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Charter Schools

Betsy Newmark, who teaches at one of the best charter schools in the country, blogs today about them.

Charters that are poorly set up and don't have a sound financial foundation or are failing their students academically can be closed down. A regular public school will not get shut down because its students are failing; instead it's more likely to just get more money. And as far as the charge that charters have not provided innovative ideas for public schools to copy, whose fault is that. I know that we regularly have outside people come tour our school to learn about what we're doing right. Our administration often makes presentations about our program and is very generous in sharing ideas. Most of those who are interested are from other charter schools. We don't get much interest from the regular public schools. So whose fault is it that district schools haven't benefited from the innovations in charter schools.


Comments (10)

Maybe it is just me...but t... (Below threshold)
Carolina:

Maybe it is just me...but tonight...I read such insightful posts as yours and I truly wonder...why in the world when immigration, the G8...Gen. Peter Pace resigning because our Congress is so hateful that he can't be approved (or destroyed)...are we seeing nothing but a poor little rich girl who has broken the law, being reported on Cable.

I guess it's time for me to get rid of the video media in my life. Substanance seems not to be available.


I'm totally discouraged.


Several years ago a wealthy... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Several years ago a wealthy guy offered to donate 200 million or more to Detroit to start two charter schools.

The children of Detroit could have used this money like no other. It was rejected because the teachers' union was against it.

Make no mistake, the critics of charter schools do so to hold power, to make more money for the union and members, and for politics.

With not a whit of concern for the kids.

The kids aren't union membe... (Below threshold)

The kids aren't union members. Unions exist to serve the interests of their members, not some bunch of someone else's kids, for Pete's sake!

Charter schools aren't a panacea. The ability to experiment with forms and curricula means there will be failures as well as successes. The advantage charters have over public schools is that they can learn from their failures and adopt successful strategies on the fly.

Some will fail, and they will close. That doesn't happen with public schools. They stay open and draw their same paychecks whether they get the job done or not.

The difference between charter schools and public schools isn't that some fail, because some of both groups do fail. The difference is that the failed charter schools are abandoned for better ones, while the failed public schools have a captive constituency.

Government schools are quas... (Below threshold)

Government schools are quasi-monopolies force funded through the tax payer.

Those who wish to opt out educationally can do so, but are saddled with a doubled financial burden between continued forced funding of the (often failing) government schools and payment for the schooling of choice.

In what other endeavor does any consumer tolerate this type of coersion when purchasing services or products??!

Ah, but the NEA is an extremely powerful union w/ a VERY STRONG lobby in congress - in short, the NEA uses the police power of the state to force the tax payers to fund their organization, and secure their job security.

Contact your congress person here
http://www.vote-smart.org/index.htm

and demand that this coercion be stopped!

VOTE SCHOOL VOUCHERS - VOTE SCHOOL CHOICE!
http://locomotivebreath1901.blogspot.com/2007/05/vote-school-vouchers-vote-school-choice.html

The left and the teacher's ... (Below threshold)
kim:

The left and the teacher's unions have most regretably most damaged public education in blue urban areas. An irony is that it is mostly philanthropists, and most of them red on the inside, who've stepped forward with financing to help push charter schools, accountability for the educational process and for the public's dollar.
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Jim, charter schools are pu... (Below threshold)
kim:

Jim, charter schools are public schools. I understand your usage, which is common. The public seems to believe that Charter schools are somehow private, and the use of them akin to 'vouchers'.

Just amazing the state of journalism, these days.
===============

Am I correct in hearing tha... (Below threshold)
kim:

Am I correct in hearing that charter schools everywhere, but not every one, have waiting lists and/or students accepted by lottery? It seems the market may be taking care of this, but at first, what is the risk that the charters will pull the most motivated students, teachers, and parents out of 'classic' public schools, and in to
'charter' public schools?

I do know this issue is turning some desperate black parents into skeptics of teacher's unions. What next? Free at last?
==========

Think of this: the educatio... (Below threshold)
kim:

Think of this: the educational opportunities afforded C. Rice in a segregated South half a century ago are far better than those offered most children in Northern Blue urban areas today.

If you are the least bit leftist, that is your theme for the ruminative moment you have today.
=====================================

We were able to get our old... (Below threshold)
Eric:

We were able to get our oldest and this fall middle daughter into a charter school. It has made a world of difference. The local elementary school is upper tier in the school rankings and has been open for 15 years. The Charter school has been open for 3 years and already surpasses the local elementary school in the rankings. It has improved in the rankings every year. My oldest daughter went from a C/D student to an A/B student the first year and has maintained those grades this year.

We had to enter a lottery to get into the Charter school and were lucky enough to get picked. Because we have one child in the school all of my other kids get in too.

What I have noticed over the years is that the best public schools tend to be in the richest neighborhoods, and the worst schools are in the poorest neighborhoods. Charter schools pull kids from all over the county and since they are chosen by lottery they tend to be much more diverse in racial and class make-up. Unfortunately, the county treats Charter schools like a red headed step child so money is tight at the school.

Some of the differences are:
The first big difference is parent are required to volunteer 20 hours a year at the school. It encourages parents to be more involved. In my daughter's old school I couldn't pick her principal out of a lineup. Now I am on a first name basis with the principal.

Uniforms are required. Kids are not allowed to where regular clothes so, they are not allowed to be distracted by fashion statements.

Poor performing teachers can be removed. Last year they let a teacher go who was not doing a good job. Her students were routinely behind the other classes and they ultimately let her go.

Charter schools create, by ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Charter schools create, by contract, accountability for students, parents, and teachers. This is a different model than present NEA loved governance.

The best teachers want to work in a 'chartered' environment. It is the paradigm of the future.
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