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View Diary: Charter schools don't perform as advertised, but try getting their advocates to admit that (152 comments)

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  •  Laura, the problem is state laws (2+ / 0-)
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    ipaman, angelajean

    or lack there of, not the Charter schools themselves.

    In this piece you have talked about how Charters are run in certain states and written in a way that implies it is like this across the whole country.

    One of the major criticisms of charter schools is that they exclude the most disadvantaged kids, leaving traditional public schools to educate kids who face more challenges and need more resources, and giving charters an advantage when schools are compared. Charter supporters often claim this isn't true, that their schools serve a similar proportion of special education students or homeless ones. But here's more on how charter schools under-enroll special education students.
    Those Charter supporters are correct, but again, it depends on the state. You will notice that your linked article talks about Charter schools in certain states. California isn't mentioned. We have very strict laws concerning Charter schools here in California. As strict as they are, we still need to tighten them up some more, but all Charters are required to take all students, including ones with disabilities.

    I teach at a Charter school here in California, we are actually our own district. We have two high schools, a K-8 elementary school along with a digital school that is currently 6 - 9, but going to add 10th next year. We are too small to justify hiring full time special ed teachers so to service our disabled students needs we contract with the local school district to provide those services. My daughter, who is in 6th grade, has Cerebral Palsy. All the services she needs are taken care of.

    The fact that charter schools do not admit—and are allowed not to admit—some of the students who most need education and attention and help to get through school and be ready for productive adulthoods should, to my mind, disqualify charter schools from the praise they get.
    I agree. But as I've said, it's a problem in some states, not all states.
    It's a good thing for charters they aren't being held to the same standards as traditional public schools, because yet another study, this one from Wisconsin's Forward Institute, finds they aren't measuring up:
    Again, here in California we are held to the exact same standard as all the other public schools.
    ...but it's an image that excludes disabled kids and kids who don't arrive in school speaking fluent English.
    I'm in the San Diego area, so we do have students with limited English proficiency. We also have a program for students from China, they come here to do a year of high school, usually their senior year. We have a whole support system for them, ESL classes etc...

    Like I said, we aren't perfect here in California, there is still room for improvement. For example we tried to pass a law not allowing for-profit Charters into the state, that make it. We don't have the for-profit Charter problems that other states have quite yet, there are only a few in the state. I'm hoping with our new super majority in both state houses we'll be able to revisit that legislation. There is no room for that type of educational model anywhere. Unforgettably those are often the types of Charters people are exposed to and they make the rest of us look real bad.

    But I really think that if our efforts were used to improve Charter law across the country we'd have more success than just trying to repeat talking points that Charters are evil no matter what, when that just isn't the case.  

    •  Even in California (0+ / 0-)

      the charter populations are and can be quite different. The fact that charter schools require an application and parent transportation already means that all the kids who apply have families who care about and think about education.

      And check out this story about Pacific Collegiate Charter school's fundraising, where they sent home letters requesting a $3000 donation per student:

      I think there can be a place for non-profit charters, but we need to understand what they are and what they aren't.

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

      by elfling on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:00:12 PM PST

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      •  . (1+ / 0-)
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        All schools in California require some type of application to enter the school. So I'm not sure what you mean by that. Our enrollment procedure to this school is just like the other schools in this area. We do have a lotto for our traditional class room programs because there is a much higher demand than we have seats. But if you have a high school aged kid that needs or wants to come to our Individualize Learning Program they can enroll today.

        The transportation argument always cracks me up, I see it here all the time. There is no transportation for schools in this part of Southern California, none. With the exception for the disabled, we contract with the district to provide that transpiration when we have students that need it.

        Funding is an issue, not sure if you are aware of it or not but a law was passed years ago to defend all Charter schools in California by a third. Our ADA (Average Daily Attendance) funding for each student is 2/3rds what the regular public schools get. So when times get real lean like they have been since 2008 we do ask for donations as well. Parents who have the financial resource help, those who can't help don't and that's fine.

        •  The enrollment for the neighborhood school (1+ / 0-)
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          is a much lower bar than the enrollment at a different school, even if there is room. The parent has to know it exists and has to make the effort.

          There are parents out there who have a shockingly low bar for what they can or will do for their kids.

          A big fundraiser for our Title 1 elementary school is $2000. For the whole school.

          This is the LAO report on charter vs. regular school funding for 2012. The difference is far smaller than 2/3 typically. Perhaps you are comparing to a Basic Aid district?

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

          by elfling on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:19:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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