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View Diary: Visioning Many Educational Paths (15 comments)

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  •  How are they different? (1+ / 0-)
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    I would like to hear how you think charters can avoid the standardization and other pitfalls of traditional public schools even as they have to comply with their state's laws. If they can.

    •  I think that is a key issue with charters... (0+ / 0-)

      My understanding is that in many states chartering was launched as experiments in different ways to make conventional public education work better, rather than as a vehicle for truly alternative educational paths.  

      If states back off on their standardization and high-stakes testing, could charters be a real vehicle to bring all these different educational "flavors" to families who can't afford private schools?

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 07:27:33 AM PDT

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    •  I'll be writing a diary about Charter schools (0+ / 0-)

      When you say standardization are you referring to just testing or a broader definition?

      As far as testing is concerned we can't avoid that here in California. Our students must take both the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) tests and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). So in that regard, there is no difference between Charter schools and regular public schools.

      I've been asked by both Angelajean and leftyparent to write a diary about Charter schools and I plan to do that. I'm real busy right now getting my seniors graduated and have a very long to do list to take care of at home when I'm off for a few weeks (our program is year-round, but we do get a small summer break). I plan to start working on the diary and chip away at it as I can. I hope to cover a lot of the questions and misconceptions people have about Charter schools with the hopes of developing a hit list of things we can all agree on should be required of all Charter schools nationwide.

      For example, no one I know and work with (both liberal and conservative) believes for profit Charter schools are a good idea.

      Like I said, I'll be writing a diary and hope to cover a lot of issues that are often discussed around here. I'll leave you with one difference though that doesn't get mentioned. Regular public schools receive their funding from the state in chunks that are designated for a particular thing, for example a district will get X amount of money for textbooks etc... and they can only spend that money in that category. We receive our money as a block grant from the state. We can target our spending where our needs are and are not forced to spend it in areas we don't need it. This sounds like a small thing but it's actually a huge thing and is one of the biggest benefits to being a Charter over a regular public school.

      •  It does sound like a huge (1+ / 0-)
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        thing, offering a lot more flexibility.

        My question about standardization was, of course, about the tests. But also about everything down the line than can be driven by the tests, from a standardized curriculum to anything else you have in your classroom. If the test is required and funding and pay and passing and whatever else depend on the test, what else gives way? Or are you able to maintain a credible amount of flexibility, enough to make your charter different from the traditional public school, even with the same test requirements? What else is the same as a traditional public school and what is different and is it different enough to be meaningful?

      •  My reference to standardization... (0+ / 0-)

        Is to an increasingly standardized state required curriculum and the high-stakes testing (particularly in language arts and math) that schools are judged by.  

        My partner Sally and I were involved in a start-up of an alternative charter school in Los Angeles about 11 years ago, which eventually had to re-charter to avoid being shut down by the district for not having high enough test scores.  The school re-chartered in a less alternative way and is now very successful.  So I have seen the pressure of standardization push alternatives back to the mean.

        Here's a piece I wrote on it...

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:57:04 AM PDT

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