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View Diary: My Experience with an Alternative Charter School (137 comments)

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  •  not too pro-charter; thanks for honesty (16+ / 0-)

    the most infuriating thing about the charter promoters is the glib promise they can perform miracles.

    my family experienced a small, struggling charter briefly.  My son wanted  out after a year.

    and in reality, parent and teacher leadership is not an easy thing to achieve.  You've described those problems with  empathy.

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:15:41 AM PDT

    •  Thanks... though based on the experience... (9+ / 0-)

      I have grown to be more pro charter and seriously anti mandatory state curriculum standards that pretty much map out everything a kid must learn each year and be tested on.  That mandated uniformity does not really allow alternative educational methodologies to really be tried as they should and get their due in evaluation.

      The demographic make-up of the students and their families, plus not teaching to the test, seemed to pretty much doom the school to failure under the state rules.

      As to being pro charter, I consider myself a very creative person who firmly believes what Einstein said, that "imagination is more important than knowledge".  When it comes to reinventing our education system for the 21st Century, charter schools look to me like the only venue for imagination in our huge educational-industrial complex.  All other current public school "reform" efforts seem pretty lame to me.


      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:48:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Curricula are mixed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tennessee Dave

        they are a limitation on teachers and the ability to match students interests, on the other hand, there is a final proficiency goal for a range of skills upon graduation from the general public school system, and yearly curricula do help keep people aimed at that goal and aware of progress. Also, given not everyone stays in the same school system, if everyone is on basically the same progression, it is much easier to smoothly shift from school to school, academically.

        •  I find it interesting you use the term skills. (3+ / 0-)

          It seems to be that we are less concerned about a 'range of skills' and more concerned about a 'range of knowledge' in most school districts. It's more about facts memorized that skills obtained.

        •  My issue is with the "command and control"... (4+ / 0-)

          model of top-down governance that thsi approach facilitates, rather than facilitating human development which has its own unique time table for every different person.  It works up their at the top of the pecking oder to have every kid in America being taught the same thing, the same way at the same time by similarly trained instructors.  

          It doesn't work for all the kids, their parents or their communities.  Works for some, which may create the illusion it can work for all!

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 01:07:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Special Education and special needs childrena are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus, slatsg

          totally dismissed by Charters and Private Schools.  If you don't have to serve the needs of ALL students, you are making an unfaif comparison to Public Schools that help EVERY child.  Hubby and I do some volunteer work with the Indiana School for the Blind.  The idea that these students MUST meet the same criteria in testing inorder to get state funding is outlandish. Many of our students are classed as multi-handicapped, but take the same state required testing as other students, thus ISB is listed as a faling school.  Govenor Mitch Dainels' (R) solution for funding our sister school, Indiana School for the Deaf, is to outlaw teaching American Sign Language so Deaf students will have to pass the same verbal language tests as other shcools in the state.  Insanity.

          •  It is not true that all charter schools deny (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cinnamon68, MKSinSA

            entrance to special needs and special education kids. I'm not sure what the rules are in your state, but in CA, charter schools cannot discriminate in such a way. Also, the CREDO-Stanford Report on Charter Schools says:

            Students in Special Education programs have about the same outcomes [as students in public schools].

            If they have about the same outcomes, it must be because they attend them in the first place.

            If you would like to say that Indiana Charter Schools work that way and then offer some proof, even anecdotal, I'll agree with you.

            Agreed with the rest, however. Have you considered writing a diary about the craziness of Gov. Daniels solution? I think it would be a good one to publish.

          •  Brenda's school accepted special needs... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            kids because she had found ways to get additional funding for aids to be in the classroom.  But I have heard of other charters who don't accept some special needs kids because they are not so savvy about how to get the additional funding.

            As a charter you start and exist on a much tighter financial leash than a conventional school, including getting less per pupil and none of the extras a district school gets.  Brenda had to be a financial magician at time to keep all the balls in the air at the school in my piece.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 08:12:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  sayitaintso... my last comment reflected... (4+ / 0-)

      anger I still feel now some seven years later.  It was just sad to see things come down to  be more like a conventional school or go home!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:54:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As if public schools dont struggle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, Futuristic Dreamer

      I agree glib promises can be made. But public schools have had decades to learn lessons. THis charter had only 5 years. The beauty is if enough parents dont like it, the charter dies. So the parents have a choice, for good or worse. I think parents in each school neighborhood should have the choice of two public/charter schools so the school district can tell which schools are better run. Word of mouth beats pure test scores any day.

      you can call me praveen.

      by pravin on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 03:18:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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