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Kendall Massett wrote a piece in todays News Journal.  "It's time to change the conversation on charter schools."

The point behind the article was that charter schools do some great things too.
It reminded me of a middle aged executive who fell in love with his secretary, and who had carried on an affair over years while maintaining his family status, buttressed with a wife and two sons.  Who, now that the news was out was sitting with her on her bed, head in hands, looking at losing all his financials in a divorce settlement, being banned from seeing his kids, losing his job on a morality clause, and now, with no future in front of him, for the first time accepting his responsibility in what he'd done....  Looking at the tears streaming down his face and through his hands, his young, muscular secretary tries to console him... "Well, it's not ALL bad.. Look at it this way... At least the sex was good..."
Kendall Massett's assertion that we must continue Charter Schools because some good may come out of it, in itself is a losing argument.  It ignores the bad.  When making decisions, one can't ignore the bad.
I have found the best way to explain the "charter school versus public school problem" is with a parable. Go figure, but most people will grasp a parable when facts, figures and numbers roll off their eyes and out their ears.

"Once upon a time, there was a loving single dad. A dad who was blessed with one child. He was poor, still paying off the funeral bills for his former wife and the kid's mother. But they got along ok. There was enough to live on and that's what they did. However one thing bothered this dad. Being with only one child, the dad had nothing to compare that child to. He questioned himself. Was this dad doing everything he could for his child? So the dad, had a great idea. He would adopt another son of the same age, so they two could compete together.  Which ever was the best, would get rewarded first and through the competition his son would eventually get the best upbringing he possibly could.  What the Dad did not figure upon, was that feeding two kids cost more than one.  He only had enough to feed one.  So he came up with a plan that which ever son did better at running around the block each morning got to eat first, and the other got to eat what was left over. Every morning, rain or shine, at 5:30 am, the race would occur. Knowing what was at stake both sons tried their best. Sometimes one won. Sometimes the other. But the Dad began to grow concerned because he was timing the races. Originally he had to rush to get the food ready before the first one burst in. But over time, the found he had more and more and sometimes plenty of time to set the table before the first would come through the door.  For some unknown reason, they were running slower and slower and slower.  He invited an expert in to see why?  The expert asked what he fed the first kid when they were alone. It amounted to 1000 calories.  The expert said... "Ah Ha"  You are feeding two people on what you fed one.  No matter how much running they do, together they can never do what originally one was able.

Kendall Massett doesn't cover this issue. Obviously common sense would decree that if we are going to have charter schools, we need to fund them independently and not take away the funds from public schools. Trying to make someone do better with less resources may be possible on a percentage scale, but the overall result, will be a loss. If charter schools want to experiment with private or parochial funding, and people want to go there, excellent.  We have choice.  Likewise, if we increase taxes on the top 1% just to pay the entire budgets of charter schools so that then we can experiment, great, let's do it and have choice. But to expect better results on half the calories, is impossible. And that is the expectation of what charters will do.

This study of next door Philadelphia, shows that test scores in Philly were collectively higher when there were NO charter schools, as opposed to now when there are.  
Meaning that allowing Charter schools to come in and compete with Philly public schools, lowered Philadelphia's cumulative test score average.... Simply put, in any other venue when two teams compete, they both have independent sponsors.  Splitting ones resources to fund two teams competing against each other, well... common sense tells you that when those teams go up against others whose funding was unlimited... they are going to lose badly...

Finally one other factor in Kendall's piece that burns.  When an scientist does experimentation, he throws out all those episodes where something goes wrong and his hypothesis doesn't work.  When you experiment in education, all that "stuff" you throw out, is our own children.

Originally posted to kavips on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Charter schools are a dagger to the heart (28+ / 0-)

    of the public school system.  They may even be more of a threat than vouchers, since they are more in use and drain more resources from real public schools.

    Keep the TVA public.

    by Paleo on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:33:21 AM PDT

    •  let me posit the following situation (13+ / 0-)

      your school is in a dysfunctional district that micromanages, imposes things not beneficial to the children, tries to impose unqualified teachers upon the school, etc.

      Jointly a majority of the parents and of the faculty/staff take advantage of the new charter law to take the school out of the system and meet the needs of the students/community

      this is not a parent trigger bill

      this is well before anyone ever thought of it

      still opposed to that charter?

      what about the kids now being better served?

      what if the district from which they withdrew has continued with dysfunctional leadership, its two most recent leaders neither really qualified to run a school much less an urban school system? Should the school be forced back into the system?

      And yes, I am talking about a real situation in Washington DC..

      Remember, the original idea of charters from Al Shanker were teacher run schools.  

      Remember that part of the impetus was the dead weight of too many urban districts.

      Is it the best solution?  Probably not.  Is it better for those students?  Almost certainly yes.  

      That is just one justification for a charter.

      I can think of others.

      How we do charters and who is allowed to operate them is a subject that needs to be closely examined.

      But I have never been opposed to the idea of charter schools per se, if it is the only or the best way of meeting the needs of students.  The school I taught in this past year before my wife got sick was a non-profit charter with over 90% free and reduced lunch, with two 7th graders who gave birth.   The school at which I did a demo lesson today is a charter that used to be a public school which took itself out of DC Public Schools well before MIchelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson showed up, and given their track record has no desire to be back in DC public.

      I do not think you are going to find a fiercer advocate for teachers, teachers unions and public schools at Dailykos than I am.  I have over 9 years on this site advocating for public education.  Properly done, charters are public schools.  That too many are serving another purpose does not mean we should oppose those that are serving the needs of their students.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:42:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (12+ / 0-)

        And we must be careful that charters are properly done.

        There is a conservative movement to use badly-designed charter schemes as a way to cut taxes and destroy unions. We need to make sure that we support sensible charters that don't further these ends.

      •  Re: (9+ / 0-)

        I'm not opposed to things like magnet schools.  But charters appear to be a way to draw students and resources away from particular schools, rather than attracting district wide.

        Make the existing schools work.  If a charter can be suceessful, then why not an existing school?

        And Albert Shanker was often not the most progressive guy on the block, so to speak.

        Keep the TVA public.

        by Paleo on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:40:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and if the district is dysfunctional (6+ / 0-)

          and politically controlled so that you cannot make the existing schools work?

          there are good charters and there are bad charters

          there are good public schools and bad public schools

          there are good district and bad districts

          sometimes a charter serves a specific need - say English language learners who are an afterthought and considered a burden by regular schools

          sometimes a charter offers a specific focus not offered in the public system, say a Peace focus high school

          Should the only way of accomplishing this be charters?  Of course not, but until it becomes possible to do that within the structure of public schools, charters represent a possibly very progressive approach.

          I live in a community where charters will not take hold.  Arlington Virginia offers a variety of options within the public system, and people are in general happy with that choice.

          But if the district or even the state dept of education is the obstacle, then charters become a real possibility.

          They should be required to have parents on the board

          they should be non-profit, and not play games that some "non-profit" charters do to function as if they were really for profit

          they should not be source of guaranteed investments of up to 20% tax free

          but they can serve a useful function.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:06:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "They can serve a useful function." So can a 9mm (6+ / 0-)

            pistol, if the function is to commit suicide.

            The many conditions and assumptions that hedge your sort-of support for "charters" ought to make it clear that charters are not "possible solutions." You want PRIVATE schools? Run by "parents" some of whom are INVESTORS in the corporate entity? Paid for by the taxpayers, through a mechanism that inevitably will import corruption and failure as well as the instilling of factoidinations that fill the precious little heads of yet more generations with arrant and evil and degrading nonsense that makes each succeeding generation dumber and more malleable? Sounds like the stuff that Major League Baseball (tm) franchise owners spew when they say a new, "world-class," billion-dollar plus whatever they can steal Stadium is Necessary to the Survival of the Community.

            I would say to the parents, who you seem to assume are smart and imbued with the traditions of comity and democracy and Constitution, what I would say to the franchise owners: if you want a school or stadium, BUILD YOUR OWN, WITH YOUR OWN MONEY. There is no effing reason, with all the destructive consumptive forces that are already at work to kill off the last vestiges of Mythical America, why "we" should have to fund what inevitably will be the principal model of such places (and it is not worth it, to me at least, that there might be a few "exceptions" where something useful to the future of the species and the community gets taught) which is what you see in Florida, where it's just a way to kill off vestiges of Librulism and take a lot of money out of the public pocket to enrich a very few. Again.

            Seems to me, since the effing Huns have been able by dint of concentrated effort over many years to sack the palace and rule the roost, it might be advisable to study their ALECisms and methodologies and apply them to making the public schools better. How about we go back to teaching out of the McGuffey Readers? Outlaw all the bullsip "curriculum reform?" FIGHT the shipheads who in state legislatures and local and state school boards are so busily setting the stage for the death of the nation us older folks were stupid enough to believe was stable and lasting and good?

            On the other hand, if someone in the charter business wants to pay me a bundle to switch sides and use my writing and argumentative skills to advance their agenda, well hey! I can do a Wall Street tapdance too! Who cares, after all? We are all going to hell in a handcart pretty quick, so it would be in my best interest to do like everyone else, grab for what I can get? Rhee-Haw!

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:49:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  For Years, Since Many Public Schools reduced (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              the necessary numbers of adults in public school "included" classrooms , parents have been reduced to using charters as a means for alleviating completely inappropriate education for segments of the classroom population.  Some of the causes of the rise of charter schools were intentionally damaging to the public school system, some were and still are benign.  

              Charter schools and public schools should never have been set at each other's throats.  Charter schools have always been a possibility for experimenting with techniques meant, if successful, to be moved into the general public schools.  Things may actually be moving that way.  There are charter school teachers who are organizing and joining unions.  That's an excellent move in the right direction.

              Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

              by tikkun on Fri May 10, 2013 at 01:25:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hope springs eternal in the human breast; (0+ / 0-)


                Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
                    Man never Is, but always To be blest:
                    The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
                    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
                – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

                Maybe Man will Change...

                "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                by jm214 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:27:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Charters often take away the highest achieving (7+ / 0-)

            students, and a disproportionate portion of the funding...  Leaving everyone else back at the "failing" public schools.

            Also, it is my understanding that the single leading determinant of success in school is not race.  It's not school funding.  It's not private vs public, charter vs non-charter...  It's poverty.  It's not a coincidence that all these "failing" schools are in poor areas - and it's actually not just because they aren't well-funded, though that doubtless contributes (And charters don't help, there).  It's because the students are poor, with all that brings.

            •  Interesting Dismissal of the Needs Of (0+ / 0-)

              high achieving students.  One of the reasons charter schools remain a challenge to school systems is that those school systems allowed the high achieving students to rot in classrooms that tie anchors around their ankles intellectually.

              Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

              by tikkun on Fri May 10, 2013 at 01:28:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Dismissal of the needs of high achieving students? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Linda Wood

                I don't dismiss their needs...  I just dismiss the idea of moving them to charter schools while decreasing the funding per student of other schools...  And using the fact that charter schools start with higher achieving students as proof of their success.

                As a former high-achieving student myself, I think there's definitely room for improvement there, but not at the cost of everyone else.

          •  But, teacherken, if a district's dysfunctional (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood, burlydee

            why would the charter schools it allows be any more functional than the public schools already in existence?

            Admittedly, I only know PA, and NC. But it was clear from the get-go that the main impetus behind charters in greater Pittsburgh was to "control" teacher pay and benefits (by not having to negotiate with unions).

            In NC there's that motive, but other uglier motives on top of it. A lot of folks want to have their kid privately schooled without paying tuition.

            The slack requirements for NC charters (no school buses; no lunch rooms; no special ed) have effectively created charters where the student body is cherry-picked. No busing means no kids whose parents can't drop them off and pick them up; no lunchroom means no kids who need subsidized breakfasts; and no special ed??

            I don't care how good the teachers are; if a school isn't serving kids from across the whole range of income and ability levels, it's not public and does not deserve public funding. (It's also in danger of fostering racism, classism, and good old-fashioned disdain for people with disabilities.  

            Yes, there are bad charter schools and good charter schools. But in NC, at least, the charter system itself is bad.

            •  And in Texas, many of the Charter Schools (0+ / 0-)

              are owned & operated by a Secular, Muslim man from Turkey with the taxpayer money going overseas to pay for textbooks, uniforms and even teachers.

              Get real.  Take what is good about the Charter Schools (here in Texas many are called the Harmony Schools - look it up and you will see they are owned by a Turkish Company) and incorporate the good into the public schools.

              But still, the thing against most poor performing schools is poverty and it seems this batch of Republicans want more of the stuff - cheap manual labor.

              -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

              by MarciaJ720 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:12:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  In Some States, Charter Teachers Are Organizing (0+ / 0-)

              and joining unions.  That is a very good start.

              One of the problems has been that public schools do not serve the needs of all students.  They largely serve the needs of the slowest children in the classroom and then not very well.  The children at the other ends of the spectrum do not get served at all.  That's why so many parents of high achieving students want their kids out of the public schools.  I can promise that the day the general public schools serve the needs of the highest achieving students as well as those who require the most time to achieve, the charter will largely be a dead issue.

              There are towns where parents have NO interest in charter schools.  Those schools have music, art, special ed services as well as excellent curriculum for the very able intellectually.  Those very able kids DO NOT GET IT AUTOMATICALLY.  Their parents have no reason to allow a general public school system to use their children for scoring purposes while refusing to provide appropriate curriculum for the intellectually able.

              Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

              by tikkun on Fri May 10, 2013 at 01:38:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I have dealt with three different Charters (0+ / 0-)

            In the Philly area.  I would not want ANY of my own children to go to any of them.  One was set up as a non-profit with a board made up of parents and education experts (e.g. one was a professor of education policy at a local college).  One was a cyber Charter school.  One was set up by a for-profit management company.  What they all had in common was that they recruited special needs students because the Commonwealth of PA paid the schools nearly twice the amount per student as it did for regular students.  Then the schools failed to provide adequate resources for the special needs kids and diverted the money to other areas of the school.  In the case of the for-profit school, it charged the school district in one of the most impoverished cities in PA millions in management fees for very little in terms of results.  

            I am not a fan of charter schools.

            I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei

            by ccyd on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:11:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You're lumping all charter schools and charter (7+ / 0-)

          systems together just like those who want to get rid of public schools lump all public schools together.

          You need to be aware that some districts have excellent charter school programs and some don't. Let's stop judging all schools by the bad ones and start improving education systems in ways that we know will work - it means working locally more than working nationally but it's a way to move forward. Lumping all charter schools together just pushes more parents away from the conversation.

        •  Existing schools (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If a charter can be suceessful, then why not an existing school?

          Because, at the end of the day, the powers in favor of the status quo are powerful. Plenty of people, if not happy with the low-performing public school, don't want any major changes. Parents who want alternatives are told to pound sand.

          Change in a school system is possible, but it takes years and years. There's no reason that children should be part of the long-term experiment.

          We already have a robust form of school choice for the middle class: it's called moving. I consider charters to be a better alternative than moving to another school district. My only problem with charters is all of the greedy for-profit corporations stealing public money for charters. I would rather that charters were founded and run by teachers and/or parents.

          •  That is very dreamy of you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sphealey, JanL, tikkun

            In fact, the parents being preyed on by most of these charters are the ones least likely to have the tools to make an informed choice for their children — that's why the ONE public school system needs to be improved.

            A parent advocate at one of Cleveland's handful of excellent charter schools told a meeting I was at about going door to door in nearby projects trying to get parents to send their children to this charter they started so their upper middle class families could stay in the city. He said he found poor parents, lacking the information and resources he and his friends had, rejected the idea because a garbage charter was a few blocks closer.

            Jon Husted is a dick.

            by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:57:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not a compelling argument! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              In the same way that parents are happy with the "garbage charter", they will also be find with the poor-quality established public school and not be interested in changing it for the better. In any case, the "garbage charter" is probably just as poor quality as the mainstream public school, but closer and smaller.

              If people wanted the public schools to be better quality schools such that no one would want to move to the suburbs or go to a charter school to find an alternative, the public schools would have already been improved. I don't blame parents for having no interest in waiting around hoping that the existing schools will magically get better in time for their kids to take advantage of it.

      •  Imagine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OhioNatureMom, magnetics

        Good word... imagine.  How do you address the massive corruption that has been revealed in "charter schools" themselves and in the management firms that these parent groups often end up hiring to run them?  Corruption that has shown up consistently across the nation?  

        Similarly, when the charter schools collapse (as a very large percentage of them do), where do the children go?  Who/what entity absorbs this disruption and attempts to provide them with a safe landing spot?


        •  not in MOST charter schools (7+ / 0-)

          sorry, that is simply not true

          even in the state with the worst control of charters, AZ.

          and that is part of the issue - proper oversight

          what was wrong with Duncan insisting states lift caps on number of charters to get $$ under Race to the Top was that there were no requirement for oversight, for determining quality of those proposing or running charters

          look, I do not think there is a more vocal defender of public schools on this site than me.  There are those as vociferous as I am.  But in general I try not to paint with too broad a brush.  The danger of asserting universals is that takes only one counter example to destroy the argument.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:57:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I respect you, Ken, but (5+ / 0-)

            here in Ohio, we have seen horrific results and more and more state money poured into for-profit garbage charters run by big Republican donors. We have seen public school funding slashed for two budgets now, even while the Republicans in charge have exploded spending with a bloated budget that sends more and more money to their garbage schools with little oversight.

            I am so sick of it. My property taxes are so high they virtually assure I will lose my home to tax foreclosure sometime in the future. I am willing to pay through the teeth for ONE good school system (although I wish our politicians in Columbus would address our school funding mechanism which was declared unconstitutional by our state supreme court 15 years ago — but they're too busy debating defunding Planned Parenthood). I am not willing to pay to make David Brennan richer. I'm just furious.

            Jon Husted is a dick.

            by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:00:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think that is Ken's point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood, tikkun

              Charter schools "properly run" not bait and switch for profit schools, and don't take resources away from public schools that need it.  Yours is the point that Teacherken is trying to avoid.

              After the Republicans burn down the world, they will prove the Democrats did it.

              by jimraff on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:05:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Ohio is an Odd Duck (0+ / 0-)

              Ohio is inching its way to a being a "right to work' state.  I left, not because of schools but because of the general social and political direction of Ohio.  Many of its brightest and best college graduates are leaving the state because the social structure is simply not inviting for them.  

              Smaller suburban towns in Ohio have great public school systems because all the conservatives with excellent educations themselves, KNOW what a good education looks like and make sure they have it in their public schools. They don't need charters.  The rural/urban mix, though useful in some ways, is an weight on the state's social progress.

              Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

              by tikkun on Fri May 10, 2013 at 02:05:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Universals (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood
            - - - - -  The danger of asserting universals is that takes only one counter example to destroy the argument. - - - - -
            That's a strong statement.  Let's take a look at some counter examples.  This was intended to be the shining star of the charter schools movement in Missouri:  Imagine Charter Schho

            Imagine Charter School Exiles Swell St. Louis Enrollment

            Five powerhouse charter schools each backed by a local powerhouse institution (hospital, university, etc) and operated by a powerhouse "management firm".  Result?  Disaster.   And the crumbling, deeply maligned St. Louis Public School system left to pick up the pieces.

            Again I'll ask you:  who is responsible for cleaning up when fiascos  such as this leave children out on the street?  Please be precise and detailed in your answer.


            •  let me be blunt (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood, thm, GRLionsFan, tikkun

              I don't know of too many people besides Dennis Bakke who thought Imagine was going to be a shining example of anything except that a corporate type doesn't know much about running schools - except for how to profit.

              Full disclosure - I know Bakke.  I encounter him from time to time on Saturday mornings in our local Starbucks when he and his buddies from the PRIVATE school their kids attend(ed) get coffee after playing basketball in the schools gym.  I have talked with Dennis, he tried to persuade me about what he was doing, and didn't convince me.

              I know charters in various places that are doing good things.  

              I also believe that if public schools were somewhat less bureaucratic and would let real educators run schools, charters might not be necessary at all.

              I simply do not accept the universal rejection of all charters that some want to impose.  Remember, i have taught (so far) in three public schools in two states, and in a charter in DC that is very much focused on helping needy kids - it is more than 90% free and reduced lunch, two lifetime public school educators came over to make a difference.  Some of the students I taught had already failed or been bounced at multiple public and other charter schools.  We were making a real difference.

              I know of other charters - in DC area and elsewhere in the country, where I can tell other positive stories.

              Oh, and fwiw, I have also been in an independent school -  i first worked as a teacher intern for 6 months in a Quaker school in the Phila area in 1974.

              Of the three schools where I am very much being considered to be hired for next year, there is one of each -  an independent school in VA, a charter in DC, and a public school in MD.  None is perfect, but all are good schools serving their students.

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:01:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  You bring up interesting points (0+ / 0-)

        Bottom line in all cases, I think everyone here would agree, is that we do what is best for the children.  In the cases of which you describe, your scenario seems better to achieve that, than your public school alternative.

        I guess the opposing point to you would be that instead of allowing charter schools to siphon funds away from school systems, hard changes now need to be implemented inside the public schools. Raise the revenue, invest in quality, and make the public school system move itself forward.

        Then, the counter argument to THAT..., is that is exactly what existed before charter schools were brought in!  It didn't happen then! Instead as situations got worse, administrators were told to deal with it; use good judgment.  Charters are what brought in necessary competition and therefore they are responsible for reforming public schools today.

        The retort for THAT, would be of what I spoke: that too many mouths at the trough make thin pigs.  No one benefits from too many people fighting over too scarce resources...

        And that is where this argument seems to lie.  Am I seeing our differences now as question of perspective?  Sort of like from where one is looking, sort of determines how one sees this problem?

        Let me elaborate.  Ken spoke of charters making positive inroads on children lucky enough to attend their schools   ...   So from the perspective of those particular kids (our number one priority) the charter moving in and siphoning resources from a neighborhood dying entity, is a very good thing... Seen from that perspective I'll agree....

        However,... as a society one has to have the broad approach.  One has to look for the Ying that corresponds to the Yang... In this case, that Ying would be.... what is happening to those children NOT being put into a charter school?

        The answer is..... drumroll...... that they are doing worse then when public schools alone ruled the educational fiefdom. And shockingly, students at charter schools seem to be doing worse than when public schools alone ruled the educational landscape as well....

        And this is where we have to be careful...  we can say, look at Ken's Charter (there's your future career, :)  ) see how well it is doing?
        But is it doing well comparatively because it is teaching superlatively, or because the students it takes in were originally more highly motivated to succeed in the first place?  Had they been in public schools would those same students now be boosting the public school's results upward?

        So from a theoretical perspective, it appears the only sane way to determine whether charters have a positive or a negative impact upon societal education as a whole, is to use the data to see how well students are responding.

        Doing so is a lot more complicated than this upcoming explanation, but using the simple model will allow me to communicate it more easily. ... Think if we were to give each student a number based on whether they graduated or not, and make those numbers either a +1 for graduating, or a -1 for not....  and then add up all of an entire city's students, we would have a number for that district.  We could then compare that number with numbers of the past, and also have the future come back to compare with us...  

        If with Charter schools our success (graduation) number is lower than it was before Charters came in, then despite individual success stories, the concept of charters is disruptive...  On the other hand, if with Charters our comprehensive success (graduation) number is higher than it was before Charters came in....... the thank heavens someone brought in charter schools.....

        I think what quantifies the difference in perspective between the two camps,... charter versus non- charter, is that one side is adding the negative numbers into the equation, and the other side is strictly looking at only the positive spectrum...

        As in positve: ... look this kid was failing but now in a charter he is graduating... Isn't that great.  Versus, look over here, these two kids are dropping out of public school while one person graduates from a charter, that's a combined score of a negative one... We should switch priorities, fund public education and then at least, should the charter wither and fail, we'd have a score of a positive one at the very least.  Positive three if the kid in the charter succeeds!

        And if I'm a good writer, I've led you right to the solution that should be forming in your mind right now as you read this... The real solution is to refund education,  period;  allowing for both existing charters to continue, and for public education to provide increased opportunities to close the gaps. Remember, our goal is our children.

        Public education thrived post second World War!  Only when the tax revolt began and people even considered lowering property taxes and cutting spending, did quality levels of education start declining.  We once had a very good educational system... How can we tell?  Our nation today is the byproduct of that intergenerational system stretching across the 20th Century.

        But somewhere in the 80's we began to make a conscious choice as a society, that we would benefit more if we gave the wealthy more money and gave public education and other things... less..

        Somewhere in the past we as a society made a conscious choice to allow our nation's leaders to put less money into education, and keep more for themselves and their friends.... ( of course in fairness, we thought we were going to get some of it too.... Psyche!)

        And the longer and longer I look at today's educational problem and all the millions of pieces that need to be glued back together, the more and more I come to the inevitable conclusion, that we simply really need to take that money back, invest it where it should have been all along, and still, keep thaat same fire in our bellies which we have now, and make education fun again so great things can happen.....

        Just like it probably did for each and every one of us... After all, we're reading blogs for heaven's sakes...  Where on earth did THAT curiosity come from?  Doesn't that make us all sort of weird?  lol.  

    •  Charters will SAVE publicly-funded education. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sweetsister, GRLionsFan

      Some parents don't like what the regular public schools are offering. Their kids may have special needs, or they may not like the way a school is run.

      Usually, these families have two options:

      1) Move away from the city.
      2) Go to private school or homeschool.

      Option #2 is the real "dagger to the heart". Once parents are paying extra tuition, they have no incentive to vote for tax increases. They may decide to defund the public system entirely.

      Charter schools solve the problem. They are tax-supported, so charter parents still have an incentive to vote for property taxes.

      As long as all taxpayers have something to gain from the system, publicly-funded education will survive.


      •  If that's true . . . (15+ / 0-)

        then why is the charter "movement" pushing for schools in well-performing districts?  I know this is happening in my state and parents are fighting back.

        And charters can be selective in who they choose.  Where public schools can't.  Thus, you end up with the opposite of "no child left behind."

        Keep the TVA public.

        by Paleo on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:30:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Magnet schools can be very selective (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leema, tikkun

          For some high-achieving students they serve as an alternative to private schools.  

          Just curious what you think about that.

        •  The evidence says Public>charter (4+ / 0-)

          Private charter schools get more money the public schools and the most widely touted charter schools gets 50% more.[1]

          Milwaukee students at charter schools have 10-30% lower test scores [2].

          In IL public school students out score charter students despite having less funds (the link explains some reasons why).[3]

          Kids in charter schools did not have better scores in DC despite those schools have more money[5]

          In AZ charter schools committed tax, accounting, and test score fraud. The CEO's were payed millions[4]


          We only think nothing goes without saying.

          by Hamtree on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:31:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are also studies... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Be Skeptical, GRLionsFan, tikkun

            ...that show the opposite.

            It depends on how the charter program is implemented. Here in NYC, controls on charters are very strict and charters do better than non-charters.

            But that's not the point.

            Even if charters are worse, they are still a good idea because they give parents a choice.  This makes parents more likely to support taxes for public education.

            Once the middle class and wealthy have fled to private schools (or homeschooling, or suburbs), there is no political support for funding public schools. Funding is cut, the schools get worse, more families flee.

            Then the cycle of pain begins. You know the story, because if you study education enough to link all those studies, you know the history of most inner city schools.

            •  I've read a lot of NYC's data (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The argument explaining that discrepancy is that charter schools can cherry pick who enters and who doesn't, whereas public schools are mandated to accept all the non-performers.

              That said, any school with zero discipline problems (as in charter) is going to do better than one where personal safety is an issue.

              So at least from that point of view, well run charters are performing a benefit to society.

              •  Charter schools... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

       NYC cannot cherry-pick.

                Unlike many other systems, the NYC charter system mandates that all charter schools select from all applicants by lottery.

                In fact, an NYC charter school is likely to attract non-performers. Why would a family move to a charter if their kid is doing well?

            •  Wait... (0+ / 0-)

              so if charter schools are worse than public schools, how is that still a good idea for the children?

              You keep talking about choice as if it's more important than the quality of education kids get.

              •  Choice is incredibly important. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Please read my earlier comments. If parents have no choices, they will leave the system. They will move, go private, or homeschool.

                Once that happens, there is no more political support for school taxes and education funding. Then we lose everything.

                Sometimes charters are good and sometimes they aren't. I think they are usually better. But even if you don't agree on that, please consider the consequences of of forcing the most active and involved parents to leave the public school system entirely.

        •  again...that wide brush (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thm, GRLionsFan, ManhattanMan, tikkun

          Not all charter schools or charter systems are created equal. Here in DC, the charter schools pick kids by lottery (after sibling preference slots are filled). That means that a child with an IEP, poor math skills or top-of-the-class all have an equal chance to get into any given school. In DC, the ones who

          That lottery at least gives a child a better shot of a great education than some local schools. Not to mention that different families have different priorities. In DC, we have several charter schools that offer full bilingual immersion programs (Spanish, French, Chinese, far!). You have a much better chance getting into one of those schools than the ONE well-known immersion DCPS program (that IS allowed to be selective--talk about hypocrisy). Other parents want a progressive approach to education, or experiential, or one that emphasizes social justice or sustainability or rigorous academics. Who are we to judge that?

          There is even at least one school whose mission is to TRAIN teachers, who are then required to work for a public school in DC for a minimum number of years. THAT is working to directly support and improve ALL public schools.

          Plus, in DC at least, charter schools are willingly going to into neighborhoods where DCPS schools have not succeeded. It's a matter of pride and bragging rights to get those kids the best education they deserve.

          Frankly, I was baffled that the left was so anti-charter schools, given my personal experience (I have 3 kids, and have always had them in charter schools). However, now that I see how charter schools are being managed in some states, I understand the issue. But I still think that a model like DC's is one that's fair and appropriate. What my kids are getting today they could never get at the DCPS schools for which we're zoned.

          Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

          by sweetsister on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:03:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why "the left" is against Charters. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Here are the reasons that I've been able to figure out:

            1) Charters have been used as a Conservative tool: Most of the horror stories you read on dKos are from states where Republicans are using some whacky charter scheme to attack Teacher's Unions, cut school funding, or loot the budget. These stories are so common and so well-documented that it can't possibly be a coincidence.

            2) Choice makes Teacher's Unions uncomfortable: Even a fair and noble charter scheme allows for choice. The fundamental implication that a parent (who may note even have Bachelor's in Education, let alone a Master's) knows best for their child is scary. It strikes at the heart of the professional authority of teachers.

            3) Teachers' Unions are perhaps the strongest supporters of the Democratic party: This is a tough one. We need to come up with charter plans that are fair to two strong Democratic blocs.

             -- Teachers
             -- Inner city/Poor rural families

            As of now we are being forced down a path where the interests of these two groups are slowly becoming opposed. We need to make a deal now before things get too hot. If parents will wait in line for a Charter School lottery, they will also wait in line to vote. We need to get both groups on our side of the ballot.

      •  "move away from the city" (6+ / 0-)

        will not get you away from "regular public schools"...
        what you really want to flee is "those people".

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

        by sayitaintso on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:04:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately for "those people" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, tikkun

          many have to endure some very crappy schools in some very crappy school districts.  So yes, moving out the city could make a difference if you are moving from an area with crappy "regular public schools" to one with good "regular public schools."

        •  what parents do... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, tikkun

          ... is look at the average SAT scores of all the school districts and which universities graduates from those school districts attend, and move to the school district with the best results. It's really always going to be that way unless parents can be assured of a high quality education in their own town or city.

          And, yes, even "those people" leave the city as soon as they have enough money in search of better schools.

      •  Most charters are highly selective and (5+ / 0-)

        from experience I know they cherry pick students. They also tend not to serve special needs students. Special needs students are so important to school communities for all students to learn and know we are not all a like.

        •  Not in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Our garbage for-profit charters pretty much prey on the poorest and most desperate. A handful of better charters exist, and as far as I can tell, they do not "cherry pick." I don't know if they serve special needs students. But until the Republicans get over their austerity kick, we can't afford to serve special needs students anyway.

          The best schools in Cleveland are the magnet schools, and yes, they do have openings. There's no dramatic lottery where a kid is doomed if he doesn't get a slot.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:05:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  um, really? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OhioNatureMom, A Citizen, coquiero, JanL

        because there's data in WI that shows that the majority of Milwaukee students who were sent back to public schools after going to charters were special needs kids.

        charter schools often turn away kids with disabilities. they cherry-pick students to get high test scores so they can claim they have higher scores than public schools. public schools that take every kid, no matter what.

        your best bet for a special needs kid is a public school. how is that not enough of an incentive to pay property taxes to fund public education?

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:21:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, that is untrue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because charter schools are supported with STATE money which does not come from property taxes. In fact, parents of charter school students have less motivation to vote for property tax levies because their children do not benefit.

        Of course, our governor is trying to change that by stealing our property taxes and sending some of them to charters.

        This will not end well.

        And our state supreme court declared property tax funding of schools to be unconsritutional in the DeRolph case of 1997.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:02:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  dagger to the heart of the public school system (5+ / 0-)

      Well, if the public schools are really bad, and there are no available alternatives, then I am going to leave the district as soon as humanly possible. If there is a charter alternative available, I might stay.

      So, tell me, which does more damage to the public school infrastructure?

    •  This is an argument I've been making (5+ / 0-)

      for a long time.

      On one hand, we're told that schools, municipalities etc need to streamline, to consolidate, to share services to save tax dollars.

      On the other, we're told that we are now going to support two parallel school systems on less than we are willing to pay for one good school system. That is extremely costly.

      Sure, a few of charter schools are doing good things. Most are average or worse. If their funding were returned to the local public schools, those schools would do as good or more likely a better job than the charter school.

      Each day this goes on, I become less amenable as a taxpayer to the insistence of some people that yes, there are WONDERFUL charter schools so for this handful of schools (here in Cleveland, the same three or four always get mentioned — not the dozens of crappy for-profit charters), so we should maintain the entire corrupt charter school system (Ohio's is one of the worst in the country).

      My response is that this handful should be absorbed into the public school system and the others disbanded because they aren't improving educational outcomes and they are sucking up tax dollars.

      There's one single reason that won't happen, and it has nothing to do with education. The for-profit charter school industry owns the Republican politicians that run Ohio. In the last budget, our governor was prepared to let the owner of a chain of the worst — mostly failing — schools write the section on charter school oversight!!

      Why? Well, you know. He contributed lots and lots of money to the governor's election and the Ohio Republican Party.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We Had a charter that failed... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As we went through the financial records, we discovered it's biggest expense, 60%, was rent for the unused building it was in, which we thought had been "donated" by one of our top construction giants.

        It opened eyes as to why the "Chamber of Commerce" would be for charter schools.  

        That business was making $1.2 million it wouldn't have, if there was no such thing as charter schools...
        You can't make any money off public education, which acquires the land and owns the building.  And then taxes you for it!  Far better to have the state PAY you, instead of you paying it...

        In this scenario,  the kids were left to fend for themselves.  At least $1.2 million a year of state money, went into one private owner's hands...

        So, "support for charter schools" has a whole other dark side to it, which you seem to have noticed there off the shores of Lake Eire in Ohio....

  •  Another flawed study. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gramofsam1, MarciaJ720, sweetsister

    "This study of next door Philadelphia, shows that test scores in Philly were collectively higher when there were NO charter schools, as opposed to now when there are. "

    But the poverty rate in Philly increased from 21% to 26% since 2002.

    Are the lower test scores due to charters? Or are they due to the well-documented, exhaustively-researched effects of poverty on academic performance?

  •  Charters are just part of the privatize agenda (12+ / 0-)

    Despite all evidence that charters are no better and often worse than public schools, ‘small government’ advocates push to transfer public school dollars to charters.  In reality they just want to siphen off our tax dollars into the pockets of the wealthy.

    The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found in a 2009 report that 17% of charter schools outperformed their public school equivalents, while 37% of charter schools performed worse than regular local schools, and the rest were about the same.
    •  And in Texas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Harmony Schools are owned by a Private, Secular, Muslim Turkish man and his company with much of the taxpayer money going back to Turkey to pay for the textbooks, uniforms and teachers they use.

      When I told this to a Right-Winger, showed her the facts behind these schools - she went... W.T.F.

      Finally got through to someone.

      If they are so good and allow any child in, then why not take the good things they do in teaching and incorporate them into public schools?

      Or is this just another nail in public services turning into Private ones that one day, the poor will not be able to afford?

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:22:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I did mention this above but it bears repeating (0+ / 0-)

      Anyone who has a large abandoned building just sitting and collecting dust, should be a big fan of Charter Schools.

      We had one that as it failed, we went over its finances to discover that $1.2 million of its $2 million budget, went to a former contractor/ politician who owned the building....

      He ran on promoting charter schools.

      Which explains why the Chamber of Commerce who one would think would be pro-quality education, is a very big supporter of charter schools.
      No offense to the Chamber, but it anyone who has time to belong to a Chamber and attend meetings, has a business that is on its way down..  The Chamber for that reason always supports legislation that makes innovation more difficult, protecting the keeping of a town's resources strictly inside the hands of its members.  It is not about promoting the common good... It is about keeping what is good, from getting away from themselves... lol.
  •  When I was a kid I was taught (12+ / 0-)

    that universal public schooling was one of the things which made our nation great. Other than those who attended parochial schools (Catholic schools in my neck of the woods almost entirely), very few children went to private schools since only the super-rich could afford to send their kids to them. And there weren't any extremely rich people where I grew up, or in most places for that matter. I was born and raised during the era when the wealthy did not make 300 times more than the average worker. One of the things I was taught was, for that very reason, public schools were great crucibles for democracy, since everyone was equal, at least in principle. Naturally (since I entered kindergarten in 1956) there were vestiges of segregation and other forms of racial discrimination because New York City was certainly not a perfect place. But, again where I lived, those legacies were being dealt with and as a result my junior high school and high school experiences allowed me to interact with people of every race and every socio-economic class. And I received a terrific education.

    It is always dangerous to generalize based upon one's own personal experience I know but the sense I have always had was that the move towards privatization, the creation of charter schools, the push for vouchers, constituted a solution in search of a problem or, at best, a way of not dealing with the existing problems. And, sure enough, after some years of these "solutions" there situation at public schools seems to be a good deal worse than it was when such things as charter schools didn't exist.

    •  valid commentary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun, Linda Wood

      I liked what you said here...

      I have always had was that the move towards privatization, the creation of charter schools, the push for vouchers, constituted a solution in search of a problem or, at best, a way of not dealing with the existing problems.
      I'll need to think on that awhile. Thanks for posting it.

      And though you don't come out and actually say it, I gather that you too having seen a wide perspective of changes, have settled that the real reason education fails is economic, or more specifically, today's current distribution of the total net wealth and power in our economy?

      That our nation's wealth is elsewhere, and therefore can't be applied towards schools because..... well, we can't get to it now; it is elsewhere.

  •  it's not about if charter schools are better (7+ / 0-)

    it's about diverting funding from the public schools and further degrading them as institutions so the public loses faith in them and turns to the free market for all their education needs.

    it's pretty sad to watch here in WI. alot of people recognize it as exactly what it is, and are quite opposed. tax dollars put to religious voucher schools? really? people don't like that idea.

    but all those rich Goopers in the state's Bullshit Belt know that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Politico say that the data on public vs voucher schools is "inconclusive" and Scott Walker is Their Guy, so we're goin' for it. we're "leading the way"! and it's true. we certainly are leading somewhere.

    Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

    by Boogalord on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:13:40 PM PDT

  •  You're fighting a losing battle. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gramofsam1, Leslie in KY

    Many parents are very happy with the charter schools in their communities because they are meeting the needs of their kids. As long as that is happening, any fight to get rid of them all together will fail. It's really not unlike the fight against public schools, is it? People insist they're failing yet individual communities fight like hell to keep their schools.

    Honestly, I think the whole traditional vs charter school debate is an intentional way to distract us from the real problem: our current methods of instruction are outdated. We have lost the connection between teacher and student in so many ways. We are still running schools to fill factories. We are not raising life long learners but life long test takers. It doesn't matter which school a child attends, traditional public, public charter, or private, the vast majority of American Schools only push facts, they don't encourage thinking.

    If you haven't seen this, take a close look. It explains what most people think is very complicated but really is very simple.

  •  Charter schools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood

    are an imperfect fix to a bigger problem.  Why can't we make all our schools good?  We instead use the power of selection (discrimination) to select the students, the parents, the teachers, and the physical plant which will be successful and take them out of the imperfect system -- giving some a better chance and the rest will have to get by as they can.

    •  but what if I want something different? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edbb, GRLionsFan, tikkun

      We can make all schools good, but that ends up being a one-size-fits-all model. What if I feel strongly about having a bilingual education? What if I think my kid would do better in an experiential model, but another child would benefit from one that's more erudite, simply b/c of learning styles or interests?

      My kids would not get what they need at the DCPS schools for which we're zoned, and they are both known as very good schools.

      Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

      by sweetsister on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:22:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I am a champion of public schools yet I was enough of a hypocrite to send my own kid to private school.  I know there are teachers in my town who work in public schools just to have the money to send their own children to private schools.

  •  Fixing public schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimraff, tikkun

    I'd really like to see how public schools could function if:

    1. Administrative costs were reduced and shifted to the classroom. This isn't necessary everywhere, but probably some places it will help. And it will be possible if you also:

    2. Cut down on the red tape of state and federal requirements and let teachers do the jobs they were trained for. This means you have to trust your teachers, but that should become easier if you also:

    3. Pay teachers better. Overall teacher pay needs to increase to attract better people to go into the professions. Also, pay them more to work in the toughest environments. Nowadays the better, more experienced teachers choose to move to districts with fewer problems and more supportive parents. If you ask someone to do a tougher job you should pay them more to do it.  Pay rates should be higher in districts with higher free and reduced lunch or other social markers for difficult-to-reach students.

    I think these fairly common-sense solutions ought to be explored before we experiment on our children with a neoliberal economist's wet dream of an education system.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:43:02 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately, BeerNotWar, the agenda (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sphealey, BeerNotWar, tikkun

      the "reformers" have is pretty much the opposite of what you suggest. Respecting teachers and letting them actually TEACH is not what they have in mind.

      It's why I don't know any young people planning to teach.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:08:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You didn't touch what is really needed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Increase taxes on the wealthy to pay for investments into education.

      When one sees the amount of wealth that is being skimmed off the top today, and all the hardships just pennies on the dollar could correct, ......

      one becomes a big fan of higher taxes on the wealthy.  Even if for 2 years, we could turn this nation around on a dime.
  •  As long as parents have a choice, and aren't (0+ / 0-)

    forced to send their children to a particular school, I have a hard time understanding why simply having more options is a bad thing.

  •  The one in LA that I personally know about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sphealey, tikkun

    is an absolute, straight up scam.

    They have one good school to show to "donors", the rest are run down pieces of crap.

    Contracts for things like uniforms, which of course are mandatory and not at all cheap, go to family members of admin.

    Why would anyone be surprised?  Any time any public service is privatized, it goes to shit as people try to grab as much money as they can.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:46:54 AM PDT

  •  Charters and Public schools (0+ / 0-)

    So, if charter schools are so good, why aren't public schools adopting the same methods?  

    Don't tell me it is the union's fault, that is not true.  Don't blame the administration, and don't blame the school boards.  Local competence is one thing global incompetence is another.  When the country decides that educating our children is important, it will change.  Think of one key social concept.  Traditionally important jobs go to me (yes this is entrenched sexism, but it is observed). lawyers, doctors, etc -  traditionally men's jobs.  Nursing, teachers, traditionally women's jobs.  Women's job traditionally pay less - how much more does a lawyer get paid than a teacher?  Don't get me wrong, I don't think men make better teachers, I do think teaching as a profession does not get the respect it should and needs to, in order to get real change.  Many people think of teachers as over paid baby sitters.

    There are many factors that go into student success from family economic status, how active the parents are, class size, and school funding to name a few.  

    In my own opinion, the one best thing that can make a difference is individualized education plans for all students, and teachers that can implement them.  Core curriculum, testing, all that needs to point towards how best to ensure that when students leave school they have the skills to be successful in life, what ever job or trade they choose.  Yes, this takes a full out re-working of the education system.  It makes no difference whether the school is a public, charter or private.  

    After the Republicans burn down the world, they will prove the Democrats did it.

    by jimraff on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:24:29 AM PDT

    •  one of the reasons charter schools were so good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when compared to public schools, was that they were using easier tests to grade students.

      The use of different tests were cemented in place within state legislature by ALEC sponsored legislation, so comparing apples to apples couldn't happen.

      It did in PA. The legislature rewrote law so the same test would be applied to Charters and Public schools.

      The Charter schools fell to either lower or almost the same as those of public schools who they had been disparaging for so many years.
      "Scam" is the proper word that comes to mind.
  •  Charter schools equals Resegregation. (0+ / 0-)

    And there is no way around that. It is a plan to Re-Segregate America. Separate is not equal.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:24:52 AM PDT

  •  Most people are very unaware of this (0+ / 0-)

    But the Charter schools they are building in Texas, called "The Harmony Schools" is actually owned by a Secular, Muslim Turkish man and his company.

    All of our taxpayer money, or most of it, is going back to Turkey.

    Why don't we simply incorporate what they are doing Right rather than paying and sending our money to Turkey for books, uniforms and teachers?

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:06:50 AM PDT

  •  Let's Just Get Public (0+ / 0-)

    The whole idea behind "charter schools" was to sell the public on the idea that the public schools were doing a bad job so that schools could be privatized. I don't think it was ever an honest discussion to begin with. If we did not have a rich, ideological segment of the population devoted to doing in the public school system, I doubt this idea would have ever sprouted, let alone turned into the viney thing it is.

    I'm promoting "teacher-centered" education, which means we think about how we aid the public school teacher to do the best job possible. Let's just get rid of charter schools and vouchers, and let's put our efforts into making the public school system the best it can be.

    •  Here we've taken the approach of 11:1 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      As in a ratio of eleven students for every teacher.  

      Of course like charter schools, it too is controversial. but we think that human capital needs to be put in place and we need to find the dollars to support it....

      We say:  teachers don't go into teaching for money.  The go into teaching to  teach.  Let them do their jobs.  Anything that impinges, let's get rid of...

      As I said. It is controversial.
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