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View Diary: Charter Schools and the CREDO Report (218 comments)

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  •  Why can't public schools do (5+ / 0-)

    all that charter schools do and more? In fact,I believe they can. If the goal as a society is to get the best education for the largest number of students,then it seems to me that the approach has to be to fund and fix our public schools,not siphon funding to private for-profit entities. (understood that not all Charters are for profit) Public schools can be creative,accepting of parental involvement,multi-tracked and with different styles of instruction.Charter schools don't hold a monopoly on change.

    Are you familiar with the Say Yes to Education Program? Here are a couple of links. This is the approach our rust belt town is taking. The incentive of a free college education for completing HS is huge but it is only a part of what the community is trying to accomplish.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 08:49:13 AM PDT

    •  I think they can too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, angelajean, Linda Wood

      I commented in a previous diary about our district which is very responsive to parents, provides a lot of choices for parents and people are very happy with our district as a whole. Very low private school uptake. To me this is the ideal, allowing various options but keeping education within the traditional structure, having strong unions and not privately run.

      However, I know there are people who live in areas where district bureaucracies are not nearly as responsive. Particularly if you live in a very large district I imagine it could be hard to make your voice heard or effect any real change. That is a tougher situation.

    •  Because charters offer a range of approaches... (2+ / 0-)
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      angelajean, Kamakhya

      to learning.  All traditional schools are essentially the same, particularly in their governance and methodology.  

      Traditional public schools have a hierarchical governance model where all important decisions are made at the state level, which then gives marching orders to the districts, which then give marching orders to the principles, who then give marching orders to the teachers, who then give marching orders to the students.  I'm kind of exaggerating a little to make the point of how a hierarchy works.

      Charters at least can bring in teachers and community members in a governing board and therefor get real community input.  Some innovative charters are actually run by the teachers without a principal.

      Traditional public schools more and more require their teachers to follow state-dictated or district-dictated teaching methodologies like "Open Court", rather than letting the teacher, as a professional, use a methodology that they feel works best based on their style and their students.

      Charter schools are more free to use alternative methodologies, particularly more holistic ones, or give their teachers more latitude to employ their own.

      When it comes to curriculum, some traditional "magnet" public schools offer special curriculum in a particular area of special interest, but my take on this approach is that their entire program, its 90% state standardized and maybe 10% special.

      Bottom line, there is no mythical "best single way" to run a school.  There are many valid educational paths, and no single way can serve every kid, no matter how much it is reformed and buffed up.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:02:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check out the link posted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, Linda Wood, ubertar

        in tardis' comment.

        In many cases charter schools are approved by the same boards that people claim are restricting alternate choices in the public schools.  

        Do we have a situation where the board approves these alternate methods with the caveat that they must take place in a separate building and for only a subset of students?  It seems nonsensical.

        If a school board is going to approve an alternate method of teaching, they may as well do it in a program within the regular public school district.  In fact, there's really no reason that a public school can't have multiple programs and methods being used within a school.

        The whole idea that we must duplicate infrastructure costs in order to teach differently seems to be a core principle of the charter school movement, and it doesn't make a lot of sense given our economic troubles.

        •  You're right. There is no reason why those things (0+ / 0-)

          couldn't happen.

          But they don't. How would you suggest we start getting them to change?

          •  Play the money angle (1+ / 0-)
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            Most communities around the country are hurting now and nobody has extra funds just lying around.

            Instead of approaching a school board for a charter that includes a completely separate school, as for the charter and then tell them you have a fabulous idea for saving money in the district, and get it sold as a "School within a school".  

            Now the charter is close enough to the public school to affect change there.  If the charter is working well and attracting an additional percent of the school's students, expand it within the school.

            •  I don't think the staff of the bulk of the... (2+ / 0-)
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              princss6, angelajean

              conventional public schools in the country have the expertise to launch an alternative holistic school.  Now maybe if the district gave space on an existing campus to bring in a separate staff to run the holistic alternative, maybe that could work.  But I just don't see it happening.

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 06:23:02 PM PDT

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        •  I suspect most school districts would even... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, angelajean

          begin to know how to mount a Dewey, Montessori or Waldorf school, nor have district teachers capable of teaching within those methodologies.  You can't have a Montessori version of "Open Court", it just does not work that way.

          And I don't think charters suck money for conventional public school, it is just the opposite.  In most states they educate for less per student than regular schools (even though they do often get money for start-up costs) so they may well be relieving the financial crunch of particularly some large school systems.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 06:20:38 PM PDT

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          •  Are you saying the (0+ / 0-)

            majority of charter school teachers have never taught in traditional public schools? Or that these Montessori/Waldorf etc. teachers are trained solely in stand alone Montessori/Waldorf programs? Certainly not true up here nor in Northern Cali,the two areas I know best. I thought that you were accepting of many paths in education but the broad brush condescension re:public school teachers has me a bit befuddled. Demonizing public education or deriding educators is a foolish path to tread,imo. There are many in this country that absolutely do not want to pay for public education anymore than they want to pay for public healthcare. In fact,such sentiments even come up here from time to time. Crafting a progressive & fair education strategy that serves the interests of all children is our goal isn't it? I believe we can get there but not by parroting RW memes about incapable teachers or evil,lockstep administrators.

            As I've mentioned before we have homeschooled, private schooled and public schooled. Believe me,I get the need for varied options. Hopefully the conversations here lead to some real world improvements.

            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

            by tardis10 on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 12:08:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Relief" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Relief of a financial crunch by paying staff a lower salary doesn't feel like relief.

      •  Public schools do not have to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        be traditional although perhaps it is more common for non-traditional models to happen within smaller communities.

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:54:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's an excellent question. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why can't public schools do what charter's are doing?

      It seems that as the charter movement got started, it got more public schools interested in looking at alternatives - some would say that was because the competition spurred them on.

      Public schools will only change when there is political will in the community for that change to happen. Or maybe political will from up above, for that matter. I'm not sure I can tell where it needs to come from the most.

      The great thing for starting a charter is that it requires much less political will - you need teachers and parents to form a council, write a charter for a school, and get approved by the local authorizing authority.

      Imagine the paperwork headaches of starting a new public school? I'm not sure a parent could even jump start that process, if they wanted to.

      Charter schools started to succeed because they cut through bureaucratic nonsense... now some not-for-profit companies are taking advantage of that.  

      Let's stop them from taking advantage of the system, state by state, and let's continue with the progress that good charter schools have started. It's shouldn't be an all or none proposition for charter schools. Not at all.

    •  checked out your link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, princss6

      I notice that they're proud of the public/private partnership:

      Say Yes is a unique collaboration between Syracuse University, Syracuse City School
      District and Board (SCSD), Syracuse Teachers Association (STA), the City of Syracuse,
      Onondaga County, Say Yes to Education, Inc., the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and a
      diverse group of Syracuse-area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations.

      Looks like a very interesting program and worth keeping an eye on. I believe Detroit is going to follow this model as well. There was an NPR story on it yesterday. However, I think they may plan on having charter schools included in the mix.

      •  Not the same.Detroit is using charters to bust (1+ / 0-)
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        the unions. I don't know if it allows for-profit cos. or not. The Syracuse system is not about union busting or for-profit entities.

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 01:38:35 AM PDT

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        •  For profits are a part of the program in Syracuse (0+ / 0-)

          as well.

          How do we tell which program is union busting and which isn't?

          I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass. I'm trying to figure out how we can tell? If we can't draw lines in the sand, then it becomes harder to convince folks which programs aren't worth fighting for and which ones are.

          •  What for profit schools are you referencing? (0+ / 0-)

            Or do you just mean that some of the philanthropic partners in the program are corporations? That have no ability to make money from this at all.

            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

            by tardis10 on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 04:58:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then why are they a part of the program? (0+ / 0-)

              Only philanthropic reasons?

              Maybe this is how we tell the difference? When a business gives money with no intent of receiving anything in return other than a tax break for making a donation?

              I'm just trying to figure out when it is okay to have business involved and when it isn't.

              •  some conditions (2+ / 0-)
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                tardis10, angelajean

                I might say that it is no longer philanthropic when:

                - they push a high stakes standardized testing based curriculum
                - they push a long school day and/or school year
                - they ONLY seek to give philanthropic assistance to non-unionized employers
                -their "philanthropic" donations are really a way of getting their hooks into schools. If you're around my age (34) you remember the lame chanel 1 news program we were forced to watch every morning as a condition of getting "free" TVs in every classroom from Chris Wittle.

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