods involves “music and movement” but isn’t that how WE ALL STARTED IN PRESCHOOL? Secondly, the parents of RCA pay tuition based on income. We also fundraise to assist in activities that we do for our children. Most importantly, if there was not such an emphasis being placed on test results and teachers were actually ENCOURAGED TO TEACH, there wouldn’t be a need for schools like RCA. At the end of the day, we all want our children to be challenged, encouraged to become global thinkers and leaders. If this is where we choose to send our kids, so be it!
Take a look at the comments and let’s discuss. I have never been to the school, but my colleagues who have visited are always impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the students and staff. I am not sure if the school could be replicated since so much of it seems to reflect Clark himself.