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View Diary: Stealing Michigan Taxpayers’ Money The Charter School Way: The Story of Dr. Steve Ingersoll (61 comments)

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  •  Seems to me parents have always had that option. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, P E Outlier, bobcat41702, jeannew

    It's called homeschooling. My parents pulled me out of public school back in the seventies for a couple years, because they felt there were significant problems. They didn't help divert public dollars to private pockets, making it harder to improve public schools in the process. They just taught me and my sisters at home. After the school had implemented a TAG program, they brought us back.

    No need to help destroy the entire public education system in this country and turn it over to profiteers, just because it makes you feel better to know that even though most charter schools don't actually offer a better option, you can pull your kids back out of the system that is systematically undermining public education.

    It might be easier, of course. Doing the wrong thing is often easier than doing the right thing, I hear.

    As far as:

    We can always find examples of corrupt charters. We can also find examples of corrupt public schools, defense contractors, medicaid/medicare doctors, and bankers.
    goes, as soon as you can provide stats that support your implication that corrupt charters are relatively rare, and therefore not really a problem in the larger picture, then you will have said something worth paying attention to.

    Corrupt charters are more and more the norm, and cause damage across an extremely broad spectrum of public education. Your unflagging support of a system that has in the past decade been devoted more and more completely to the privatization of public education, all under the guise of "reform", is quite telling.

    •  Not all parents can homeschool. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, bobcat41702, GRLionsFan

      In order to homeschool, a family must:

      1) Have at least one highly-educated parent.
      2) Be wealthy enough to survive without that parent's income.

      I am not talking about school choice for the Wealthy. America already has school choice for the Wealthy. I am asking that working-class people get an opportunity to have some choice also!

      Now if you want to talk about "corruption" consider the NYC Public Schools. They give thousands of high-school diplomas to kids who aren't prepared. The system lies to the taxpayers and lies to the kids.

      This is not an isolated instance, this is systemic corruption built into the largest school district in America.

      Does this prove that all public schools are corrupt? No. It just proves that anybody can cherrypick an anecdote. You can do it. The Diarist can do it. I can do it, too.

      There may be reasons to not want Charters, but the "corruption" reason is pretty weak. Until Charters get established, there will be mismanagement, corruption, and outright stupidity. The cops will catch the thieves and parents will turn away from the bad and stupid managers.

      But the fundamental driver of Charter schools -- the lack of a politically feasible alternative for poor families -- will remain.

      •  And even so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        Without support (typically, of a group of homeschoolers), some of math, science, language or phys ed will suffer.

        The other advantage Charters have, of course, is that the students there (almost) all have parents who are concerned about education, many of whom will actively support the school--otherwise, they wouldn't have applied in the first place.

      •  You're a rentier, in NY, ex-Wall Street, and you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        P E Outlier

        are implying my family is wealthy?

        That's rich.

        Not to mention, it neatly avoids any attempt at refutation.

        You are still promoting a system that largely aims to privatize education, and you have been for what, about ten years now?

        Why not address that issue, instead of deflecting?

        •  I never said... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobcat41702, GRLionsFan

          ...you were wealthy. I don't know, or pretend to know, anything about you.

          I just said that most people can't homeschool, and are therefore denied a choice.

          You don't want to talk about how the current system only gives choices to Rich Families. You are like a Republican who wants to repeal Obamacare. When asked what you will do instead, you duck and dodge.

          If you don't want Charters, what is your politically feasible plan to help inner-city kids? You want to "repeal"? Tell us what will "replace".

          As for the topic of this Diary, yes, I will admit that there are corrupt Charters. As Charters become established, the corruption (and stupid mismanagement) will get worse before it gets better.  And eventually, we will catch the thieves and scammers and jail them. News reports indicate we are already doing so.

          But even so, the Charter movement is better than the horrible, destructive, child-destroying status quo.

          Unless you live in a leafy suburb. If you live in a leafy suburb, the status quo is just peachy...

          •  Charters are societaly destructive. (4+ / 0-)

            When you allow a system to cherry-pick students, then there is less and less value placed on those who remain committed to public education.  There is absolutely no study which demonstrates that a charter can educate the entire spectrum of the population from which they draw students better than public schools can.  Especially when the only predictor of academic success is the socioeconomic status of the parents.

            All you are arguing is the neoliberal policy of public institution abandonment in order to privatize profit and socialize risk - and that is far more destructive than your straw-man "status quo".

            •  And that's the problem (4+ / 0-)

              Charter schools pick the kids they want in their school. They will take as many as they can enroll at first, and then when the Fourth Friday Count is over they weed out the ones they don't want. Those kids go back to the underfunded public school that can barely afford special ed services or at-risk student services because that new charter school academy got the money that would have gone to the public school.

              And then if you're lucky enough to go to one of Dr. Ingersoll's schools, you get a full eye exam and sold "special" glasses that you can only buy from him. The only special ed services he offers is his "Integrated Vision Therapy" because kids with ADHD and other behavior problems are misdiagnosed with vision problems.  

            •  Not to mention using the specious argument of the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobcat41702, apimomfan2

              desirability of "school choice".

              All you are arguing is the neoliberal policy of public institution abandonment in order to privatize profit and socialize risk - and that is far more destructive than your straw-man "status quo".
              Yeah, MM likes to do that kind of thing.

              Here are a few arguments against the desirability of school choice, not that it will bring any kind of thoughtful response.

              Just for a bonus, here's a link to a WaPo article describing how Bill Gates bought CCSS for the nation. "For the children", no doubt. An awful lot of pretty awful stuff has been done "for the children".

              I'm sure the notion of private enterprise owning the multi-billion dollar education market never crossed Bill's mind.

              •  I read the... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GRLionsFan

                ..."Curmudgucation" arguments. He lists reasons why Conservatives should hate school choice. This means nothing to me, because I'm not a conservative.

                He also says that competition won't make schools better. He bases this on the notion that:

                "Education has two particular problems-- there's not much product differentiation, and a big chunk of your market is people who don't really want your product."
                He displays a deep misunderstanding of Education. Education is one of the most differentiated products in existence. Every single teacher does their job differently. Every student is different. Every community is different.

                Saying that the education "market" consists of, "...people who don't really want your product." is even dumber. If families don't want education, why do they pay such high prices for suburban houses? Why do they pay massive private school tuition? Why do they enter lotteries and stand in line for hours to get into Charters?

                Starting with Bad Premises gets the Curmudgeon to Bad Conclusions. I know for a fact that competition improves schools because I have seen it happen in my own neighborhood.

                Here in NYC, there are a set of special classes that were only offered in the rich neighborhoods. I live in a poor neighborhood. The city said they "didn't have funding" to offer special classes in our local school. We are a poor neighborhood, so we get jack s--t from The System.

                Then, a charter opened up and parents started leaving the local school for the charter. Suddenly (like MAGIC) the funding appeared and our local school began offering a full program of special classes. It was an Education Miracle!

                Sometimes it takes competition to light a hot fire under complacent educational asses, even the curmudgeonly ones. I am very satisfied with my child's public school...now that the threat of a Charter has whipped them into shape!

            •  Here in NYC... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobcat41702, GRLionsFan

              ...charters can't cherry-pick students. They are required to select from those who win a lottery.

              Even so, cherry-picking happens in Public Schools all the time. Wealthy suburban schools cherry-pick educated and motivated parents...but only from among the rich.

              In those districts where Charters are allowed to cherry-pick they simply give poor motivated families the same rights that rich motivated families have always had.

              It is almost as if the anti-reformers need a certain percentage of motivated families in the system...so they capture and trap the poor ones. Poor families can't fight back.

              Oh, as for this:

              "There is absolutely no study which demonstrates that a charter can educate the entire spectrum of the population from which they draw students better than public schools can."
              Not true. The much-referenced CREDO Study analyzed NYC charter schools:
              "...on average, charter students in New York City gain an additional one month of learning in reading over their TPS counterparts per year of schooling. In math, the advantage for charter students is about five months of additional learning in one school year. Charter students in Harlem gain an additional seven months in math, but less than a full additional month in reading."
              Charter schools are being implemented in many different ways all over America. Some methods are working (such as NYC), others are terrible. We need to focus on replicating the programs that are successful instead of trying to kill all innovation and painting all charters with the same stereotypes.
              •  CREDO? Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

                So much for CREDO.

                A few snippets:

                CREDO received its first set of data from Louisiana January of 2012. I was responsible for helping pull all their data together, but I left the Louisiana Department of Education shortly after this data was sent to them. When I left, I took a lot of institutional knowledge with me – specifically much knowledge about flaws in this data, what this data contains, and what it doesn’t, and some of the limitations of using this data to evaluate different aspects of our student populations. I contacted the head of the research team, Devora Davis, not long after leaving DOE to offer my help and insight, but was rebuffed at the time.
                CREDO came out with a report that said charter schools do better than traditional schools, but the schools they compared to are RSD schools, state run schools, and taken collectively the worst district in Louisiana filled with all the students charter schools rejected, and even so, many of the charters did no better than the worst schools in the state, and many did even worse than the average of the worst district.
                Another laughable claim that CREDO makes relates to SPED achievement.
                Special education students in New Orleans charter schools progress significantly more than their counterparts in New Orleans TPS in both reading and math. This amounts to 65 additional days of learning in reading and 43 more days in math for special education students in New Orleans charter schools. These results are slightly higher than were found statewide.
                I would say that this study finding borders on the criminal and strongly caution parents not to pay attention to this finding. Charter schools do not take on the more significantly impaired students. Even though the CREDO folks has access to the severity of disabilities, the CREDO study relied on the most basic of Special Education indicator for their study. SPED = Y/N. This indicator also included gifted “Special Education” students in many years. Most of the disabled students charter schools do accept are the mild/moderate classification with speech and hearing impairments, not the severe profound students that may even be hospital bed bound that traditional schools must serve.
                While the CREDO report referenced was looking at Louisiana, it still speaks strongly to their credibility. Still want to use them for a source?
                Even so, cherry-picking happens in Public Schools all the time. Wealthy suburban schools cherry-pick educated and motivated parents...but only from among the rich.
                So, your argument is that charter schools are only doing what wealthy suburban schools are doing, so it must be OK?

                Or are you trying to claim that ALL public schools cherry-pick their students, but you are only offering the wealthy suburban schools as evidence? Either way, a link for support would be nice, although seldom seen.

                •  How can you not trust CREDO? (0+ / 0-)

                  In 2009 when CREDO said that only 17% of Charters did better than Public Schools, you (and Diane Ravitch) were lovin' you some CREDO.

                  Here is a link to your post from 2010 touting the CREDO study!

                  When a Kossack questioned the study, you got all bad-ass with him:

                  "Until you can show that your credentials are better than (or at least the equal of) Stanford's, I'll go with a Stanford study."
                  Now the same organization, using the same methodology shows that Charters have good results in NYC. Do you and Ms. Ravitch accept the data? No, you don't. You question the credibility of the source.

                  (I will admit that CREDO's methodology is kind of strange. But the point is that there is huge variation between Charter systems depending on how the state governments implement them. HUGE dufferences!)

                  There are good charters and bad charters.
                  There are good ways to implement them and bad ways.

                  Let's try to duplicate the good ways!

                  •  You've answered your own question, there. (0+ / 0-)
                    "Until you can show that your credentials are better than (or at least the equal of) Stanford's, I'll go with a Stanford study."
                    Now there is evidence that CREDO's methodology sucks. I go with current evidence, unlike you.

                    You go with anything that furthers privatizing education.

                    But in the vein of fairness, I do agree with this:

                    There are good charters and bad charters.
                    There are good ways to implement them and bad ways.

                    Let's try to duplicate the good ways!

                    Let's start by removing the profit motive from charters. Completely and entirely. Remove public funding, period. Since they claim to be private when it suits their purposes, make them private in fact. No taxpayer funding of any kind for any charter.

                    That might solve all the issues right there, but I doubt you'll support such an idea.

            •  By the way... (0+ / 0-)

              ...the status quo cannot be a "straw man".

              The status quo is, by definition, what actually exists in reality, right now. It's real. It's what my child gets in NYC every day when the school day starts.

              If you have a (politically feasible) better idea than Charters, let's hear it. But don't start with that rainbow-and-unicorn crap about "ending all child poverty" or doubling/tripling education funding.

              Don't tell me we can't improve education unless all kids have two-parent households or unless we get a 12-to-1 student/teacher ratio. That pie-in-the-sky stuff isn't going to happen. This is a reality-based community.

              But Charters can pass most state legislatures right now and start helping some kids in some neighborhoods right now. Plus, once more parents start feeling better about the school their child is in, we can get some political support for more tax dollars. I know we both would like to see that!

              •  The problem is, implementing more charter schools (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                P E Outlier

                is simply causing more damage to public education.

                Why do you want that so badly?

                And why have you advocated for it so strongly and for so long, despite the clear and mounting evidence of the damage that is being done?

                •  If you have a (politically feasible)... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...better idea than Charters, let's hear it.

                  I'm all ears.

                  •  Magnet Schools, which we've come to forget about (0+ / 0-)

                    as we've been convinced to turn to charters instead, even though some of the top ranking public middle and high schools are magnate schools.

                    •  Magnet schools are great... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...if you can get your school district to put one in your neighborhood. And if your kid can pass the standardized test to get in.

                      Remember, Magnet school also "cherrypick". Here in NYC, we have a set of elite public schools that only accept kids with high test scores. Many of these schools are considered to be not just the best public schools in America but the best schools anywhere in America.

                      Nobody complains about cherrypicking.

                      But if a Charter has open admissions, and accepts kids based on freaking lottery, there are shrill "cherrypicking!" accusations.

                      This double standard leads many parents to believe that anti-Charter advocates are not really interested in improving education for kids. They are interested in keeping funding under the control of the Education Bureaucracy for the benefit of certain adults.

                      But, yeah...magnets are OK. Open one up in my neighborhood, please. But while you are filling out the paperwork and fighting the bureaucrats, is it OK if my kid attends a charter in the meantime? Just until you get your Magnet approved by the City Council, State Legislature, Teacher's Union, Dept. of Ed., Board of Regents, and the Mayor?

                      Because otherwise, my grade-school kid will be in college waiting for the proposed Magnet to open...

                      •  The cherrypicking comes into play mostly the day (0+ / 0-)

                        after Count Day, when any student who might lower test scores for the school are "counseled out".

                        All you have to do is look at the graduation rates for incoming students, and see which ones leave and which ones stay - and where the ones that leave go.

                        I'll give you a hint: poor, minority, and/or developmentally disabled students leave charters quickly and go back to public schools, leaving behind the students most likely to score well on standardized tests.

                        Is it only the parents of these students that don't love charters?

                        Why, no. It's cherry picking.

                        Public schools, on the other hand, have no such release mechanism. They educate everybody.

                  •  It's called public education. n/t (0+ / 0-)
              •  I contend that eliminating charters is feasible. (0+ / 0-)

                Your argument reminds me of creationists who define what should be observed in order to make a point that evolutionary histories do not satisfy their expectations.

                Eliminate public funding for these schools.  If they want to offer themselves as an alternative to public education they can do so as private academies.  The parents can then pay directly into a for-profit system.  It can be sold to taxpayers as eliminating waste.

                You exaggerate the status quo as being dystopian in order to argue for the abandonment of public institutions.

                •  How does this help? (0+ / 0-)

                  If you close the charters, all the families must go back to the schools that they hated!

                    1) This is bad politics because all those families will hate us.

                    2) This is bad policy because all those kids will now be getting a worse education.

                  I don't see any gain from this.

                  •  They are still free to remain in charter schools. (0+ / 0-)

                    Except they will have to pay the costs, not taxpayers.  It is good policy.

                    And, making a blanket statement about public education being worse than charters is unsupportable.  It signals your bias.

                    •  But... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...these are usually poor families. They can't afford to pay for the Charters themselves. That's like saying we don't need Obamacare because all Americans are "free" to pay $100,000 for a knee replacement.

                      Are the public schools worse? Well, obviously the families think so. That's why they put their kids in the charter.

                      Maybe you think you know more about the particular needs of those particular kids than their families? If you are an education professional, you may even be correct. But how can we win elections by basically saying that parents are too uninformed to make choices and the Educational Establishment must make choices for them?

                      Charters are a political and a policy winner. Stop standing in the schoolhouse door trying to stop inner-city kids from getting better schools! Do you think we don't see what you are doing?

                      Instead of thinking up ways to say, "No, No, No" why not come up with some ways to improve Charter proposals so that they aren't as corrupt or dangerous to unions? This is something that is going to happen, I would rather that Progressives be driving the truck than getting run over by the truck.

                      •  I'm not sure your view of the popularity of (0+ / 0-)

                        charters stands up to scrutiny.

                        There is an article (Jersey Jazzman? Some numbers wonk; I'll look it up, maybe, if you change your habits and actually respond on point) that looks at the numbers, and charters have a strong tendency to inflate their numbers.

                        One popular ploy is to count every student on every waiting list as a unique individual, even though parents generally apply to more than one charter. Double-counting, triple-counting, or even more, right there. This serves the dual purpose of making themselves look more in demand than they really are for political purposes as well as providing a nice marketing touch to draw in more parents.

                        Of course, once they get their per pupil funding, they can get rid of any "problem" students and focus on attracting more suckers -- er, parents.

                        Before you blather on about NYC charters, remember: this is a national movement. People all over the country want a slice of this pie, and they don't care how many kids get hurt in the process.

                      •  I would rather improve public schools. (0+ / 0-)

                        Why don't you try it sometime.

          •  Implied, not stated. (0+ / 0-)
            In order to homeschool, a family must:

            1) Have at least one highly-educated parent.
            2) Be wealthy enough to survive without that parent's income.

            Happens to not necessarily be the case. However, it is just a diversion. The real topic, which you so desperately do not want to address, is that the charter school industry is being used to privatize education, to the detriment of the American public.

            And you are advocating for it, and have been for years.

            Why not stay on topic?

            •  Privatization? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobcat41702, GRLionsFan

              I don't think that Charters necessarily mean Privatization.

              I know that here in NYC, most Charters are not-for-profit. Some are even run by the unions!

              But even if a Charter is private, who cares? If the school is providing good outcomes for kids who used to have bad outcomes, why are you complaining?

              Besides, I don't see a politically feasible alternative. The right-wing is going to beat us to death with the Charter Stick unless we start to control the conversation. We need to come up with a Progressive plan that makes things better. One that is politically feasible and that makes parents as happy as Charters do.

              Otherwise we will start to lose voters.

              •  Who cares? Anyone who sees education as a public (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                katiec, P E Outlier

                good, not as a special situation for only their child.

                Privatizing education is not going to provide better education; it will provide money to the owners. That's what privatizing does. Some things are better run by governments -- by the people, for the people. Remember that old ideal?

                Corporations are for profit. Children are not merchandise, although the privateers are treating them as such.

                A Progressive Plan, as you are calling for, does not include farming out our children for profit to a few, and right now, the charter momentum is all in the direction of profit, with the necessary discarding of unprofitable students. You know, the ones that make the charter schools look bad. Want to bet those parents are in love with charter schools?

                Read a few national stories; life does not begin and end in NYC.

              •  Not for profit doesn't stop aggrandized salaries. (0+ / 0-)

                As with any non-profit entity monies that would otherwise be used productively can be siphoned off into exaggerated administration salaries.  Being non-profit in such instances is no better than being for-profit.

                •  No form of organization... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...stops outrageous salaries.

                  A charter might overpay one administrator by $200,000.

                  A public school might overpay 20 teachers by $10,000.

                  On the "flip side":

                  If a charter CEO can hustle up $2,000,000 in donations, free rent, cheaper textbooks, and cost savings, maybe he's worth $200k.

                  Or, if those 20 teachers are able to show solid, consistent, measurable results in Reading, Math, and Science then they are worth every penny of that extra $10k.

                  Let's try both and let families decide where their kid should go.

                  •  Measurable? (0+ / 0-)

                    And, how do you intend to do that without bias.  It is the old conservative saw about demanding equality of results without promoting equality of opportunity.

                    Many schools in socioeconomically poor districts make greater progress in a school year than those from wealthier districts where the students enter the grade educationally advantaged.  Perhaps we should demand that those lazy teachers maintain the same rate of change that the poorer districts are able to accomplish.  I've seen this among districts around Chicago.

                    I am all for families deciding where to educate their children.  If they do not want to take advantage of a public education then they are free to send their children to a private academy and pay full cost.

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