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View Diary: Eric Cantor's hot new rebranded education agenda: Vouchers, charters and for-profit colleges (57 comments)

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  •  Every time a Republican pushes vouchers... (7+ / 0-)

    ...Democrats should propose that the taxes be doubled to pay for it "temporarily", particularly by amendments.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 12:56:11 PM PST

    •  I have always stated that I will accept vouchers (6+ / 0-)

      the day that all schools must accept and pay for all students - including special needs - out of the vouchers without additional support. And, if the costs go up, the charter school eats those costs - just like public schools.

      In Colorado, a charter school gets the "per pupil" payment but passes additional costs back to the "parent" public school.

      Vouchers are also a way to continue to defund special needs students.

      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it - Samuel Clemens

      by tjlord on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:13:10 PM PST

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      •  I will accept vouchers ONLY (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bwren, lippythelion69, a2nite, Shippo1776

        the day those of us with no children also get a similar rebate on our taxes. If they're going to hand families education welfare checks out of the money I pay for public schools, then I need to get back a check for the same amount each year. I'm sick of sending freeloaders to schools run by religions I don't subscribe to.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:19:19 PM PST

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      •  I'd add that each school taking tax money must (6+ / 0-)

        have a governing board that is elected by the parents, subject to annual election, and prorate the cost of the school district's special education costs to these schools, regardless of how many they choose to accept.  School lunch and breakfast and aftercare programs should also be included as needed. Costs for any specified uniforms, books, etc. shall not be passed directly to parents.  Costs for religious order members teaching in these schools shall be covered by the church, not the tax paying public, and such classes are to be optional to students. Facilities should meet state and federal guidelines, requirements, etc. for 'accessibility' to the disabled.

        Charter schools should be held to the same or higher standards than the public schools as far as testing, evaluation, and include annual background checks on all employees.  The district administration should review any faculty or facility deficiency and security related concerns as soon as possible, with the charter schools accomodating as directed and with transparency and accountability to the public. The same for concerns about any specific teacher or staff serving at the school. The district should be testing, reviewing, doing background checks and evaluating every teacher utilized in private and charter schools to educate children for whom tax dollars are provided.

        Also, I'd argue that they cannot suspend a student without providing a private tutorial program for this student--such a suspended student is not to be forced back onto the public district's schools. If they arrange a transfer the student whom they'd suspend to another charter school, this also should be monitored by the district. Any special needs and issues ought to be a part of the transfer review, and the district administration should be included in supervising the success of this transfer and intake and services provided.

        Individual Education Programs (Special Education IEPs) which any charter school student should have really ought to be supervised by the district's Special Education department, with charter schools paying for this administrative cost. The cost of funding specialty area teachers, and speech therapists, school psychologists, Occupational and Physical Therapy, etc. all needs to be prorated as well.  Children transferred with IEPs to a charter school ought to have at least quarterly reviews by district staff to ensure IEPs are followed and not discontinued without sufficient reasons.

        Gifted & Talented kids deserve their own IEPs, as specified by Federal law, with an appropriately advanced curriculum taught by teachers certified and trained for these programs.  These kids are not to be made use of as in-class 'teachers' for other students in regular classes.  It is not unusual for charter schools to just include these kids in the regular curriculum, which either bores them or which they ace without effort. It also is common for charter schools to 'cherry pick', accepting the C+ to B+/A- kids, and not take any kid with academic performance outside of somewhat above average. It's far cheaper to educate kids able to move at the same pace. Makes it easier to look good on testing as well.

        All texts and curriculum materials used in a charter school should meet the approval of the public school Curriculum department and state Department of Education, and teachers be certified (even if a 'religious' school). Charter schools must provide equivalent or better computer, physical education facilities and science labs.  Progress of every class through the curriculum should be monitored by the school district administration.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:54:05 PM PST

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        •  Nice list (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          antirove, pacplate

          Although maybe every 4 years is good enough for board election, and probably some means to allow the community to participate in general is wise, just as a typical public school would have.

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

          by elfling on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 02:15:13 PM PST

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          •  I'm thinking if terms go longer than say 2 years (0+ / 0-)

            there is a risk of loss of interest on the part of a parent whose kids no longer attend the school.  So I think it's important that it is real stakeholders, with current live interests, driving that localized school board.  

            That said, I do appreciate your comment and the reasonableness of it.  The annual term is probably a bit too short. There could also be a 'term limit' wherein if one no longer has a child attending, one can and ought to step down from that board.  My concern is avoiding a situation where board members may neglect to do their best on behalf of all the parents and kids. That can be met more than one way.

            When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

            by antirove on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 03:29:51 PM PST

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            •  There is a steep learning curve (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pacplate, antirove

              (I am a school board trustee.)

              My experience is that it wasn't until I had two years under my belt that I had a good grasp of the arcane and the various issues in play in my very small school district. (The whole district is probably about the size of an urban charter school.) Learning to decipher budgets, to figure out what you don't know that needs to be poked at, to have the confidence and standing with the school staff to be able to ask really thoughtful and constructive questions, it takes time.

              I would also say that having a child in the school isn't the end-all be-all. I am lucky to serve with a group of trustees that really cares about all kids and their education. I have served with trustees who are former employees, who have kids currently in school, whose kids have graduated, and with trustees who never had any connection to our particular schools before joining the board. What matters is that they listen; that they care about all kids; that they are thoughtful about what they say and how they comport themselves.

              In fact, having a child in the school creates the occasional complication. There's nothing quite so delicate as having to have a discussion with a teacher who knows me only as a board member, especially if I have a concern like 'too much homework' or the like.

              Public schools belong to the community, not just to the parents. The parents are transient ... unless they have a whole passel of kids stepping through. :-)

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

              by elfling on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 04:14:09 PM PST

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              •  In Colorado, we term limit school boards (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Every eight years you have to relearn. My wife's board had 100% turn over one election.

                Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it - Samuel Clemens

                by tjlord on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:40:09 AM PST

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                •  I don't see the point of term limits (0+ / 0-)

                  People naturally come and go as their kids get older and their interest moves on. In our case, the board position is volunteer... Occasionally I get a piece of cake or something.

                  Our board has staggered elections so you wouldn't expect to have more than 3 new board members.

                  As a practical matter, just finding 5 good people who are interested in the job is a challenge - we usually go out recruiting when there's an opening. I ran unopposed for my seat.

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

                  by elfling on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:49:30 AM PST

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      •  What do you mean by "additional costs?" (0+ / 0-)
        •  If the charter school hires a dedicated teaching (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          assistant, the "parent school" pays for that person - even if they are not a member of that district's union.

          Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it - Samuel Clemens

          by tjlord on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:41:09 AM PST

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        •  The home district is usually responsible (0+ / 0-)

          for any special costs of a special needs student. This could be as small as special transportation to get the student to a more appropriate school, or it could be as high as 5 figure private school tuition at a special needs school. It can also be about paying for a dedicated aide.

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

          by elfling on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:59:01 AM PST

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          •  So let me get this straight (0+ / 0-)

            When a special needs student moves schools, they still get an aide.  That is bad?

            I fail to see how there are additional costs here. If they needed the aide at the former school, the aide moves with the student.

            There's nothing additional. And before you say the charter school decided on its own to get an additional aide, I would caution against speculating or second guessing professionals who make those decisions (the charter school doesn't).

            •  But the charter school doesn't pay for it (0+ / 0-)

              The student's home public school is obligated to pay those costs, out of their per-student budget

              So public schools have to stretch their budgets across the potentially dramatic extra costs of special needs children, but a charter school does not.

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

              by elfling on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:07:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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