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View Diary: Why I Support Chicago Teachers and Parents: $15 Billion Wasted on NYC Teacher Evaluation System (30 comments)

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  •  A charter school is not a private school. (9+ / 0-)

    It is a school run with public money over which the public has little to no control, and to which their children probably cannot go.

    You're damned right I'm ideological about that.  My ideology is egalitarian, anti-corporatist, and anti-bullshit.

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:38:35 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Best Schools are public, not Charter (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgnyc, ManhattanMan, rexxnyc

      I'm a product of an inner city public school, and did well at Stanford (BA) and Harvard (MBA).

      That said, as I argue in another comment, something's gotta give.

      People are paying FAR more in property taxes than they did five years ago, their property is worth FAR less, and the median income is stagnant/declining.

      I would urge teachers to propose some sort of national wealth tax, targeting the really affluent.  And by really affluent I don't mean a junior investment banker.

      I mean Warren Buffet or Larry Ellison annually contributing 8% of their net worth to the federal government.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:02:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Few parents believe the people in the community (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, JanL, DFWmom

      have control over the typical big city public school.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:40:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I personally believe that some districts are too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DFWmom

        large. But turning over a school to a private entity with an unelected board does not improve that control. Instead, it would make more sense to work to break districts apart, if local control is what you want.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:18:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have more control... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DFWmom

          ...over a charter school than I do over an NYC Public School.

          I have the power to take my kid out of the Charter school, which denies them funding. This gives me power.

          But to the NYC Public Schools know that I am powerless. So they treat me like a chump.

          •  Response1- Charter schools are only 5% of the kids (0+ / 0-)

            So Bloomberg has plowed a lot of real estate and p.r. into addressing only 5% of the kids.  Assume 20% are doing fine - that leaves 75% hanging on in increasingly overcrowded classrooms.  

            The administration cherrypicks buildings. They go into schools and catch them on micro-demographic neighborhood enrollment downdrafts and claim the buildings are 'under-utilized' and then turn them over to Charter schools.  They force the neighborhood kids into a corner in their own schools and when the neighborhood school age population creeps back up those excluded kids are even more crowded.

            •  Charter schools... (0+ / 0-)

              ...are only 5% of the kids.

              If we opened more charters, this number would be larger.

              Charters have better facilities because that is where they focus their resources.

              If given a choice between facilities and padding the payroll, the Typical Public School will always use spare budget to pad the payroll. More people = more power.

              But Charter Schools (like the Honey Badger) don't care. If the kids need new computers, they buy new computers -- even if that means paying employees less.

              •  Charter schools aren't the issue. Testing is. (0+ / 0-)

                Charter schools are a distraction from the record over the last 10 years. Bloomberg adroitly exploits anecdotes and ideological fervor for them.

                But for the last decade - what we are really looking at here - 95%+ of the kids in NYC haven't been in charter schools.  The record of his 'reforms' is no progress yet he's wasted Billions in teachers' salaries and hours of teachers and kids on test prep.  And he has no progress to show.

          •  Response 2- Democracy could work, even in NYC (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan, elfling

            CIVICS LESSON
            After, the USA is supposed to be a democracy.

            Now, in NYC, sometimes it seems the best you can do is call "311" and get ignored.

            In NYC there are two levels of school-boards: A citywide school-board and 32 district school-boards.  But they have been neutered.  The people have been neutered.

            Using Mayor Control, Bloomberg has re-branded them.  ("Panel for Educational Policy", citywide and "Community Education Council" in each district.

            I think the rebranding was meant to exclude parents.  Many parents don't even realize these are the schoolboards!!

            But you can go to the meetings and talk to people and you can accomplish some things.

            2 LEVELS OF SCHOOLBOARD
            Of course the majority of the Citywide Schoolboard ("PEP") are at-wll appointees of the Mayor, so not too much can be done at that rubber-stamp level.  This is a direct consequence of giving the Mayor control.  The hearings are perfunctory and when hundreds of parents band together to protest school closings (based on the flawed teacher program) the speakers get two minutes (if they sign up between say 5:45 PM and 6:15PM at a meeting held in Staten Island or the far reaches of Jamaica) and then at the end of 5 hours the vote is something like 10-2 to ignore the people.

            The district school boards are more democratic.  Naturally Bloomberg has taken most power away from them.  Re-zoning (necessary because of new construction, changing demographics, etc.) is still done with at least the consent of the district school board.

            But - for instance - charter placements are done after hearings at the district level which are often just ignored by the board of education.

            And district supervisors have had almost all of their power taken away. It used to be that you would go to the district meeting with you complaint or suggestion and the supervisor and the district board would be there and could actually do something.

            One complaint about the old system was that turnout was low - but school board elections were usually held on different days than primary or general elections.

            CITY COUNCIL WEAK
            The city council also has oversight - but the Mayor controls the budget and - for at least the last 6 years - the Mayor controls the Speaker of the City Council.

            The Education Committee is barely staffed.

            REFORM

            I would scrap mayoral control (give the mayor 1/4 of the board) and give local districts the final say over all buildings in their jurisdiction.  And give district supervisors responsibility, reporting to both district board and the Chancellor.  And have elections the same days as the party primary and general elections.

            CORRUPTION MUCH WORSE NOW
            Corruption at the District Level was often cited as one reason to impose Mayoral Control.  The proverbial case was that of $200,000/year no show janitors.

            So now we have centrally imposed corruption - $80 MILLION systems that don't work; $500 Million for a double billing contractor City Time scandal- who didn't go to jail.

            More democracy, more auditing is the antidote to corruption - not the Mubarak-esque or Putin-esque system we have now.

            •  I don't have time for Democracy. (0+ / 0-)

              Having elected school boards just means that the most politically-organized faction (teachers unions) will always control the board.

              I like Charters because I don't have to attend a bunch of meetings. I just look at the available schools and pick the one that is best for me.

              The schools have a powerful incentive to appeal to me because they lose funding if they don't.

              I control the budget for my child. I put the money where it should go. When you enroll in an NYC public school, they give you a phone number that goes to an answering machine.

              When we enrolled in a Charter school, I got the Principal's personal cell phone number.

              •  You could have the ability to choose your school (0+ / 0-)

                without the Charter school and privatization. In California, money follows the child whether it's charter or local public, and you also have the option to move to another school if there's room.

                In NYC, your density is such that school choice and multiple options is much more viable than in some other areas, where there are not enough kids to create substantial, viable choice for all but the most committed parents.

                We need to keep the various differences in mind when we discuss reform. Having a vineyard works great for our high school but you might not find it so attractive as a reform point in NYC.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:28:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Choice" is a distraction. Resources are the issue (0+ / 0-)

                  Look at that sad chart I pasted in there.  Eighty percent of the kids can't do math.  Reading is almost as bad and that's what's been beefed up under NCLB.

                  Bloomberg got Billions to lower class size from the State under the campaign for Fiscal Equity Law suit, but he doesn't ever explain what's happened to that cash.  Class sizes have risen across the city (though Charters can keep them down, neighborhood schools can't).

                  And while there have always been cutting edge parents trying to create a new school for their kids - back in the eighties one school near me became a "Charette".  (Look that up here the whole "choice" movement tookoff when embraced by Heritage Foundation,etc.  And its been used to hawk charter schools around the country.

                  It seems that it was a clever and distracting response to demands in many states for more funds for kids in poorer district so they could get lower class sizes.

                  Rather than pay more taxes into poor counties and neighborhoods, the right wing invented a distraction to bash government employee unions.

                  Now I am sure no union is perfect (except my Mom's)  - but again I think democracy is the answer, not corporatism, and part of democracy ought to be fixing infrastructure that isn't working and not just privatizing it and saying the market will fix it.

                  Charters in NYC have - at best - a mixed record.  So that means many parents with kids in them will be happy. And some won't be happy. But that proves nothing.  When surveyed most parents are satisfied with their schools (public, private, charter, parochial), even if 'objective' measures might tell them they shouldn't be.

                  Charters are just a distraction.

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