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Grading Charter Schools

With Mike Pesca in for Tom Ashbrook

Do charter schools make the grade? A closer look at their mixed report card, and accountability.

In this April 13, 2011 photo, children take part in a music class at the Mott Haven Academy Charter School, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP)

In this April 13, 2011 photo, children take part in a music class at the Mott Haven Academy Charter School, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP)

The promise of charter schools has clearly not been fully realized. There are successes, to be sure. But the question is: What to do with the failures?  At least a third of charter schools do worse than the public schools they replace.

Yet the rate of closure ; a new study reveals that only 6 percent of charters weren’t renewed.  Failing schools stay open despite evidence- wasn’t this why charter schools came about in the first place?

This hour, On Point: re-charting the waters for charter schools.

-Mike Pesca

Guests

Christopher Lubienski, Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois. He’s also the co-editor of The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications.

Greg Richmond, CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizer.

Charlene Reid, principal of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, which is a National Blue Ribbon nominee.

From The Reading List

LA Times “In the second effort to use the “parent trigger,” a landmark state law giving parents unprecedented power to force sweeping changes at low-performing schools, proponents turned in signatures last month representing 70% of Desert Trail’s 665 students to convert to a charter. Those campuses are mostly nonunion, publicly financed but independently run.”

The New York Times
“The charter school movement has expanded over the last 20 years largely on this promise: If exempted from some state regulations, charters could outperform traditional public schools because they have flexibility and can be more readily tailored to the needs of students. Another selling point is that these schools are supposed to be periodically reviewed when they renew their operating permits — and easily shut down if they fail.”

New York Daily News “Emotional students and teachers packed up years’ worth of belongings as their beloved school, St. Augustine, closed its doors forever last June. A charter school moved into the building.”

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  • Terry Tree Tree

    I hope they reveal how many Charter Schools grab money, then go out of business! 
        Also needed, is information on Charter Schools that use Public School rooms and other facilities at no, or reduced cost, and cost MORE, when ALL true costs and accomodations?

    • Hidan

       Notice how all the countries beating the U.S. in education are not using Charter Schools.

      • TomK in Boston

        Good point. Countries where the middle class is doing better have higher taxes, too. The righty agenda is all lies.

        Charter schools are nothing but another front in the war on government by the oligarchs. Privatize, bust the union, cherry pick the kids, avoid all the burden the public schools shoulder acting as parent, doctor, nutritionist, etc, pay some big salaries at the top, blow some smoke about performance, grab some $ from the public schools, yada yada. We’ve seen infinite reruns of this movie since 1980, and it hasn’t had a happy ending yet.

  • Yar

    Charter schools exclude some kids by design.  That makes a comparison with traditional public schools unfair.  
    Here is a case in point.
    My child teaches English to five and six year old children at a private school in a foreign country. Parents pay the equivalent of 600 dollars per month for their child to attend school,  These kids are reading and writing English (their second language) at what we call the third grade level while still in kindergarten.  Why are most US children so far behind these students?  Is success attributed solely to quality of the private school?  Will 600 dollars per month provide educational opportunities to be successful? 
    There is not a simple answer, but it is essential that both parents and children value education and that school is both rewarding and challenging.  For this to happen we as a society must also value children and provide meaningful opportunities for productive work for their parents.  Time is the most valuable resource in the education equation.  Look at how US children spend their time and you will find the answer to why we are missing the mark with their education.  Charter schools can’t solve the problem, they only divide the pie to their advantage.  We must do better.  I would start with two years of public service after high school.

    • Modavations

      End Welfare,reestablish the Nuclear Family,have famous Sports figures,Singers,Actors/actresses run adverts saying it’s cool to be educated.Privatize the public schools system and give out Vouchers.

      • Hidan

         False Dichotomy

      • Anonymous

        And when the private schools fail, then what.
         

        • Hidan

           Republicans then blame it on Public schools and the City/Town/Government failure and requires more deregulation.

          Republicans run on failure so such schools failing is an good thing since it allows them to bring out the tried talking points. 

      • Anonymous

        You do realize that welfare has been changed-  it is no longer a longterm state of dependence.  It is very important to have a social safety net.  Welfare is for families- and if you take away this safety net- we’ll have many more homeless children.  Did you know that 1/4th of children are living in poverty? This is shameful.
        I like the idea of having sports heros, etc. promoting education. 
        Privatizing ed and vouchers will create more of a class system in this country- more really, really poor.  Vouchers do not pay in full for a private school.  And, it creates the “poor voucher kids” mentality who have to attend a school via a handout vs. the rest of the kids on campus who can afford school.  This is not good.  And you cannot make schools compulsory if they are not public.
        And “reestablish the nuclear family”? Are you serious? Would you force that? Send anyone to jail who does not have a “nuclear family”?

        • Still Here

          A net yes, a hammock no.

          • Anonymous

            And you think someone gets a hammock?  I guess you’ve never been in that situation. 

          • Yar

            Still Here, you sure sound a lot like Modivations.  Hammock was mentioned by Moda 5 times in the last week. Moda never explains himself, can you tell us what you mean by safety net?

          • TFRX

            It’s a talking point, which only means they’re drinking from the same glass.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Two cars for each driver, free housing, high-paying jobs for any that complete high-school?   How many other nice dreams are you going to propose, WITHOUT real, practical ways to accomplish them?

      • TFRX

        Preach values first, their lives will magically get better second.

        Take away what little supports there are now, and there won’t be any further breakdown in the social fabric.

        (Don’t worry about, say, the food, housing, and asset insecurities the working class have had since the beginning of even the “Bush expansion”.)

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      “Charter schools exclude some kids by design.  That makes a comparison with traditional public schools unfair.”

      That’s the money quote and it’s true. Many charter schools do not take kids with low reading scores, kids with disabilities, and kids who will pull down their ratings. Public schools must take and accommodate  these kids by law (as they should).

      • Yar

        Even if they did not exclude, just having choice makes a comparison invalid.  Parents who can chose will chose the best option the can, given a choice.  Choice itself becomes a filter. We need to provide quality education in all schools and for all children. A scarcity model fails the larger society.  There are other factors that limit choice for many people.
        @@fa4bc3cbae1b2d01bfa84cf9b03ff954:disqus has a point about reestablishing the Nuclear Family, and misses the point on the purpose of welfare.  Workable economics is essential to hold on to a family unit.  I understand the frustration with a drug addicted crime committing underclass in our society but that is not at the root of exploitation, it is a symptom, and form of expression of the exploitation.  Wealth is created from the bottom up, and when exploitative methods are used to obtain riches it creates polarization that divides the country into haves and wants.  

        In this season of Lent, ask God on whose shoulders you stand to hold your current position in society.  Brown VS Board of education proves to me that separate schools are not equal.  Vouchers or charter schools can’t solve the problem, I believe they will make the divide worse.

        Public service can help.  I would love to have a discussion on how two years of conscripted public service after high school can transform this nation.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          I agree, public service can help, but that’s after the fact. We’re talking K12 here and the effects of public service would have to trickle down through years of better nurturing in families.

          That said, I would argue that the family problems don’t just occur with poor people, they also occur with 1%ers. Parents micro-managing their children’s lives is also a problem in a classroom. Ever met a “helicopter mom”? The more aggressive form of this species we call a “blackhawk” (for attack mom).

          • Yar

            What if some conscripted public service is used to improve schools?  My plan is to add an hour to the school day and use it for physical activity for all students.  Tutors, teaching assistants, there are plenty of opportunities to use public service in schools.  I also want to give teachers a full hour off for lunch,  They can leave campus during that hour if they want, it is their time. They might not like it because, I am don’t plan to pay them for a free lunch hour. 
            I want to return the job teaching to a professional job and quit treating teachers like they are assembly line workers.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ‘Blackhawk’ parents?  Good name for problem parents!  Most of them cause their children to accomplish LESS, and have LOW actual self-esteem, due to excessive parental meddling?

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            Terry: When they do their kids’ homework  and fill out their college applications and organize every minute of their kids’ time, they’re enabling their kids to the point where the kids are much less independent than they think.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I TOTALLY AGREE!  Dealt with some, when I substitute taught, MORE, in classes with my children!
                Including dads that insist ‘their’ child is the best quarterback, pitcher, STAR of every sport, when the child is not, or wants to prove themselves in competition!

        • aj

          “drug addicted crime committing underclass”

          Is profoundly ignorant and dare I say rascist.  It merely demonstrates, that you have no clue what life (real day 2 day life) is like in this country for impoverished wards of big cities, OR impoverished rural appalachia-type counties.

          I know you are trying to be progressive, and I agree that crime is a symptom rather than a root cause.  But to just blanket label an entire population with slander is not accurate nor helpful.

          • Yar

            I was not talking about cities or race, I live in a rural area, we have one of the highest rate of meth addiction rates in the nation, I am talking about my community and it is very white.  Please don’t make assumptions about me.   I am saying that these are symptoms, not causes. Exploitation leads to hopelessness, hopelessness leads to searching for escape through drugs, drugs leads to crime.  The root cause is exploitation, it occurs in cities and in rural areas.  Education is the best defense against exploitation. I was trying to use language that Modivations can understand. 
            I am not saying that all people who are exploited turn to drugs, but there is a cause and effect.  This is nothing new, read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            My rural area has the same demographics and the same meth problems.   The children of these criminals suffer in so many ways?

          • Yar

            It is a real scourge on our community, in a school population of 5000 we have around 200 homeless students during a school year. High school students don’t fair very well in the foster care program. I would like to see high school dorms to care for these students who have a dangerous home environment. Another project for the two years of conscripted service I am promoting. Some kids are left in homes that they shouldn’t be in simply because the state doesn’t know what to do with them.
            Rural homelessness looks very different than urban homelessness, it is younger and exists from couch to couch. My church participates in a weekend backpack program for middle school students. I expect most of the children we are helping live in homes with substance abuse. I don’t have an answer, but try to help.

      • Anonymous

        This is true-  but it is illegal.  I’m not sure why it is allowed to continue.  Maybe they do not do anything until there is a lawsuit? 
        Charters also exclude by not providing transportation (not all but some).  This is a huge way to exclude children whose parents both work or who can’t be bothered.  Plus, if there is a lottery to get into the small, exclusive charter, this is by definition, a way to exclude. 

        • Yar

          Ten percent of students may incur 50 percent of a district’s resources.  Excluding even a small number of high cost students dramatically changes the total cost of education.  When one student takes a full time staff member, it doubles the cost to a district for single class.  We need transparency when measuring costs per student.

      • Marion King

         In Massachusetts, kids with special needs are not allowed to be excluded by charter schools.  So they just make attending the school untenable for these kids.  I asserted this on air today and the guest brushed off my comment by falsely alleging that the laws are enforced.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

        Marion King

  • U.S. Vet.

    America’s public schools are failing miserably. 

    Teachers unions like the leftist N.E.A. are not concerned with educating students, there main focus is to keep sub-standard teachers from getting fired so that they can keep collecting union dues from them.

    It’s very encouraging to see more parents pulling their children out of the public schools and home-school them instead since most Americans can’t afford to pay $30,000 a year tuition to send their children to private schools, like the Obama’s do.

    • Modavations

      The purpose of the Dem.Party is to keep poor people poor.I give you Section 8,you give me that Democrat Vote

      • Hidan

         ad nauseum

    • aj

      I am not a partisan.  Don’t misunderstand my post, this is not a defense of Democrats or their constituents which I am not.

      But, how would you explain South Carolina’s and Texas’ “public schools are failing miserably” (your words) when those public school districts statewide are in fact not organized.  Meaning the teachers are not members of your NEA or AFT boogey/straw man.

      You must provide an explanation of this FACT, for your ASSERTIONS to be taken seriously from a policy standpoint rather than just a partisan jab.

      • Gregg

        There are a lot of factor but illegal immigration skews the numbers in both states, especially Texas.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          NOT in other states, that have unions?

      • Anonymous

        aj, excellent points. I’m not a fan of unions myself.
        However I also see the need for them. To me it’s not so black and white. It’s clear this is about a larger problem. That our secondary education system is failing. That’s the issue. I don’t know if charter schools will fix this. From what I’ve read about them I don’t see any evidence to support that they will.

        • Anonymous

          Unions are simply personnel support.  I don’t know why people get so mad that unions are representing teacher interests.  That is what they exist to do.  It’s like being mad that the defense attorney defends the accused.  Sometimes the accused is guilty, sometimes innocent.  Either way-  they have the right to representation.  And teachers have the right to unionize for their due process interests. 

      • U.S. Vet.

        The fact is aj,

        that U.S. students have some of the worst science and math testing scores in the industrialized world!

        All the while the U.S. spends more money to ‘educate’ it’s students than any other country in the world.

        You’re the one aj who needs to look at the REAL FACTS instead of regurgitating the mindless propaganda being put out by leftist teacher unions, such as the N.E.A., who each year give millions of dollars to democratic candidates to keep “real change” from taking place in the classroom.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You IGNORED the question?

        • Noel

          And how do you explain that in most of that industrialized world, teachers are unionized.  According to your “it’s all the N.E.A’s fault” that shouldn’t be possible.

          Your arguments are inherently self-contradictory.

          • U.S. Vet.

            noel,

            Your foolish support of the corrupt and inefficient teachers unions who are failing miserably to educate this countries students,
             
            shows that you value blind partisanship over the truth.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            As a U.S. veteran myself, I see, and have seen several problems that have BIGGER effects, than union teachers!
               I have substitute taught, and took an ACTIVE interest in my children’s education and development.

          • aj

            Thank you for your service, Sir.

  • Modavations

    I posted a chart last week about Union funding of political canidates.The NEA gave 0% to the Republicans.Charters are insufficient in my opinion.Union thugs are still involved.Vouchers are the key,competition a must

    • Anonymous

      The Koch brothers gave 0% to Democrats and millions to Republican candidates. Crossroads GPS, run by Karl Rove is set to fund GOP candidates ti the tune of hundreds of millions. In fact just a few hundred people are funding the top running GOP candidates.

      I don’t see you complaining about these organizations.

      The only thuggish thing I see are you’re relentless diatribes.

      • Still Here

        How many tax dollars to Koch and Crossroads get?

        Teacher union thugs owe everything to tax dollars, dollars they get by “negotiating” with the people to whose campaigns they contribute.

        • Anonymous

          Worthless dribble.

        • Anonymous

          find another scapegoat… teachers and their representatives aren’t thugs! most teachers work hard for moderate wages … i did for 40 years with few perks. my daughter who is 28 just surpassed my lifetime high income. my district and union negotiated  no raises for the last 3 years, cuts in all departments except special ed, and diminished health benefits and loss of dental plan. also teachers were asked to work for 2 days with no pay. if you are Still Here, find out the facts before you attack.

      • Gregg

        The Koch brothers contributed to a dozen or so Democrat candidates, so you’re wrong. Lighten up, the elitist snark gets in you’re way and makes you look silly.

        “Still Here” points out the other glaring weakness in your comment.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      YOU also proved, in that same chart, that you lied about union contributions to Republican candidates!  Your ‘chemicals’ make you forget THAT?

      • Hidan

        Misleading
        Obvious
        Dentiloquy

        Abashed
        Genetic
        Unthinking
        Partisan
        Painful
        Yuppy

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Cute!  Maybe guppy, crows, and goat can help Moda?

  • jasongrow

    I hope that the show gives a bit of time to the debacle in Gloucester, MA in which the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School was granted a charter solely to satisfy a blatantly political agenda (see Secretary of Education Reville’s email to Commissioner Chester below) and in spite of the fact that one of the most highly regarded charter review processes issued a DO NOT RECOMMEND analysis of the application (also below). 

    The negative recommendation was then withheld from the Board of Education prior to their vote. This is believed to be the first time in MA charter history that a school was granted a charter in spite of failing to achieve a positive analysis from the Charter School Office. 

    Subsequently the school has lived up to that negative recommendation by performing near the bottom of the state in nearly every MCAS cohort and has achieved the distinction of having one of the lowest aggregate Student Growth Percentile results in Massachusetts. 

    “CSO RECOMMENDATION: DO NOT RECOMMEND
    The founding group is not recommended to be chartered because overall they did not meet the criteria for the final charter application. During the interview, they demonstrated that they might possess the capacity to open and oversee a charter school but it was not clear that it would be successful in the three areas of charter school accountability: creating an academic program that will support student achievement, organizational viability, and faithfulness to the proposed mission described in the charter application. We would encourage them to reapply in a subsequent year.

    “THE E-MAIL: The full text of the e-mail message from state Education Secretary Paul Reville to state Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester regarding the Gloucester charter school application, as obtained by the (Gloucester Daily) Times. 

    From: Reville, Paul 
    Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009, 11:54 p.m.
    To: Chester, Mitchell D. (DOE) 
    Subject: charters 

    Mitchell, 

    Hope all’s well and warm in AZ. I appreciated our talk today and your openness and flexibility. This situation presents one of those painful dilemmas. In addition to being a no-win situation, it forces us into a political cul de sac where we could be permanently trapped. Our reality is that we have to show some sympathy in this group of charters or we’ll get permanently labeled as hostile and they will cripple us with a number of key moderate allies like the Globe and the Boston Foundation. Frankly, I’d rather fight for the kids in the Waltham situation, but it sounds like you can’t find a solid basis for standing behind that one. I’m not inclined to push Worcester, so that leaves Gloucester. My inclination is to think that you, I and the Governor all need to send at least one positive signal in this batch, and I gather that you think the best candidate is Gloucester. Can you see your way clear to supporting it? Would you want to do the financial trigger even in light of likely stimulus aid? 

    Thanks for not seeing this as an independence issue. It really is a matter of positioning ourselves so that we can be viable to implement the rest of our agenda. It’s a tough but I think necessary pill to swallow. Let’s discuss some more tomorrow. 

    Paul

    • Marion King

       jasongrow

      Thank you for posting this correspondence.  Assuming it is legitimate, it shows how our education leaders in Massachusetts think, if you can call it that.

      Do you know of SPEDWatch?

      http://www.spedwatch.org

      Marion King

      • jasongrow

        Totally legitimate – http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x20313675/Charter-OK-based-on-agenda

        The recommendation is also a matter of public record. 

  • Hidan

    Charter Schools just make things worst. Notice no other Western Country are relying on them. There’s also loop holes which allow the Charter school to hire unqualified staff to teach along with allowing these Charter Schools to pick and choose who they want. This leaves the remaining children in even worst off position than before and allow leaves the more troubled and problematic children in public schools.

    • Lucretia591

      I am acquainted with a young man (in fact I employ him in the summer) who is working at a charter school in Massachusetts.  He has worked there for four years without a raise and he makes $18,000/yr.  He started as an aide and the teacher quit mid-year.  He took over the class but there is no way they are changing his pay.  This is what you can do to employees when you don’t have unions.  Like it?  He’s on Mass Health, because he can’t afford the premium deductions at the Charter and he is deservedly very low income.  So, taxpayers, you will get what you pay for.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    I do think Charter Schools have a place in the education system as they are excellent test beds for new educational programs, practices, and techniques but I do not think they should become a replacement for regular public schools. Rather than continue to create new charter schools at the expense of regular public schools, we should have one charter school for every school district or county but leave it at that. We could then take the best practices from that one charter school and spread them through out the school district, improving the system as a whole.

  • Hidan

     Why we oppose private school vouchers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4rtcn31FDI

    Nate Hennagin, Legislative Assistant at Americans United for Separation
    of Church and State, explains why private school
    vouchers are a bad
    idea.

    Independent Report Finds Major Problems with Maryland Voucher Proposal

    Last year, the BOAST Interim Study Group was created in the state of Maryland to examine and report on a recurring school voucher proposal most recently introduced in the 2011 General Assembly session. The Building Opportunities for All Students and Teachers (BOAST) in Maryland Tax Credit, if passed, would award an income tax credit in exchange for donating to a private school voucher program or “innovative educational programs” in public schools.The final BOAST report, released last month, finds numerous problems with the backdoor voucher proposal – the same concerns that AU routinely raises about voucher programs.First, the fiscal impact on the state could be significant. When it was last introduced, the bill had no cap on how much money could be appropriated to the program, and analysis looking at similar programs in other states found that $50 million was a reasonable estimate. Not all of this money would go to the schools, either. Up to 15 percent could be used by the “scholarship organizations” for overhead expenses and there are no provisions for fiscal accountability.

    The BOAST proposal lacks educational accountability measures as well. Participating schools would not be required to carry out standardized testing, giving parents no way to compare their children’s progress to previous years spent in public schools. Proponents of the bill tout the graduation and college acceptance rates of students in Catholic schools specifically, but these numbers do not control for family income, parental involvement, or a host of other factors that may impact the success of the typical Catholic school attendee. Additionally, graduation rates from these schools are not determined by the same standards and requirements as public Maryland schools, making accurate comparison impossible.The report also notes that participating private and religious schools would not have to adhere to the anti-discrimination laws that protect students and teachers in public schools. Admission and hiring determinations could legally be made on the basis of academic ability, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability status within the BOAST program.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Creating a free public school system for our children. there are always money and politics that make charter school a pain to create. If money is so easy I think politics will never be involved but the money is coming from the government there is always politics involved. a sad part for our children’s future.

    • Steve

      The money, ultimately, does not come from the government, but rather from the tax payer-unless you count the hum of the printing press.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        of course I know that. we pay taxes and the government collect the tax and use the tax payers’ money to built charter schools. You don’t see the broad of the spectrum. The government handles the money and getting the money from them is a pain.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the problem with charters-  It creates a dual system of schools.  Now, if there is plenty of money and our taxpayers do not mind spending more of their money- this is a great plan!  However, I do not think that is how it is really.  We have regular schools that are underfunded here in Florida.  Our schools have had signficant cuts for years now.  But, just yesterday in Tallahassee, there was a large rally to push our legislators to fund charters the same as regular schools.  So, where do people think this money will come from?  Our total budget is DECREASING, not increasing.  And yet, we are increasing the number of schools we support. 
    If you think that it isn’t an increase because the money goes with the child (it’s per pupil funding to the regular school or charter), you do not realize that our regular schools must continue to operate without those dollars coming in.  Some personnel and other fixed costs do not go down when you lose 10 kids to a charter school.  And, if the students do not like the charter, do not “win the lottery” for the charter, or get “invited to leave” the charter- there has to be an available desk for that child at their home school. 
    And what are the benefits for the extra money?  A smaller school that takes children from a larger area which focuses on an “innovative” teaching style.  We have a local charter that has 200 students.  There is a waiting list each year.  Kids are excluded who do not “win the lottery”.  Also, no transportation is provided.  Thus, students who cannot be driven by parents cannot attend.  Aftercare is a lot more expensive.  This is not a school for the low SES child.  It ends up being an exclusive school for mid to high SES families who have a stay at home parent who can drive to and fro.  Thus, the home schools where the children came from have a higher percentage of low SES students and those from working families.  Is this what we mean by choice?  Giving kids who are well off an opportunity to get a free “private” education?  This is an inefficient way for the government to provide a free education. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT  CONCISE  ANALYSIS!!

  • William

    It would be cheaper to allow more pro-choice solutions with our failed education system. Just give parents that don’t want their children to attend public school a few thousand dollars to help them defer the cost of private schools. We should not fund the entire tuition, but a few thousand dollars seems fair. It would help reduce overcrowding in public schools and save taxpayers money in operating the public school system. 

    • Hidan

       Socialism….

      Taking other tax dollars to give a few thousand dollars to someone else. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        I think Capitalism is the answer not Communism
        Communism is sharing the wealth to the people.
        Capitalism is taking the wealth of the people and distributing it to Wall Street to bail them out.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          By the way. Socialism or Communism has been helping the American economy for quite sometime now. What you heard from anti-communism ads and black propaganda of politicians during the 60s,70s and 80s is Passe. Those ideology of anti-communism was totally true. Democratic America is the only country in Human History that invaded too many countried in a span of 4 decades of my life time.

        • Hidan

           ism’s in there true form will fail.

      • William

        We would just be acting in a more fair way…that is what the Democrats and Obama have been saying for years…making it fair…

    • Anonymous

      We do not have overcrowding everywhere.  And-  that takes money out of our public schools and gives it to private schools.  Since our public schools have to be prepared to take all students- in case they come back or are kicked out-  we will have to spend to keep up the fixed costs of all public schools anyway.  This will cost taxpayers more in the long run.

      • William

         The overcrowding seems to be a problem everywhere because that issue is constantly raised. Taking money out of the public school system is a secondary concern. The primary concern is getting the best education for children. If that means giving parents money so they can pick their own school, so be it. The massive amount of money being spent now, especially the last 3 years indicates a out of control system that just does not delivery a good well educated student.

        • TFRX

          Your isolation is showing.

          What I hear you say is the “money should naturally” be given a chance to follow children to “better schools” (i.e. districts with fewer lower-class students).

          • William

            It is all about being fair and pro-choice. If we can have pro-choice in abortion, certainly we can encourage pro-choice in educating our children.

        • Anonymous

          Taking money out of the public school system will only lead to more overcrowding. 

          • William

            No it won’t. I will free up more seats and lessen the burden on the teachers.

          • Anonymous

            You seem to not know how they distribute teachers and students.  The state and district sets the amount of students per classroom based on how much money is in the budget.  Each school gets the amount of teachers to cover that amount of students in a formula that takes into account ESE rooms and other personnel- like the librarian for instance.  If there is less money, there will be less to pay teachers-  which is the largest budget expenditure (the teacher). Less money for teachers- fewer teachers can be employeed.  Fewer teachers means more kids have to be crammed into each room.  There is no “freeing up”.  Teachers are just laid off when there are fewer kids. 

  • Peter Smyth

    I have worked first hand with charters, having been a principal. It’s important to remember that there are charter schools and then there are charter schools run by networks and for profits.
    Here is a little addressed problem: charter are publicly funded. That’s tax money. So elected officials, not just parents and certainly not corporations, should be involved in their governance. And whatever metrics are used for outcomes should apply to charters. Of course standardized test scores are not an acceptable metric for any school.

    • Anonymous

      So, you would have more oversight of a charter school?  I agree.  The problem, though, is that when you add all these regulations-  guess what?  -  charters will look like regular public schools and less like “centers of innovation”.  We will find out why we needed these regulation measures.  So, is this what we want to spend extra money on?  Or shouldn’t we just work on the schools we already have?

      • Hidan

        With those regulations measures many Charter schools would indeed look like public schools and that’s the goal of the advocates of charter schools, To weaken the public school and eventually privatize the school systems.

      • aj

        I agree with all your post thus far.  It is easy to see where this is headed. 

        Eventually, the teacher bodies of these publically funded charter schools will get together and organize and you’ll have Unionized charter schools. 

        Which in principle I do not have a problem with.  But it goes to what your saying of creating wasteful dilluted and redundancy all while draining each tax dollar’s efficacy in the school district as a whole.

        But now with Obama fueling this distortion with tons of Federal Dept of Education dollars along with bi-partisan support in congress and powerful advocates such as the Gates Foundation who I believe have a financial interest in these reforms; I fear there is no turning back. 

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a good article that discusses ALEC-  a political group who is behind the push to privatize education:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/14-12#.T0VcjIgXqgw.twitter

    From this article:  “Voucher schools clearly should outperform public schools, but they do not. Nor are they less expensive; often private costs are shifted to taxpayers; a local school district typically pays for transportation, additional education services and administrative expenses. In programs like Milwaukee’s, the actual cost drains funds from the public schools and creates additional charges to taxpayers.”

    And:  “But a deeper crisis emerges when we privatize education. As Benjamin Barber has argued, “public schools are not merely schools for the public, but schools of publicness: institutions where we learn what it means to be a public and start down the road toward common national and civic identity.” What happens to our democracy when we return to an educational system whose access is defined by corporate interests and divided by class, language, ability, race and religion? In a push to free-market education, who pays in the end?”

    • TFRX

      If On Point were one-tenth as liberal as its detractors claim, barely a show would go by without the state’s (sic) rights pimps at ALEC being addressed.

  • Anonymous

    Mark Kenen, head of the Mass. Charter Public Schools Association, was so perplexed by the Gloucester situation that he actually had to ask his members publicly if they wanted him to support the school or support efforts to close it down.  In an email to his members he said:
    “The Gloucester controversy is a very tricky political situation for the charter school movement.  We’d love to know what you think!  Should we fight to keep the school open?  Should we support the Commissioner’s move to close the school?  Should we do something else?  Nothing at all?
    I realize you don’t know all the facts, only what you read/ hear in the news.  But we’d love to know what you think about the situation and how we should respond….”
    The case of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School is instructive when you look at the “debate” about charter schools.  Charter schools seem to have a sacred cow status in some quarters. The mystical belief in the power of calling a school charter rises to a quasi-religious level.   The defense mounted against anything that might reflect badly on even one school called charter,  for whatever reason even serious allegations of corruption, would do any religious extremist proud.
    When it comes to the GCACS, the charter “movement”, lobby, whatever you want to call it, actually behaves as badly, maybe worse, than how they like to portray unions, adopting a take no prisoners approach that won’t stand for any criticism of the magical wonders of schools called charter.
    As the online discussion in the Gloucester Daily Times shows, raise questions about the actions of state officials for whom there is, in the words of the court, considerable evidence that they ignored and violated the law in order to grant a charter for political reasons, and what you oftent get is a rush to change the subject – a lot of complaining about unions, teachers unions in particular.  
    You would think the people who want to blame the teachers unions for whatever they think is wrong in education (the world?) would have been smart enough to stay away from this particular school, but they are so blinded by their rage at public schools, eagerness to get their hands on some money, or mystical beliefs that calling a school charter makes it wonderful that they can’t help themselves.  So blind, in fact, that they keep going on about unions when, in the case of this school, the Patrick Administration caved in to what they percevied as a need to appease charter school advocates and grant a charter to someone, somewhere, regardless of quality.  Sec. of Ed. Paul Reville was kind enought to put that in writing, as noted in a comment above.

  • Steve

    I live in a large urban community that has had a failing public school system for nearly 35 years.  Many reasons:
         -disparate/changing economic system
         -the destruction of the family (enough blame to go around,
           both left and right)
         -misplaced priorities in education
         -good intentions that yield bad results
         -lack of social responsibilty
         -governmental engineering
         -??? (add your own)

    People with a choice will chose what is best for their children.  It is very difficult for me to use my children as social experiments. It seems to me that so many have bought out of our society that “the center cannot hold”.

    • Anonymous

      I’d add high stakes testing to the mix. 

      Here’s the thing that you describe very well-  none of the reasons you give are reasons that should make us move to privatization. 

      I do not know what you mean by destruction of the family nor governmental engineering.  But, we have poverty (low SES really).  And until we help the 1/4 of children who live in poverty, none of this will improve anything. 

      • aj

        Exactly.  It seems to me that all of these obstacles which are just perpetually in the public and political debate are just noise and cover for what is at the root cause of all these areas of policy.  Be it health education nutrition taxes housing crime/prisons, on and on; it all comes down to Economic Inequality. 

        But because the elected officials, and un-elected policy-makers and crucially the MEDIA are all in the top 1%, the GIANT ELEPHANT in the room (ECONOMIC INEQUALITY) is never REALLY addressed.  Because the decision makers are much too comfortable with status-quo!

  • Winston Smith

    I would suggest that since teachers get paid a 12 month exorbitant salary for 9 months of work, that we keep their pay flat but actually make them work the full 12 months.  This would provide more classroom instruction for students, who are in school less than virtually all western industrialized countries due to the successful efforts of the teachers’ unions to reduce the school year while at the same time foisting the lie on the American public that the problem is due to underfunding education. 

    • Anonymous

      Teachers get paid for the 9 months they work only.  An option though is that teachers can have this spread over 12 months so that it’s easier for them to budget- especially over the summer. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Teachers in the Philippines used their salaries to buy school supplies for their students. Majoirty of Public school teachers passed rigorous training to be able to teach at Public school. A lot of them have college and master’s degree in education just like our police officers that are also college graduate with the degree in criminology.

        • Anonymous

           Teachers need a masters degree and continued education  to keep their credentials in this Commonwealth as compared to policemen who get huge benefits that teachers do not get from the same town budgets –early retirement, better healthcare, pay for overtime  (this is huge), etc. And btw, when do we question powerful police unions that force towns to pay for them to be flagmen here. This doesn’t happen in other states.

          • Winston Smith

            There seems to be a common thread here…namely that public sector unions (teachers, police, postal workers, etc.) used their disproportionate influence (the Democrats are in their pocket) to inflate salaries and benefits at the expense of John Q Public.  What they need is a good whipping to bring them back down to reality.

          • Anonymous

            Where in the world do you get that??

        • Terry Tree Tree

          MANY teachers here buy school supplies with their own money. 
             Teachers here are supposed to pass similiar training and tests.

    • Anonymous

      In Texas there are no unions. They have awful schools and get the summers off. By the way most teachers who want to keep their accreditation use the summer time off to take courses and are required too. This comment speaks volumes to how little you know about how teachers are paid and how they work. They work 10 to 12 hour days by the way. They deal with all sorts of dysfunctional kids and parents. Is the system perfect, no, far from it.
      By the way you mention other industrial nations, a lot of the nations you are alluding to pay teachers a lot more than we do. In Japan they get about twice the salary they do here.

      Your comment says more about the way a large segment of this nation views teachers and education in general, with contempt.

      • Winston Smith

        The reason why there is so much dysfunctionality in the schools is that the atheistic teachers’ unions kicked God out and substituted valuable classroom time pushing liberal social agendas such as abortion, the immoral GLBT lifestyle, out of wedlock sexual activity, etc. which has led to a morally bankrupt society while at the same time reducing the amount of time available to teach the 3 Rs.

        • The_Chris

          NPR:Where’s the don’t like button?

          • Winston Smith

            Sometimes (as in this case) the truth hurts.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Child-Raping and Child-Abusing Catholics are better?  Authority figures, which are represented as ‘men of God’, raping children, and warning them if they tell, the priest will  fix it so the child goes to HELL?
              Clergy that protect, move, and enable these pedophiles, are probably pedophiles themselves?   ALL the way to the TOP?

        • Anonymous

          And time that could be spent teaching intelligent design. 

        • Anonymous

          You have got to be kidding me.  So, you have seen that teachers are teaching about abortion?  Wow- that would make the evening news.  Please, enlighten us with who and where and when that is taught.  Any proof at all?  Oh- and I’m sure- teachers are telling all the kiddies about how to have sex before marriage!  It’s right after the lesson on how to be gay.  Note my sarcasm.

          • Winston Smith

            We have expelled the Bible from the classroom, but encourage reading “Heather has two Mommies” and other books that promote homosexual perversion.

          • Anonymous

            The bible was not “expelled”.  School is not church.  And I’ve heard about that 1 time in 1 school that they had that book.  I’ve never heard of that book in schools and I have kids in school.  But, if it was- that would be fine with me. 

        • Alan in NH

          Winston: You clearly have not read any of the responses to your original post, and don’t seem willing to listen to any of the counter arguments or facts. Too bad. There’s some education, a teachable moment, for you here if you’re willing to partake in it. Atheistic teachers’ unions? Kicking God out? When was God in? Not in my generation in the 40s and 50s, and I appreciate that He or She was busy with more important matters in the universe at the time.

    • Anonymous

      Teachers don’t get paid for the summers… this is why they make low wages and many teachers must work summer jobs and after school jobs to make enough money to send their own kids to college or own  a home. By the way, I’d like to see class size diminished. Try teaching 5 classes of 28 kids each every day… that means researching planning, teaching, testing, grading and working with kids after school and many times at lunch, attending special ed meetings and communicating with parents and doing lunch and before school bus duty. You try it for a month and you’ll be surprised by your ignorance of what teaching is!

    • TFR

      Teachers work 180 days a year, can’t ever get fired, and it’s glorified daycare, right?

      So why didn’t conservatives just start becoming teachers en masse a generation ago? Their natural Randian superiority would have meant they’d dominate it by now.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You are obviously oblivious to the full range of teacher responsibilities and requirements?

    • Alan in NH

      I don’t often disagree violently with comments on this board but this one got to me. Written like a person who knows little about schools and teachers, and respects neither. First of all, “exorbitant?” 22K a year starting salary is exorbitant? Yes, some districts pay more, but some pay less. And the fact that the contract reads 12 month is a fiscal decision of districts. Most teachers, even a number of the veteran teachers (and administrators) at the top of the scale, find and NEED to find summer work to make ends meet.

      Second, unions have reduced the school day? Really? When I was in NY public schools in the 50s. our school day was the same length as my granddaughter’s is now, except in High School I had a four and a half hour day whose length had nothing to do with the bargaining of unions. It had to do with the size of the school and the number of students needing to be served. I don’t think you have your facts right on this one.

      Third, the “lie” that problems are due to underfunding? Study after study reveals the strong correlation between poverty of a region, poor funding of its schools, and poor results despite the best efforts of some very fine teachers. The district in which I currently work has some of the most dedicated teachers I’ve come across in my twenty year involvement with public education. But without adequate equipment, with overcrowded classrooms, and with the extra demands on teachers to be accountants and record keepers and state curriculum guideline facilitators in ways that the teachers who taught me never had to deal with, it’s a wonder that anything good happens.

      There is an historically grounded feeling in this country against respesting teachers, against paying them adequately, against valuing what they do. Those countries in Europe you cite don’t have such a tradition. I suggest you spend a little time in the classroom with a number of teachers and see what is really going on. Your view of education is one colored by ideology unaltered by fact.

  • Anonymous

    Phsssss..One more needle in the Republican Easy-answers-for- complex-problems mythology balloon.

    In any complex human endeavor, success is based upon continuous assessment of The Plan and its execution and when deficiencies are identified, they are addressed either through tweaking, renovation or re-architecting.

    Ideology based management is doomed. In the end, facts on the ground rule!

  • BSME for Kids

    Charter schools largely operate without many of the constraints such as mandated curriculum, services to the poor or handicapped, and excessive and redundant accountability that is placed on public schools. If charter schools can operate unfettered, why not lift these veils that bogs down public schools and afford them the same freedoms? The natural consequence of this two-tier system is that until public schools could operate as freely as charter schools, the educational landscape is not a level playing field and comparisons are not appropriate.

    • Anonymous

      You would like our regular public schools to no longer serve the disabled? 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Or get rid of the phony comparison, that gives Charter Schools, Parochial Schools, and Private Schools HUGE illegitimate advantages?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Charter is not my problem. My problem is how to get the money to educate my child to go to a better school without politics involved. The money and to have a better education for my child are my issues.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      We can argue all the day about Charter school especially Us - ordinary people but we can never really change the form of the Charter School.

      • Anonymous

        What do you mean?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          Well, a parent like me that grew up in a third world country but never really experienced having problems with public school system and then immigrated to America and experienced the politics of education in a develop nation is mind boggling.

          • Anonymous

            I can understand that.  What did you mean about “change the form of charter school” though?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Hiring more competent teachers that are expert in child behavior from 4 to 7 years old. The Philippine government concentrated their educational systems from pre-school to grade school. the most vital moment or time for a child’s learning.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            The Phil government hands out money for free in some remote islands to promote education as long the money is used to enroll a child in a school.

    • TFRX

      I hope “without politics involved” means you’re not worried about your local B of E taking a dump on science, the way (say) Kansas has.

  • Neil Friedman

    Charter school’s place us one step away from educational anarchy. What benefit there is in following this course of reform is beyond my comprehension especially when we consider how much emphasis is placed on  our students losing their competitive edge with children from  other countries. The only winners will be the students who get to attend the well financed charter schools, which will look very much like private schools without the tuitions and the corporation that support them. 

  • deuces_wild

    Public schools are not doing badly at all. Public school with poor students are doing badly. A definite distinction that should discussed.

    • Patrik

      Interesting point.

  • MarkVII88

    It is unfortunate that charter schools are not overwhelmingly successful compared to their public counterparts.  The broad idea of charter schools I think is a good one, to streamline the educational process, reduce overall costs of education, and to provide a choice of schools available to more people than just those who can fork out thousands of dollars for private school.  In particular, I am in favor of having more choices in educational opportunities for children.  Too often we hear of low standardized test scores and of all the efforts, programs, and money spent to help those in-need reach “proficient” levels of performance.  While I think it’s worthwhile to help those who need it reach a baseline level of academic performance, I also think it’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.  How much more could those who already excel achieve if they were given the same level of funding, attention, and opportunity as those who underperform?  Some charter schools (not all) offer an educational alternative for those students who excel to learn in an environment that may allow them a greater opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential.  There is no greater cop-out than when educators/administrators say that students who excel would do fine anywhere as a way to explain away why public schools have so few resources to spend on them.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MOST children that excell, WOULD excell almost anywhere! 
          The extra level of curiosity, and desire to learn, especially if their parents encouraged it, gives them the ability to excell.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The problem is that there is no fixed formula to providing a good education, or the powers that be just haven’t figured it what  it is. The big difference with charters is that there usually is not a huge, bloated, entrenched administration sitting on the school’s shoulders – maybe the problem in schools isn’t so much the teachers?

    • Anonymous

      And that promises to change as we see why we have all the bloated and entrenched administrations.  More of that is promised too as we put more and more mandates on schools to be “accountable”.

  • Yar

    Please spend 2 minutes talking about schools before Brown vs Board of education and how it changed public education.  This is still relevant as charter schools and vouchers are recreating a separate and unequal education.  
    People will never adequately fund the education of other people’s children.  This is at the root of why separate is always unequal.  Wealthy people have already abandoned public education, no wonder it is so hard to raise the tax revenues that fund our public school systems. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT QUESTION!!  I would like the answer to this, as would ANY Citizen?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    President Bush signed and passed the No Child Left Behind Act
    Where is the act?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      One good example are the public school teachers of Rhode Island majority are out of work and children are left behind.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      It got left behind!  Due to MANY ignored realities?

    • Obi Wan Cory

      It’s been left behind.

  • Patrik

    I know that one ‘size’ does not fit all, but we should be adopting or studying the education systems (or aspects of them) of the top countries in education; such as Findland.  This idea that we don’t need to adopt anyone else’s ideas because it’s not American is childish and will be one the decaying factors of this society, such as ancient Rome.

  • Kevin

    For those against charters, let’s apply the same standards they are judged by to America’s public schools. How many public school’s would be left standing? It’s amusing to hear those with vested interests assault charters, home-schooling–ANYTHING other than the status quo–while at the same time defending a system that fails scores of our children.

    I work at a university and can tell you the dumbest people I encounter work in the Teacher’s Education department. There’s nothing more ridiculous than the people who are charged with molding our future teachers. And this is coming from someone who attended public schools my whole life, and whose mother, father, and sister at one time taught in public schools.

    • Anonymous

      Some of the brightest people I know are teachers.  Having said that, I have to agree- the dept of ed has a reputation of being easier than some others.  But, instead of improving that problem-  you want to open charters?  Funny, but charters employee teachers who went through the same education degree as the teachers at the regular public school.  It doesn’t solve that problem. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    What percentage of Public Schools FAIL, in a TRUTHFUL, straight-up comparison to Charter Schools, that FAIL at 33%? 
       I’m asking for an HONEST comparison, NOT biased, and considering ALL aspects, costs, sucesses, etc…?

    • John C.

      I want this answered too!

    • Anonymous

      When we maintain charters bc regular schools also fail, we miss the point altogether.  Charters are supposed to be the fix to education-  give parents a “choice” and that will not only help the kids who go to the charters but it will improve the regular schools where they must compete.  Well, we are finding out that is a bunch of bull. 
      Charters are no better than the regular schools.  They are turning out to just be additional schools where we don’t need additional schools.  It’s an inefficient system of schools- and there is no benefit to it.  Why would you pay extra to get a brand name prescription if the generic is the identical thing?  You wouldn’t. 

  • John C.

    I think it would be very illustrative if we could compare failing charter schools that have not been shut down to public schools that are or are not failing in the same district.

    I don’t think you can look only at the charter schools rates of failure and make a judgement without comparing directly against performance of public schools.

    This is something I am very interested in seeing addressed on the show.

  • Quadraticus

    I agree that failing charter schools should be closed (or go out of business). The same should be true of traditional schools. The way to accomplish this is through choice and increased competition where the dollars follow the kids.

    The reason failing public schools never improve is that in all but a few jurisdictions the residents are a captive audience who can’t choose another public school and wind up paying for the failing school whether their kid attends or not (and even if they don’t have kids).

    • Anonymous

      Yes- the low SES schools continue on with issues.  The reason?  We aren’t doing anything about it.  The problem isn’t sucky teachers or the need to test some more.  The problem is low SES.  Closing the school will not cure that.  In fact, it makes it more difficult for low SES kids. 

    • Alan in NH

      Typically, where one finds a failing school, and I’m not talking about failing as defined by NCLB, you will find a failing neighborhood, a failing local culture, and an inadequate financial base for the school system. Someone said it earlier…we want to blame the teacher, blame the union, blame mismanagement when what we are looking at is a basic and pervasive economic inequality. Move toward fixing that and you move significantly toward fixing failing schools.

  • Mockymur

    For individualized education, especially in the arts, charter schools are the best public choice. My son graduated from a charter school, in a class of 5, and he is currently a university student in Mongolia focusing on traditional music performance. Charter schools aren’t for every kid but the option was a genuine boon for mine.

    • Anonymous

      Yes- and your child benefitted on the backs of the kids in the regular schools.  It is not to judge you and your child-  it is just the case that your education “choice” was funded by taxpayers and is an added expense.  A lot of kids cannot access that choice.  It’s lucky for your child and I do not blame anyone to take advantage of that available choice.  Just realize we may not want to continue that.  It just is not an efficient use of resources that are so limited.

      • TFRX

        They don’t call applying to a charter school “the lottery” for nothing!

        • Mockymur

          That’s right! My son struggled in public elementary school on a very small island – hence the low enrollment at the first charter school - because he is dyslexic.  The social problems  ( slow reading, embarassment at not being “the same” ) made his life a living hell. There was no money for private school & we would have had to send him off-island for that even if we were rich. We paid our taxes, like everybody else, so it was no “free ride” as Jupiter wants to claim. BTW: I haven’t seen ANY kids hunched over & deformed by the fact that mine really craved to learn & excells at it. The best education in the world can’t cure wilful ignorance & envy.

          • TFRX

            Everyone pays their taxes, but the chances of hitting the lottery into one of these schools approaches the chances of winning the other lottery.

          • Mockymur

            True. I won’t deny that luck played a huge role in my son’s academic survival as an adolescent & in his present dedication to furthering his education. Tuition at the university he attends is $2,500 a year. Read that again, it’s no typo. He could never afford to go to college here in the states. In this culture everybody’s a gambler whether they want to play or not. Shame on Americans that luck is such an important determiner of receiving a decent public education.

          • TFRX

            PS “Universtity student in Mongolia part”  sounds fascinating! He’s lucky to have you.

          • Mockymur

            Thanks, most humbly. His late dad was the one who really pushed our son to explore the musical world. If I had my druthers they’d both still be here today but all I can do is support my son every way I can and wish all children the best possible educations humanity can devise. Everywhere.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I am extremely happy for your son’s luck, and the chance to learn!
               Without all the superfluorus distraction from the REAL issues, and REAL answers to Great to Good education, we could take the best of what works, and apply it widely?

          • Mockymur

            Thanks, Terry, me too. Yes, I believe that we can provide excellent, thorough educations to all children if adult politics were removed from the equation. I was privately tutored in art & Spanish -for free- when I was a teen. The teachers were female members of my community who recognized that A) without art I’d die & B) I needed Spanish to graduate. They stepped up and I flourished. We can still do this for the next generation if we offer our skills to young people, free of charge, and if the parents will get off their high political horses & let us teach what the kids want to learn.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Class of 5?   Public Schools could do FAR better, if they could have classes of 5!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    One that never gets addressed is “failing” parents – if parents do not take an active role in their children’s education, there’s not much schools can do to fix that.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ACCURATE!!  Except that exceptional teachers CAN do a lot to ‘fix’ deprived children, IF they aren’t overloaded, IF their hands aren’t tied by ‘administration’, and IF a few more IF’s aren’t in their way!

  • Sam from New York

    They don’t get closed because opponents of teacher’s unions (who tend to donate to Democratic candidates) give lots of money to politicians to continue the transition from unionized public schools to non-union charters.

  • MarkVII88

    Why is the discussion focusing only on why failing charter schools aren’t closed?  Why doesn’t the discussion include why failing public schools aren’t closed or revamped?  In fact, charter schools are a recent educational development which must mean that there have been failing public schools that have been allowed to flounder on for many long years before a single charter school was even founded!  In an ideal world, it should be just as easy to fix/close a public school.

    • Anonymous

      Closing a regular public school does not help improve education.  Improving the school does. No need to close it.  It’s a building.  There is a reason to close the charter schools.  They are extra schools that we have to pay for and do not need.  If we worked on (and spent our money on) fixing the regular schools, no one would need a “choice”.

  • Obi Wan Cory

    Perhaps the American experiment is a failed one.

    • Yar

      Only if we are not willing to learn from our failures.

      • Dontfirebombme

        Only if we continue to let the extremists from one of two political party decide our choices for president.

  • Jcbeasley71

    One expectation of charter schools that does not get discussed, is how the models, management and styles of our successful charter school administrators and teachers get implemented into the surrounding public schools.  The very reason the charter schools exist in the first place. 

  • Michiganjf

    The American jobs market will never again be healthy unless it remains diversified, and IT WILL NOT remain diversified so long as schools emphasize ONLY math and reading by teaching to “No Child Left Behind” type tests.
     
    Bring back civics, history, social studies, art classes and industrial arts, health, etc… bring diversity back into American schools so that EVERYONE can find their niche and contribute to society according to each individual’s discovered strengths.

    Diversity in education served America well for decades, and the lack of diversity is now killing us.

    Republicans deserve scorn for thier backward view that schools teaching anything other than math and reading comprehension are somehow “socializing” our nation’s youth… to them, anyone with a decent education is dangerous because education encourages Americans to think for themselves and value facts over fiction and religious dogma. 

  • Robertyellis328

    I keep hearing about the need to close schools by as much as 15% per year. So in five to ten years they would all be closed? How many are opened each year?

  • aj

    Bottom Line:

    Charter schools are yet another Neo-Liberal solution, to avoid wreckoning with the underlying and fundamental point.  ECONOMIC INEQUALITY. 

    The 1% policy makers and meadia elite are simply way to comfortable to address the fundamental cause to all this Nation’s problems, including education.

    But to the 1%, I can only say ” It’s Your Funeral.”  The harder they come the harder they fall. 

    It’s sick how greedy people are in this country. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Wall Street should take over the Charter Schools so when they failed we can bail them out.

    • Michiganjf

      Charter Schools are an idea pushed and popularized by CONSERVATIVES, NOT “liberals!”

      Good Grief!!!

      • Michiganjf

        Republicans LOVE to deny every one of their past stupidities once the stupidity is undeniable [sic].

        • TFRX

          “Conservatism never fails. It is only failed by imperfect vessels.”

          When GWB was enjoying the steroid-induced approval ratings after 9/11 and a bended-knee press, he was a “conservative”. When the public got wise to him, down to 30% ratings, he was retconned into “never being a true conservative”.

        • RationalThinker

          Except for creationism over evolution.  They will NEVER deny that one.

      • TFRX

        “Neoliberals” are not liberals.

        They think the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets will do all, and therefore seek to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the world.

        All that “third-way”, “everyone (Democrats) is too partisan”, “Obama is too left-wing”, schtick? That’s the neoliberal’s wheelhouse.

        • Michiganjf

          Okay, point taken on re-read… yet it was still solidly CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS, especially under Bush 2, who pushed for the increased role now played by charter schools.

          • TFRX

            No prob, I’m with you there.

            I don’t trust “neoliberals” to have my back against right-wingers either. Not in this political and media landscape.

  • Sam

    Just looked up a KIPP school here in Buffalo and found this document that says they applied for a renewal and were denied. So the school was closed.

    “The State University Trustees have set
    high standards for charter renewal that guide the work of the Institute,” said
    Dr. Jennifer G. Sneed, Senior Vice President of the Charter Schools Institute.  “Our mandate is that it is simply not
    acceptable for a school to under-perform its local district, or even to
    outperform a struggling district.  We are
    committed to excellent schools that guide students to the highest levels of achievement
    possible.”
     

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=kipp%20sankofa%20charter%20school%20in%20buffalo%2C%20ny&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CD0QFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newyorkcharters.org%2Fdocuments%2FRenewalRelease-Buffalo-SankofaCharterSchool.doc&ei=MVxGT9jHEeqL0QH8ie2lDg&usg=AFQjCNHZHbNkaxtGwKMmyE9WYbWZHUNxZw&cad=rja

    interesting.
    So, not ALL under performing charter schools get to stay open.

  • Anonymous

    On special needs, the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School is again worth considering.

    In their sales pitch, parents were told that, “If a student can square dance, they don’t have a learning disability”.

    After attracting students with special needs, the school failed to provide needed services – this is well documented.

    • Anonymous

      UGH-  that school’s claim is obviously just not true.  Square dancing is not an accepted measure for learning disabilities.  Such bs.  It’s their way of getting out of paying for ESE services.  And that is a way that they exclude and save money.  The children then must get their services at the regular public schools. 

      • Anonymous

        The rhetoric of one of the school’s founders before the school opened, particularly the suggestion that students who went to the charter school might not need their IEPs, prompted someone to ask, “What is this going to be, Lourdes for the learning disabled?”

  • Morell Gregory

    Charters offer the opportunity for real Parent involvement, it is a community, an alternative, a grand experiment in American education. 

    • Anonymous

      You’ve got to be kidding me.  So, you are saying that the public schools do not provide an opportunity for “real” parent involvement? 

  • TFRX

    Are all teachers in the “rubber room” guilty until proved innocent? Just asking.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Ripping teachers doesn’t work when it’s being done by incompetent administrators.

  • Sam

    interesting
    http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2007/05/kipp-cuts-and-runs-in-buffalo.html

    The point the author brings up is .. what happens to a public school when it under performs?

    but, i am all for charter schools, that are run correctly and are in the business of educating kids, not in the business of paying teacher/administrator salaries

    In fact, why isn’t more charter schools are following such educational philosophies as Waldorf and Montessori and Park?

  • Ellen Dibble

    If colleges of education, training teachers, aren’t well above what Kevin, the commenter below, points out, then teachers rise because of their own determination, not because of the certifications they earn.  How does one become a teacher of pedagogy?  What schools of education are best respected for teacher training?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    How many people that have been fired, without just cause, wouldn’t have wanted a union to help them?
       How many people that have been injured due to job safety problems, wouldn’t want a union to help them?
       Look at labor history BEFORE unions, to see what will happen without unions?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think it’s hard to evaluate your own childhood teachers just as it is hard to evaluate your parents.  Mike was saying it’s like everyone hates Congress but likes their own congressperson.   Try to think what could have been for you, this grade, that grade, and forget the rosy-colored glasses.

    • Yar

      Ellen,
      I failed second grade, or at least I was held back by my parents.  My first second grade teacher did not have control of her class, I remember her snapping a rubber band on my arm to correct my behavior.  I am sure it would be called abuse today.  She also told me she could not teach me to write because I am left handed.  What is the effect this one teacher had on my life or others in her classes?  Was it all her fault? Her husband was away at war in Vietnam. I am the result of environmental factors, I have learned much from my limitations, they have also created opportunities.  I have plenty of compassion for those who struggle in school.  I will take a teacher and parents who care and want the best for each student over those who don’t any day.  Who would knowingly enter into the teaching profession if they don’t like kids.  

      One aspect of conscripted public service is that young adults have the opportunity to try on occupations before committing to a career.  I think it will give hooks to hang future knowledge on.  The greatest generation often refer to their military service as life changing events that gave them an advantage.
      Today my parents would have been told to give me drugs so I could sit still in class.  I don’t think that is the answer either.  I bet most everyone knows a kid who is just like I was as a second grade student.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        I am sorry to hear that Yar.

        • Yar

          Don’t be, my life is blessed in many ways.  My point is, that schools are part of the larger environment, we have been at war for a long time.  It creates stress for many families.  This has consequences for education. Don’t reserve blame for an individual teacher.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Thanks for that post.  As to conscripted public service that offers young adults an opportunity to be part of the “whole,” the way army service has in the past, with an umbrella of citizen participation becoming a common birthright of being American — I hope you keep posting about that and thinking about that.  Something in Congress is squelching that idea, and I may have heard what it was and thought that like most of Congress’s balkiness, there ain’t much I can do.
        For me, a couple of years of public service would have been a huge bonanza.  None of my schooling had the kind of practical, participatory, everyone-in-this-together type focus that such a program would have to have.  Alongside my other courses, I did train as a teacher of preschool, high school math and physics and English, and not so much because I chose it, but because women did that sort of thing.  I would have been a disaster as a teacher except maybe with truly enlightened leadership, and then I’d probably have burnt out in a decade.  The harder I studied education theory, the worse I did on the tests.  I think I achieved a D on a semifinal  when I studied hardest and knew the material cold, and thereafter I thought this was apparently not my field, not in that era.
             In primary school, the public school teachers had excellent control — with classes of about 50 — but I can’t say we learned anything except conformity.  Later, in private school, I had a classical education in elite, all-female environments.  The values had to do with the individual outdoing everyone else, being great enough to someday be studied by other students in other ages.  The real world, and the real-world challenges of most teenagers, were not on the table at all.  I have to read about those decades now, or watch it on PBS specials.   In particular, I don’t think the world knew what it wanted of people like me, except basically to be taken care of forever by some mindless male led astray by his lust, so we were not to get overeducated, and definitely not to get besmirched by entanglements with reality if at all possible.
           But I will say the parents “kept out of it.”  They were not supposed to get involved At All, as that would be cheating.   

  • Ellen Dibble

    Where I live there is a charter school “for the performing arts,” and another featuring Chinese language education from kindergarten, and these both pick up in areas where public schools cannot afford to devote resources, so I can’t imagine this area without them. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It seems when charter schools (or public schools) work, they still don’t know why – otherwise the methods and criteria could be replicated to other schools.

  • Mklsfrms

    Mike Peska I’ve had the opportunity to listen to you all week.  Frankly I’m disappointed.  I hear no enthusiasim in your voice, and let me tell you from personal experience, sarcasim is an ineffective tool when speaking to a broad or diverse audience.  (Re: Teachers were your parents therefore you lived the oppulent life style).  From some perspectives this is believable at face value.

  • Jared

    Please remember that unions are not protecting the bad worker–they are protecting the contract which both parties agreed to.  As a teacher, I don’t want the bad teacher(s) protected, but I recognize that there is a procedure that both district and union agreed to follow.  It seems that administrators prefer not to follow this and then vocalize that they are stuck and it’s the union’s fault.  You can fire even a tenured teacher, you just need follow the procedure.  Additionally, administrators are our bosses and when they tell use something to do, we have to do it–this isn’t the inmates running the prison.  
    The things that the  unions deal with, in my opinion, are issues about compensation and the school not paying a fair wage for the amount of work hours that they require.  Most of my colleagues would totally work a longer day or even a few weeks in the summer so we have time to create better lessons, follow district and state initiatives, etc., but only we’re getting paid for it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Last night I was very proud parent. I taught my 8 yr old how to read the dictionary. She was very happy to learned with me.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Congrats to you. Most parents are too lazy.

      • Yar

        No they are not.  Most parents care deeply for the best for their children.  Some don’t have the tools or energy to provide the best learning environment.  It is a false statement to say most parents are too lazy.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          I always remind my daughter when I was in grade school I have to teach myself how to read and do math. She said: why dad?
          Because my mother was busy working from 7 am to midnight. she asked again why she worked so late? I told her in order for me to go to school and buy food.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            You had no teachers??? Hogwash.

            How would you teach yourself, Mr. Lincoln?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            I had a teacher but when I was home I need help with my home work like math, reading or spelling. My mother was so busy working and my maids can only help me what they know.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            I am sure you are fluent in Spanish..to converse with the maids! Did the butlers speak with a proper  English accent?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Filipino maids don’t speak spanish.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Try pig latin.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Maids are not expensive in the Philippines even the poor has maids.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            sorry i didn’t taught myself how to read pig latin.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Well I was not a stupid kid and I didn’t know Lincoln taught himself how to read. if you want teach yourself how to tune up a car? what do you use and how do you learn from your mistakes? if you don’t have confidence in learning you are doom to fail.

          • Yar

            So, you know the love that is expressed through all of that hard work.  Many parents self sacrifice, even to the point that they don’t eat so their children won’t be so hungry.  We really don’t know what challenges anybody else faces, that is why we should not judge others. 

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            The expected reply of a PC robot. Do you ever originate critical thinking in your own head?

          • Yar

            I am a registered user of Disqus, I have made 1008 comments, with over 2000 likes. You can search my comments, they are all my original thoughts. I am influenced by my environment but I am not delusional. Instead of hate for parents that struggle to care for their children, please have some compassion on why they are in the situation they are in. You are a product of your environment, if you think it is not a factor, then, well who is delusional? Thank God I was born (or converted to) the
            right religious tradition, and that I am who I am. Every person on earth can recite that prayer, and be correct to their faith, shows we are not to judge. Personal attacks don’t promote understanding. This is why I chose not to respond to you, this response is not intended for your benefit, but for others who read this blog.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            it is hard to argue when the arguement is pointless.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            It seems to me that you have underscored much of what I said. BTW, don’t take it so personal…this is just the internet.  haha

            Finally:  there is NO god.

          • Yar

            If I am wrong about God, I don’t see any part of my life that I regret. How will you feel if you are wrong? Would you have regrets?

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Sorry, you are wrong about god. And you are just hedging your bets. That is not true faith. 

          • Yar

            I believe you are wrong about me, I truly enjoy the life I have, I find joy in service to others. I am not hedging any bet.
            Sorry you see life through such a dirty lens.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Oh really?  Look at where the US ranks in test scores. Who is responsible for that?

          Dont ask lazy parents, likely divorced, to give up the TV remote. You live in a delusional world.

          • Yar

            Not worthy of a response.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Because you cannot refute the truth with delusion. You are nothing more than a PC apologist for cultural FAILURE.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Yar, it is part of the problem, to some degree.  It hurts, but sometimes the truth hurts?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        you can never say that.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          I just did, and educational tests prove it.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    I listen with amazement that so much discussion is simply on the teachers. I know it it beyond the bounds of PC to talk honestly about this issue, so noboy can mention that the culture of failure which exists in the homes of these students is the real cause of the problem.

    High drop out rates, crime, gangs, unwed mothers  are all cultural failings. One can have the best teachers in the world and it will be difficult to change the cuture in which these kids were raised.

    Minority kids who show a desire for achievement are accused of acting white. There is no greater indicator of the bankruptcy of the culture which produces this thinking than the statement itself.

    • TFRX

      There is too much fetishizing over the “magical teacher” as the cure-all for everything in the immediate community, the immediate families, and the students.

      And documentaries aren’t really helping on that score. (I’m looking at you, “Waiting for Superman”.)

      Given that, why would anyone want to teach at a school with so many non-elite students when all the teacher is measured on is the numerical test results? Why are we judging them like we would a factory assembling widgets?

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

        What does “non-elite” mean? If you are implying that all whites are elite, and all non-whites are non-elite, I would disagree…too broad a brush.

        • TFRX

          It has much to do with the wealth of the community at large.

          Non-elite are just what it implies, as for example Yar (I think) mentioned down-thread in a community with a big meth epidemic. That’s one kind of non-elite.

          I can’t for the life of me wonder why a teacher would want to teach there, in the environment where a teacher’s resume is only as good as the last standardized tests their students take. That NCLB wants to make this about statistics has no bearing in a world where the students are not randomly distributed (let alone equally).

          It reminds me of Brando’s opinion on the Best Actor Oscar: Only if they all line up and play “Hamlet”.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            I say nonsese. It is the culture of the people in the community. A culture of achievement and respect for knowledge results in intelligent and educated kids…not on drugs.

            A culture of gangs, drugs, lack of respect for education produces criminal thugs…most of whom wind up behind bars.

          • TFRX

            And the wealth and the culture are not correlated at all?

            Funny where there’s wealth the values are magically better. Odd that where the recession is hardest-hitting the values disappear fastest.

          • Anonymous

            I agree that using the test results as the only measure of teacher/school effectiveness without truly randomizing the population is not fair. At our schools the few male teachers get all the difficult boys to teach….

  • Rpx47

    I am heart sick.. My daughter finally was given an IEP at the end of grade 5 I had been proactively seeking help for her since she was 3 years old. She is in grade 6 now, going to middle school next year….

    Only I want to repeat her, I have absolutely no support from the school district, they only want to see go through because she would have the IEP they would “teach to the grade level she is at”

    They cite studies that say that kids that repeat have lower self esteem….

    I pulled her out in grade 2-3 put her into a private school. Waste of time and money…the school eventually went bankrupt…

    Where are my rights as a parent…. Why can’t they see how stupid it is to push these kids through when they are soooo clearly not ready.

    • Yar

      You as a parent know best what will work for your own child.  Do what your heart tells you.  It is best to build a partnership with your child’s teachers.  Schools have some fear of parents that hold them accountable, but if you can move to the same side of the table, and try to acknowledge that you both have the best interest of your child at heart.  Talk to your child, they also know what they need, they may have trouble expressing it in language, in their gut they know what works for them.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Yes my daughter talked to me last night. she made a menu for her Ava’s cafe. the prices she put were a little expensive but that was so cute – the front of the menu were specials of the day.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        I am afraid to talk to her teachers.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          If you talk to them reasonably, like Yar advises, there is little to fear, and much to gain for your daughter.

          • Marion King

             If only this were true.  I see problems in special education as being driven by administrators who hold the power to make the lives of teachers untenable.  Teachers toe the line because they know the consequences for bucking the system.  Parents who go to their child’s teacher to get things changed – when there is a history of neglecting the needs of the child, as has happened with the original poster – are seldom successful. 

            What is needed in special education is accountability.  The feds give money to the states.  Why will they not hold the states accountable?  The states do the same thing with the Districts, and those Districts know that there is no consequence to them for ignoring the needs of children. 

            For more information about the special education system in Massachusetts, go to http://www.spedwatch.org and read the Broken Promises report or summary.  All numbers are quoted from department of ed publications!

            Marion King
            Foxborough MA
            SPEDWatch member

        • Yar

          You should be more afraid if you don’t.  Think through the dynamic, maybe the school triggers some hidden stresses in your past, it did for me. Maybe your child’s struggles trigger struggles from your own school experience, this can make the discussion feel very personal.  Teachers will often sit you in a student desk that is too small and it puts you at a psychological disadvantage. It positions them in a position of authority.  If you expect these things and see them as defensive moves by an unsure teacher, then you will feel stronger when you talk.  I am an advocate of having the student with an IEP participate in all meetings.  By the time they are in middle school it is even more important.  One thing your child should never question is that you are honest with them.  I have experienced similar fear when meeting with my child’s teachers.  
          I am a mother bear when it comes to advocating for my child.  It is not wise to mess with me when it comes to my children’s best interest.  Attitude is contagious, stand up for your child’s rights while trying to stay positive.  The IEP gives you more power, learn how to use it. You really do know best, listen to their advice with an open mind but remember you are the one in charge.  My parents did not tell me that I was going to be held back, that was kind of traumatic in its own way.  Make sure your child understands your decision.  There is more than one way to address a problem.  Do what you think is best.  It is also smart to go to teacher conferences when things are going well, it gives your child’s teacher a chance to brag on your child.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Perhaps they are afraid to talk to you.

    • Alan in NH

      A lot depends on the ways in which, in your view, your daughter is not ready to move on. Is she socially young? With what other aged children does she tend to associate? What are the issues? Are we talking about an academic deficit such as not being able to read near grade level? Or might she be a student with multiple challenges? If your daughter did an extra year earlier, and is now going into grade 7 next year, she must be 12? What does she think of her options? How important is it for her to stay with the kids she currently knows?

      I’m not sure what state you are in. In NH, a parent has a right to appeal such a decision to the State. Have you investigated your own options?

    • Anonymous

      As a parent you have the choice to have her repeat. You may have to work really hard to get it done, but talk to the principal, guidance counsellor, some of her classroom teachers. During the IEP meeting bring this up and explain clearly why you want this for your child. Here we have trained parent mentors that are helpful in bridging the gap between school and parent. But as a parent you have to advocate for your child, as you know your child better than anyone.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Can you teach her to get her up to grade level?   Can someone else?  If you managed the cost of private school, you should be able to get a tutor?
         Good Luck.  Don’t quit trying to help her!  She will be a better person for it, if you keep trying.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Is it funny to hear about the Elite.
     
    Yes they have college degrees from Ivy League schools or some great schools in Europe but the only thing those RICH PEOPLE learned were to betray and steal from the American people. They said Wall Street is the haven of smart people with the intention to fool the American people with sub-prime mortgages, derivatives and credit default swap that ultimately destroyed the American middle class and the American economy.
     
    Yes the elite indeed in America.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      The elite that attended great school to learn how to Fleece the American middle class. The street name for those people are dead beat.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    While the non elite are craddle of economic recovery the hard working Americans that are sacrificing everyday to make America a great country again.

  • Rebekah

    A friend left a good job at a public school to work for a charter school for significantly less pay.  She worked a longer day, and they expected her to attend many after school meetings, making for what was often a 12 hour day.  After 7 years with the school, they fired her because she was less willing that the younger new hires to work the long hours.  She didn’t have the protection of tenure or a union to back her up.  The day after she was fired, she received the parent awarded teacher of the year prize.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Priceless.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The anti-union types will be all over this travesty?

    • William

      Was that the same union that was rioting in WI last year? The same union that forced the local school systems to buy medical insurance from a union owned insurance company that cost more? That union?

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

        Ya, from that same wold that had child labor, no benefits, 70 hour work weeks. You know, virtual slave labor to benefit the capitalists in the 19th century. It is people like you who greedily take the benefits WON by union people…and NEVER given by any damned corporation without a fight.
        People like you would turn the clock back 150 years. You represent dangerous and reactionary thinking.

    • Greygower

       And that’s exactly what the plan is for every state. Blame the teachers for everything, micro-manage them and then fire them when they start making too much. Why can’t people see that these business people were never interested in education until we rang the dinner bell and said “Come and get a piece of this 600 billion dollar a year pie” Gates and Broad are giving, they’re buying, just like Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life! Every time they offer money there are strings attached. Just look at Race to the Top!

  • Anonymous

    Kudos to Mrs. Reed! I love her attitude and her commitment to her community. This is what we need more of, not the business model that is touted by politicians. 
    Two of my children went to a school that was chartered, but did not get much money from the State, the money was restricted to materials, not for staff – which everyone knows is the bulk of the expenditure for any school! As parents we wanted to know whether our children were learning, so we had the students take the IOWA test. All of the children did well. Of course we had a self select group of  parents – we all believed in the Montessori Philosophy of Education and to all of us Education was very important.The school eventually folded and my children now go to the local public schools. They have done extremely well there, in fact I wish the standards were a lot higher, as in the lower grades my kids were bored.I have one child that is in a special class for kids with IEP’s – most Charter Schools would not want this child, because he needs so many services, and thus is very expensive.I volunteer at the public schools (our school has 78% of children on free or reduced lunches) and find that many of the parents of the students at this school do not see education as important and consequently the students do not either and do not do well at school. The parents who make the effort to put their children into Charter Schools are already self selected. If a charter school has a waiting list and can choose their students – who will they choose? If you want your test scores to be good, which students would you choose?My biggest issue would be – private, public or charter – everyone should test their students on the same standardized tests every two year. This would give us a way to compare both across schools but also across time for the same student.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Challenge your children, with educational, but fun activities and training outside  of school?
         Encourage your children’s teachers to use them to help the slower students in the classes?  This helps yours from being bored, re-inforces their learning, helps the slower students, raises the class average,  helps the class to be able to go faster, so the other students don’t get bored too, cuts down on the disruption of the class by bored students?

      • Anonymous

        Agreed – we did and still do all those things :) and they never complain of being bored at home.  
        My son has Asperger’s so he’s not too good at the helping the slower kids in class thing, but my daughter is a natural, and their teachers have been great at using them to help the slower kids. And yes, we do a lot of practical fun educational things at home with the kids, which is why they are so far ahead, but they would prefer to do more challenging work at school. 
        Wish we had a Montessori approach here at our school, that would allow them to work at their own pace more easily. Fortunately, neither of my kids are prone to being disruptive. 
        Once they get to Junior High and High School they can take advanced classes and the problem goes away.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          GOOD FOR YOU!   Get teachers to let them do other educational, or scientific work, even not related to class, in your child’s free time?

  • Jason

    The host’s sister teacher works in a charter school in Chicago?  Does she know about The Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and staff?  It’s a union exclusively for charter school teachers. Check it out at chicagoacts.org

  • Michele

    Charter Schools are not private schools.  They are funded through public funds so that any advancements or unique and successful ideas they have implemented should be shared with other public schools.  Their ideas should not be viewed as proprietary.  The whole idea is to HELP CHILDREN LEARN.  Why is this always lost in debates over education where ego seems to trump the greater good?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe it’s not really about finding good ideas that can be replicated – we never hear about that actually happening, do we?

  • CharterTeacher

    I was a charter school teacher where we, the teachers, chose to unionize!  After working for 3 years in a hostile environment, and being 1 of 5 teachers that stayed/not fired, we knew that something had to be done since management was unresponsive and frankly didn’t care about the revolving door of teachers and principals.  Our students who often lacked stability in their own homes, now had to deal with instability at school.  My idealistic and naive perception of charter schools quickly changed from year 1 when I started teaching in this ‘college preparatory high school’.  We had to teach resource-reliant made-up subjects but no supplies nor proper resources given to us to teach them.  Many of us were made to teach subjects we were not certified in, fill out weekly 12-page prescriptive lesson plan templates, some teachers had to teach 5 different subjects, some taught in tiny storage rooms that were cleared out to use as classrooms, some had to give up their 1 and only preparation period of the day to go sub for another teacher because admin didn’t want to pay for a sub, and the list goes on…! The school even changed the students’ grades and attendance records one year to make their performance look better!  When we tried to speak up about this and other illegal activities going on, many were fired.  We couldn’t believe that the school could pretty much get away with anything.  Where was the oversight??  The accountability??  The CEO even fired our principal because she seemed favorable to us organizing.  Why were the CEO and the school board so opposed to us unionizing?  Were they really interested in innovation and creativity like what is so often and generically claimed? No, it was because they were afraid that we would hold them more accountable!  They didn’t want us to have a voice.  Now that this charter school is unionized and has a mutually negotiated legal contract, teachers no longer have to be afraid that they are at-will employees and get fired anytime for any/no reason.  There is now a fair due process in place, reasonable teaching load, clear cut salary schedule, an increase in teacher retention, teacher involvement in school-based decisions and recognition of our expertise in education.  You can have all this in a charter school and still be innovative and creative!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Cheating executives firing whistle-blowers?  How often is that scenario repeated?   The FAILED execs get $ MILLION Dollar BONE-USes, to ruin the company?

      • Modavations

        Bleat # 2
         The Greeeeedy Greeedys did it.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Moda’s goat agrees that the GREEDY rich did it?

  • Modavations

    Everything in Govt.that is termed Public should be privatized.Fire everyone and make them reapply.The Unions have killed everything in which they are involved

    • Terry Tree Tree

      YOU whine about union strikes, then call for FIRING every public employee, and make them re-apply?  THAT would take a LOT longer than most union strikes!

  • Sincereradical

    Great, another skewed panel on school reform.   Where’s Alfie Kohn, who is an expert on progressive eduction, the kind of Deweyite education we used to respect?   Where’s Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol?   I also notice the school in the picture is not integrated.   White and black kids do need to interact more. 

  • Modavations

    The lady in charge of school testing was on C-Span 6 months(?)ago.She said the govt.tests in 7 disciplines and that last year Am.kids tested at the lowest levels, in each regime,ever.

  • Modavations

    When I was a lad we barely had multiple choice,it was essay and hand written mathematics.Now they complain about teaching to a test.It’s friggin multiple choice,how can kids blow that.

  • Modavations

    The real culprit is the nanny state and it’s destruction  of the nuclear family.Rubbish parents(or unfortuneatly,rubbish parent) and rubbish students.

  • Modavations

    Mount a campaign with famous singers,sports guys,etc,dressed to the max,with heavy bling.Run a campaign saying,you want bling, get an education.Make it hip to be educated.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Actually, I see some chance for this to work.  Not much, as most of the ‘cool’ entertainers don’t give an appearance of education?  It’s worth a try.

      • Modavations

        Direct that to someone who cares please

  • Modavations

    In 2008 Pres.Obama was screaming at Bush for $4.00 gas.When the Pres. took office gas was $1.86 per gallon.I paid $4.05 per gallon for Super, in Stowe,Vt.today.By the way what a bunch of fat,skanky looking characters in Vt.these days.Quit interbreeding guys.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      You are, of course, no doubt a movie star?

      • Modavations

        hang em

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Violence again?  guppy lost your meds?

          • Modavations

            I need the password to get into your Pervert Priest Pedophile  site.Terry says the site is his absolute favorite.I’ve always wondered what pedophilia is all about and with Priests to boot.Ooh La La.Schools are an  appropo subject for Terry.Because of his molestation problems Tenn. makes him stay 1 mile away from any school.I think he’s prone to recidivism

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Add delusional to your LONG list of symptoms…

          • Modavations

            Is there a point

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Don’t try to put your perversion on me!  I’m NOT interested in pedophilia.   YOU’RE the one saying you went to one, and are asking for more?

              YUCK!!

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Needs LOTS of meds. for sure.  i hope Medicare or Medicaid help him out.

          • Modavations

            Is there a point

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          You are one crazy old coot for sure.

          • Modavations

            Are you making a point

          • Anonymous

            That your ignorant, is that not enough of a point? 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Advocating violence again?

      • Modavations

        Are you making a point.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Interbreeding guys?  YOU’RE the one that has announced getting ‘limp-wristed’ about guys on here?

      • Modavations

        Come on dude share the password to the pedophilia site.I want to see why you’re so attracted to the Pervert Priests you go on and on about.One day I asked Terry if he thinks of this stuff even when asleep.His reply was ,Pervert Priests molest young boys all night long.You are a psychotic Terry

        • Terry Tree Tree

          YOU want to go to a pedophile site?  I wouldn’t help you to that, if I knew how!

             Moda whines about name-calling?

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Spoken like a true nonsensical Republican propagandist. Neither Bush nor Obama set the price of oil. Your foolish comment is beyond all reason…just like your politics.

      What BS.

      • Modavations

        I can crash the price tonight.How you ask?I’d announce the Gulf is open for business,the XL Pipeline is open for business and Anwar is open for business.Friggin Frackin…..,let er rip

        • Terry Tree Tree

          TransCanada admitted some of the Keystone pipeline oil was to sell to China?

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Exactly. All of the oil would go to China. I live in a State where this is a big issue. Instead of the thousands of jobs promised by TC there will be only 20 permanent jobs. The rest are temporary construction jobs. The whole pipeline story is TC propaganda and lies.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Perhaps in your delusional dreams you do all you say. In the real world these tasks are so very much more complicated than that. But your comments are typically Republican, and typically full of jingoistic nonsense. Nothing more than empty slogans…as are the empty suits running for the Republican nomination.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Announcing the Gulf is open, and the Keystone Pipeline is open, especially, would do NOTHING to lower prices, as the pipeline will take years to build, and the Gulf will have to have drilling rigs moved in, which will take months.
             The oil and products will mostly be sold to other countries?

  • Modavations

    Forbes just rated Canada the # 1 spot in the world to do business.Why you ask?.Steven Harper and Laissez Faire economics.Intact families and the subsequent educated populace.No Terry not your homo stuff”Layzee Fairy’s”.You’re such a psycho

    • aj

      Single-payer healthcare.  It takes the burden off of companies and makes them more competitive vis a vis U.S. corporations saddled with their employees healthcare costs. 

      • aj

        Just admit that I’m right and move on.  Spare me the B.S.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Moda WHINES about name-calling?

    • aj

      I’m pretty sure Forbes rated Ireland and Iceland #1 & #2 spot to do buisness in 2008. 

      A couple of months later Iceland defaulted on its debt to the U.K.  And those Irish suckers will be paying off their “laissez faire banks” debt which their shameless “laissez faire government” NATIONALIZED!!! for the next 50 years, prompting an exodus if emigre’s not seen since the Irish Potato Famine of 1848. 

      Those are facts.  Your full of Crap.

    • Anonymous

      Single payer health care, tough banking regulations seem to be the a few things the likes of you would be bitching about fella.
      Which happened to prevent the Canadians from following the US down the housing bubble rabbit hole. 

  • Modavations

    The Union just killed the Post Office

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Higher-paid executives made NO costly mistakes?  Building Post Offices that are energy-inefficient?   Purchases of faulty computer systems and software?
          MANY other expensive ‘executive decisions’?

  • Modavations

    Terry,meet Jason A.Play nice I’m off for dinner.Jason A don’t turn your back on this character,if you get my drift

  • Mudshark

    If you really want to know how bad charter schools can be in regards to both individual schools and the impact they have on communities and public education, look no further than Chicago where our current Sect. of Ed was the CEO of CPS during a period of massive, top-down privatization “reform” efforts. Now Arne Duncan has made privatization a requirement for the receipt of badly needed school funds, which is why so many states and districts have been ignoring the research and the voices of parents, teachers, and students. Its all about money and making sure it goes to the right people. These privatization “reforms” have nothing to do with educating children.

  • Enriquezseattle

    I work as a pediatrician in inner city Milwaukee and I see with sadness that voucher and charter schools do nothing for children who have learning disabilities or any type of special needs.  I think This type of schools are robbing our students opportunities  to learn and are robbing our tax  money

  • Marion King

    I called in to the program today and made a point about special education.  My experience was that our local charter school failed to appropriately serve our students with special needs in an effort to get parents to take the kids back to the local district schools.  Kids with special needs were simply not welcome, despite regulations that they must be served.

    Mike’s guest from the charter school background said that there is a special education “police” (HIS WORD!).   IT WAS A COMPLETE FALSEHOOD!  He referred to people whose job it is to make sure that the schools follow the legal agreement between the school and the parent regarding the needs of the student.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING!  The only people who do this are the parents themselves!

    As parents, we have to deal with our child’s disability in every single facet of our lives.  This includes initiating a Due Process Hearing if the education plan is not appropriately written and/or implemented.  This process is expensive, exhausting, and has sent many a family into bankruptcy!

    The man – I did not catch his name as I was driving to my college class to better my family’s situation – has no shame and no credibility.

    Marion King
    Foxborough MA

    • Greygower

       Actually, what the guest said, was that there NEEDS to be  a police officer on special education. He didn’t say there is one.
       My problem with this broadcast is that nowhere did they discuss the issue of charter schools being crammed down our throats in every state by the clever use of ALEC legislation, and how that depletes the money going to the public schools. They also are demonizing the unions in order to get rid of older, more expensive, teachers. Ultimately, charter schools have become about profit. Look who is pushing them! These are the people that don’t want to fund public education, they want public education to fund THEM!

    • Concerned citizen

      I heard your comment and feel that you are
      completely justified in your criticism of most charter school policies.
       In fairness to Greg Richmond (the guest “Charter School
      Authorizer”), he stated that there “needs to be” a policing
      agency to insure that charter schools are more accountable in accepting a wider
      spectrum of students, including “special needs” students like your
      son. At the same time he did not address the other issue brought up by the show’s
      host: charter schools are “skimming” the best students who would
      otherwise attend the local public schools. This too is a legitimate criticism,
      and has surely contributed to the demise of many public schools that would have
      benefitted from those same students.  Once the better students stop attending,
      an irreversible, vicious cycle ensues that ultimately contributes to the demise
      of the local public schools that cannot (and should not) be exclusive in their acceptance
      policy. Too often special needs students, those linguistically challenged
      (ESL), and otherwise “at risk” students are left with few, if any real options.
      I fear that for the most part the charter school movement has become another
      iteration of the ugly segregationist policies of our nation’s past.

    • Lequitis

       Although you misunderstood him you both sound like there is a need for this “police” system.  Sounds like you would make a great candidate to start it :)

  • Gmergenthaler

    I came in to this show a little late but I felt that all it was was propaganda for charter schools.
    Public schools are not being funded adequately enough to succeed. My son’s public school had to cut it’s art teacher! Most public schools where I live (NYC) give students just ONE 40 minute gym class a week if that. Horrible, processed school meals that need to be inhaled in 22 minutes..all microwaved, little actual cooking goes on. Recess time is 22 minutes. One 40 minute music class a WEEK if at all. No budget for “floating” teachers to help the students who need some one on one time. Overcrowded classes. Then they are told they are failing. This has nothing to do with teachers and their unions. This has to do with underfunding public schools.
    Then they close these “failing” schools and open charters…which DO have more funding from private organizations. If they didn’t they would not be able to send me the four color brochures I keep getting in the mail. These private organizations want to keep costs down (cheap, inexperienced teachers willing to work long hours), and they certainly don’t want the cost of English language learners or special eduacation students.
    As one person on the show did mention, there are many countries with excellent school systems that are almost 100% unionized. Finland for one. Unions are NOT the problem. And IMO union busting is a BIG reason for this push for charters.
    Without collective bargaining rights a school could give teachers classes of fifty students. A principal could fire a teacher for merely disagreeing with her philosophy.
    Unions are what made the middle class in this country strong. No wonder the middle class is disappearing.
    The use of standardized test scores to evaluate schools and teachers is sad. I live in a poor community and the percentage of English language learners is high. As a result, test scores are low. Basing teacher performance on test score is going to scare away good teach hers from my neighborhood.
    I really wish we would stop listening to Bill Gates about what makes a good teache, and instead ask some actual educators.

  • hoping

    I too am listening to a delayed broadcast of the program.  My sister recently returned to school & completed the requirements for a teaching degree with certification in special education.  She landed a 1st job at a Chicago Public School, K-8.  She has various roles & her continuing on the job education is an eye-opener.  One of the tragic points are the number of students who could benefit from a smaller class size & greater time and attention from a special education teacher but cannot receive this attention because no IEP, (Individualized Education Plan), has been signed by a parent.guardian, despite numerous attempts at contacting the adults.  So, problematic kids disrupt a standard classroom & then may eventually be suspended for several instances of “bad behavior).  A crazy lapse in oversight.

  • NPR fan

    I enjoyed the charter school discussion, but was disappointed in Mike Pesca.  Either Mike doesn’t understand that charter schools are public schools, or he was intent on willingfully creating confusion about charters being public schools.  He repeatedly referred to charters and, in contrast, “public schools”.  Either there wasn’t enough research done, or there was a deliberate attempt to be misleading.  I expect more from NPR.

  • Edfullertx

    @ NPR fan–actually there is case law that charters are not public and charters actually argue in court that they are not public, thus not subject to regulations/laws such as the freedom of information act, open meetings act, etc. Perhaps YOU should do your homework. (See Green and Mead’s new study at NEPC for more on this issue).

  • Ruth Zweifler

    please do more programming on charter/public schools.  Our public schools need much improvement but they will not achieve that when they are ordered to ‘improve!’ and promised that if they do they will be rewarded.  In the meantime the already inadequate resources to teach our most vulnerable children are drained further – each child that moves from the public system to a charter carries with him/her the student allocation.  There is immediate outrage when privatizing social security is mentioned but nary a word when we privatize schools and furthermore, do it with public dollars.  Charters are less monitored than the public schools, they can pleas capacity and turn away children.  So much more to say – please continue to really scrutinize programs, follow the money, keep a spotlight on.

  • Kfryman18

    charters are public schools, enrollment is determined by lottery so they can’t select their kids; they are not “private” in any way, but are independent of the local school district; they answer to the state, not the local district; the only kids they turn away are the ones left on long wait lists. as for acceptability, in massachusetts anyway, they are held to higher standards than district schools, which have been left open in spite of their poor performance. it’s a little xxxx to say that parents can’t determine what kind of public school they can send their kids to, since its their tax money than follows their kids to the charters. 

  • Kfryman18

    charters are public schools, enrollment is determined by lottery so they can’t select their kids; they are not “private” in any way, but are independent of the local school district; they answer to the state, not the local district; the only kids they turn away are the ones left on long wait lists. as for acceptability, in massachusetts anyway, they are held to higher standards than district schools, which have been left open in spite of their poor performance. it’s a little disingenuous to say that parents can’t determine what kind of public school they can send their kids to, since its their tax money than follows their kids to the charters. (sorry, typo in the first post)

  • Pingback: Charter Schools And Accountability « A Educação do meu Umbigo

  • CWarren

    I LOVE your show, but am NOT a fan of Mike Pesca.   He is good, but I do not think he hilights the qualitys of your show.  I know it must be hard to find a guest host, but its not impossible, for example, Like fresh airs Dave Davis dose for frsh air.  Hes not even the same sex as the regular host and has difforent oppinions and views but manages to keep the same feel to the show.  I hate it when Tom is out :(

  • Bin The Contractor

    To give public money to private enterprise is the zenith of stupidity. It combines (a) public service poor management with (b) private business greed. The result – higher cost, poorer performance, high executive bonuses. Only idiots can support such lobbyist-driven ideas.

  • Landry2176

    so, should we consider to fund constant low performing schools?  Public Charter schools are public,and has been stated, they to should and must make the grade.  Examining student achievement data in our state, I find many PUBLIC charter schools outperforming traditional schools.  Some may say that the PUBLIC charter schools have less students therefore skewing the mean; where there are many traditional schools equal to the student enrollment, and number of students taking the state examinations and the PUBLIC charter schools still outperform….if these schools are successful then we should all be glad.  However, if they are not successful, and they are using public tax dollars, then shut them down however also shut down the traditional schools failing also.  Why can we not talk in terms of and for the students instead of talking about the adults all the time.  

  • Pingback: State Lifts Cap On New Charter Schools | WBUR

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