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How do you feel about charter schools? - Page 4

post #61 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Well, I don't have a huge problem with the current schools, although they are a little too structured for my personal taste, but I know I'm probably on the far end of the spectrum on that. Our schools are above and beyond fine for what they are, but I'd like dd1 to be in this small environmental/arts charter where she can go out to the river nearby and count river critters and can become involved in their community art sale and can do canoeing for PE. I don't see how I can reform the current public school to reduce enrollment to that degree (25 kids per grade in this charter school) or offer the kinds of things that this school has the flexibility to offer. It's not that I have an issue with what the current public schools in our area offer, but just that I would like the option to explore some avenues of education that are a little out of the mainstream. I don't know that dd2 will go there also. She may be perfectly happy with our districted middle school when the time comes.

 

It seems to me if you could have an awesome public school system where there were many academic programs for gifted kids and where kids with special needs got their needs met and plenty of programs for the kids in between, then I'm not sure I see the issue with having a few out-of-the-mainstream public charter schools that offer something different. I understand it's not always the way it ends up, but it seems like that would be the ideal.


Beanma, I just wanted to say even though I've been a bit...er...opinionated here about opposing charter schools shy.gif, I totally get that you want the best for your daughter and want something a little different.  In addition to my son with special needs, I have an artistic outdoorsy daughter with no special needs who's in public school here, and although we're very happy with things overall and have no plans of leaving, we've faced some challenges with the structure you mentioned.  So basically, I feel ya.  

 

That said, the lift of the cap on charter schools worries be because I think we now run the risk of having more than "a few out-of-the-mainstream public charter schools that offer something different."  Much of the push for removing the cap was from conservatives who weren't really thinking about how this would create a few liberal crunchy alternative schools with the goal of being inclusive and multi-cultural if you know what I mean. I think there's a real risk of creating two systems here. In an ideal world though, I think your plan sounds wonderful, and I think my daughter would love that charter you mentioned. smile.gif

 


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/3/12 at 7:54am
post #62 of 124

 

 

Quote:
 then I'm not sure I see the issue with having a few out-of-the-mainstream public charter schools that offer something different.

 

 

just asking - why must this be public funded?

 

why must the public support what only a hand-full can have?

 

 

 

I guess when I see the overall I see $$$$$$ waste (plus numerous other problems) vs what the outcome is I really don't see priorities other than a parents push for only their child and the h- with those not as lucky- if it was more fair it would be more sellable but I see it so selective on so many fronts

 

at what point does individual preferences surpass society's need to educate the majority?

 

if this is the parents deep desire there is private - not tax payer funded

post #63 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

 

just asking - why must this be public funded?

 

why must the public support what only a hand-full can have?

I think we are looking at this all wrong. The reality is, even traditional public schools vary tremendously on what they offer from campus to campus and yet, not EVERY child can attend them. A child from the inner city would have NO opportunity to transfer into the wealthy, high performing coastal schools.... none at all! Had our district not opened an immersion school, my kids would have had NO opportunity to attend one because we didn't live in the right district and there are never openings for outside of district students. Even Magnets cater to their own districts and it's a rare out-of-district child that gets into one from outside of district in our county. At least the charters in our area are lottery based. It doesn't mater a lick where you live... in fact, all you have to do is live in the same state! They choose blind and can't accept kids based on ability, wealth, where they come from, ect. In fact, the charter applications include nothing but name, grade and contact information... no transcripts, no GATE or LD designations, nothing.

 

People are trying to make charter schools "unfair" without acknowledging that the public school system in general is NOT FAIR. We can tear apart charters but all that means is that the poorer district children will have NO chance of an alternative education. The wealthy area kids will still have superior schools to fall back on. How is THAT fair? Charters are at least an attempt to "share the wealth." 

 

In our area, they are more fantastic than not. They don't run out special needs kids. They don't favor gifted children. They don't make wealthier districts richer nor poorer districts poorer. There are plenty of excellent traditional schools that everyone wants to get into but simply can't because they don't live on the right street. There are plenty of magnets that kids can't get into because they don't test high enough or can't pass the audition or again, don't live in the right district. Reality is, charters are probably the most "fair" of the bunch.

 

 

post #64 of 124

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

just asking - why must this be public funded?

 

why must the public support what only a hand-full can have?


I think it could be argued that in theory charters could be more egalitarian than the private/public system because everyone (again, in theory) would have a choice regardless of income.  I think a lot of low and middle income parents just want the same choice that people who can afford private school have. As someone who can't afford private school for even one of my children much less both, I can sort of see the appeal on some level.  

 

Unfortunately, the reality is charters can end up being just as exclusive as private school. IMO, they're only slightly better than the voucher idea, and I have a real problem with public money going to privately run schools.  

 
post #65 of 124

 

 

Quote:
People are trying to make charter schools "unfair" without acknowledging that the public school system in general is NOT FAIR.

none of it is fair but 

 

unless you make it fair you have two systems here

 

unless your area makes it fair for all you are helping to add to the problem- are you not?

 

still it's the mine only counts here mentality I really have an issue with at others expense  

post #66 of 124

 

 

Quote:
Unfortunately, the reality is charters can end up being just as exclusive as private school. IMO, they're only slightly better than the voucher idea, and I have a real problem with public money going to privately run schools.  

 

that is how it is playing out here - theory is great.....reality is not

post #67 of 124
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

just asking - why must this be public funded?

 

why must the public support what only a hand-full can have?

 

 

serenbat, why NOT publicly funded? Why is it selective? Busing? I think buses are great, but our state doesn't fund busing for charters. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the charters in our area has raised money for their own fleet of buses. 

 

Is it special ed/needs? I think that many charters do a good job (or better) with some special needs like Aspie kids, and my needs like my dd1's of NVLD, ADHD, anxiety.

 

As far as what only a hand-full can have, I don't think there are more than a handful of students/parents in MY district who want a charter. The environmental/arts charter that I mentioned is in another district and draws about 150 students from 8 districts across the region. There's about a 50/50 chance that my dd1 will get in — so maybe there's 300 kids from 8 districts that would like to go there. We are out of district. It's about 25 minutes away from us, so I would think certainly there would be no more than 35-40 kids (300 ÷ 8) from our district (maybe less) who would even want to go there. The kids I know who go there aren't in our district. 

 

IF the public schools in an area can provide what most people want why NOT provide a more appropriate FAPE for kids who need something else? I'm just playing devil's advocate and I certainly do see your point about some districts siphoning off the easy and best and brightest and leaving the kids who have more needs or less resources behind. However, in an ideal world, if the traditional public schools were the best place to go for the most academically rigorous education, and had the most resources for special education, or ESL, and had the most sports options, etc, I'm not sure I see a lot of kids getting "left behind" if they don't get in a charter school.

 

There's one charter school in our district and it's basically a vocational high school. It has an enrollment of about 100-150. Our public high schools can be very competitive academically and I think having another option is great for some kids who flounder and are lost in the cracks in the big high schools (enrollment 1300 or so). I don't think there are many kids or parents who want that school, though, but it's great that it's there for the kids who need that who might otherwise just drop out of high school. If they can stick it out at the charter they can learn a trade and may be encouraged enough to go on to community college. 

 

In the really big district to the east of my area there are magnet schools with focuses on gifted/talented, IB, technology, arts, montessori. In the district to the immediate east/north of my area there are similar magnets. My district is small by comparison (10 elementary, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools) and there are no special schools. It's one size fits all here and if charters can provide some other options like magnets in other districts I'm not sure I see a huge problem with that. Transportation would be great, but again with a charter kids can come from out of district (like the environmental/arts charter school) so I think it could be tricky to figure that problem out for some schools that draw their students from a large geographic region. It could probably be done with carpools or a few central bus stops. Also, in our town, we have free city buses, so transportation could be more easily arranged for a charter here.

 

I don't know. I do appreciate all the viewpoints and I think I do understand the opposition more, but I don't think I can not let my kid go to the charter if she gets in. It's just a better fit for her. 

post #68 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

There's one charter school in our district and it's basically a vocational high school. It has an enrollment of about 100-150. Our public high schools can be very competitive academically and I think having another option is great for some kids who flounder and are lost in the cracks in the big high schools (enrollment 1300 or so). I don't think there are many kids or parents who want that school, though, but it's great that it's there for the kids who need that who might otherwise just drop out of high school. If they can stick it out at the charter they can learn a trade and may be encouraged enough to go on to community college. 


I think this is an issue the school district needs to address from within. There are many kids who are not university-bound that just get overlooked, and I don't think charter schools are the solution.  When my husband attended school here, they still had vocational classes. I think all students should have access to these types of classes and there should be something for kids who might not be bound for a four year college. I think it's unfortunate that this only being addressed at a charter school. 

 

Anyway, the amount of charters might increase here since the cap has been lifted as well as enrollment restrictions not to mention the possibility of getting capital funds, albeit a remote possibility here I think.  While we have good schools, I know a lot of people who, like you, are interested in alternatives to traditional public education. I think one of the things that might keep charters from opening in our local district might just be lack of affordable locations. Most people would be willing to drive out to the surrounding area.  

 

Sorry for sort of over contributing here. Off to enjoy the rest of the day!


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/3/12 at 9:36am
post #69 of 124

 

 

Quote:

serenbat, why NOT publicly funded? because unless everyone get the same equal chance it's not level is it? Why is it selective? because for most it is not based on an equal playing field Busing? there are many area near me that NEVER have had bussing-ever and I really see as so many have said how you really disenfranchise a certain segment in certain areas- to me that is not fair or equal I think buses are great, but our state doesn't fund busing for charters. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the charters in our area has raised money for their own fleet of buses. 

 

Is it special ed/needs? I certainly see this and seems so many others do to I think that many charters do a good job (or better) with some special needs like Aspie kids, and my needs like my dd1's of NVLD, ADHD, anxiety. again, why not just make a "special needs school"? that's how it use to be and parents had a fit (rightfully!) and demanded a change and now we seem to be going backwards - IMO

this to me is really the biggest problem I have with it

 

As far as what only a hand-full can have, I don't think there are more than a handful of students/parents in MY district who want a charter. The environmental/arts charter that I mentioned is in another district and draws about 150 students from 8 districts across the region. There's about a 50/50 chance that my dd1 will get in — so maybe there's 300 kids from 8 districts that would like to go there. We are out of district. It's about 25 minutes away from us, so I would think certainly there would be no more than 35-40 kids (300 ÷ 8) from our district (maybe less) who would even want to go there. The kids I know who go there aren't in our district. so only a hand full want it and the majority must pay for it? I don't even see this as feasible in your section? if they don't have a set number for enrollment is this even going to work? will your child end up bouncing from one school to another in the long run?

 

IF the public schools in an area can provide what most people want why NOT provide a more appropriate FAPE for kids who need something else? and why does this need to be done outside of the public school? I'm just playing devil's advocate (so am I) and I certainly do see your point about some districts siphoning off the easy and best and brightest and leaving the kids who have more needs or less resources behind. However, in an ideal world, if the traditional public schools were the best place to go for the most academically rigorous education, and had the most resources for special education, or ESL, and had the most sports options, etc, I'm not sure I see a lot of kids getting "left behind" if they don't get in a charter school.

 

There's one charter school in our district and it's basically a vocational high school. It has an enrollment of about 100-150. Our public high schools can be very competitive academically and I think having another option is great for some kids who flounder and are lost in the cracks in the big high schools (enrollment 1300 or so). I don't think there are many kids or parents who want that school, though, but it's great that it's there for the kids who need that who might otherwise just drop out of high school. If they can stick it out at the charter they can learn a trade and may be encouraged enough to go on to community college. we have had this for over 40+ years in my area - it's part of the public school system - the children go to vo-tech (that's what we call it) - you spend a portion of your day at your "home" school (you still must meet and take the required classes needed for graduation) and you go the majority of you time to vocational school- that is a regional (per county in my area) school- you are selected based on the quota for your school- all being equal and you must meet the requirements on top of that- it's run by the public schools (no outside for profit) - each district kicks in the same money- it is not a "charter" or a magnet not run like it 

requirements are very basic - showing up is the big thing, if you have lots of unexcused absents you can't get into the program- grades are not what I feel they should be but they really let who ever wants in at least try- most programs are set up so that you take the "required state board" testing at the end- same as if you paid and went to a private voc school (after graduation! in my area they require GED or grad to attend for profit schools) - this is one of the counties near here -  http://www.citvt.com/home/

 

In the really big district to the east of my area there are magnet schools with focuses on gifted/talented, IB, technology, arts, montessori. In the district to the immediate east/north of my area there are similar magnets. My district is small by comparison (10 elementary, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools) and there are no special schools. It's one size fits all here and if charters can provide some other options like magnets in other districts I'm not sure I see a huge problem with that. Transportation would be great, but again with a charter kids can come from out of district (like the environmental/arts charter school) so I think it could be tricky to figure that problem out for some schools that draw their students from a large geographic region. It could probably be done with carpools or a few central bus stops. Also, in our town, we have free city buses, so transportation could be more easily arranged for a charter here.

 

I don't know. I do appreciate all the viewpoints and I think I do understand the opposition more, but I don't think I can not let my kid go to the charter if she gets in. It's just a better fit for her. 

 


Edited by serenbat - 2/3/12 at 9:37am
post #70 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

none of it is fair but 

 

unless you make it fair you have two systems here

 

unless your area makes it fair for all you are helping to add to the problem- are you not?

 

still it's the mine only counts here mentality I really have an issue with at others expense  


We just aren't going to agree. Progress requires people to step up and say "this isn't working, lets try something else." In our county, charters came to be when parents and teachers from the city district got sick of the corruption of administrators... got tired of restrictive curriculum being forced down their throats... got tired of recesses being cut, field-trips being denied, enrichment slashed, half the year spent on test-taking skills, chemistry teachers having to take time from their subjects for additional literature blocks, and more. Believe me, there has been plenty of uprising but this district services 150,000 kids in 250 facilities.  You can't just call up the superintendent for lunch like you can in my little district that has 10 schools. You can't march into the board meeting with 20 parents and expect them to make changes (it's been tried with much, much larger numbers.) 45 charters developed from this and almost all within the city district... most in the poorest neighborhoods. Not all the kids can run to charters and that is a shame but it has forced the district to make some changes to keep their students which has bettered the environment for those whose number didn't come up.

 

This mentality that nothing should be done until we can make it fair for all... well, that's what this juggernaut of a district tried to do... make it fair for all, everyone plugging along on the same curriculum at the same speed, can't afford music for every campus then none of those 150,000 kids get music accept for those with enough money for private lessons... equality for all doesn't work with the system how it is and change takes decades. Fighting charters isn't the answer... all their doing is trying to make at least a little difference... put that fight into your state government and hopefully you can make some sort of change that might happen before your child graduates.

 

 

 

post #71 of 124

 

 

Quote:
This mentality that nothing should be done until we can make it fair for all

 

 

correct, I never said that

 

I feel a lot can be done that can be done in a much fair system for the majority

 

post #72 of 124

if a school district does not have funding for music and arts programs, etc - having charter school to me is not the answer as a fix-

 

unless your area gets magic funding that other areas don't get I fail to see how this happens

post #73 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

I think this is an issue the school district needs to address from within. There are many kids who are not university-bound that just get overlooked, and I don't think charter schools are the solution.  When my husband attended school here, they still had vocational classes. I think all students should have access to these types of classes and there should be something for kids who might not be bound for a four year college. I think it's unfortunate that this only being addressed at a charter school. 


They still have vocational classes at the high schools, as far as I can tell. It's called "Career and Technical Education". It's just that the charter offers a smaller environment and a focus on these classes. The charter does not offer the kind of academically gifted classes you can also find at the high schools. I don't know if they offer "shop" classes at the high schools, but the high schools offer classes like "transport systems technology". I don't think they offer "shop" at the charter either. 

post #74 of 124

 

 

 

 

just to clarify in my area - these are not "shop"/home programs 

 

ex. if you take the beautician program, you earn the required hours for states (state board requirements) same with electrical, etc

post #75 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

just to clarify in my area - these are not "shop"/home programs 

 

ex. if you take the beautician program, you earn the required hours for states (state board requirements) same with electrical, etc


Our public high schools have the same thing. Abby's comments were misleading. Our district's high schools offer dual enrollment so you can get your cosmetologist's certificate from the local community college. They do also offer automotive classes thru the local community colleges. I wasn't sure about that, but just looked it up. They offer trade and industrial courses, health sciences courses, woodworking, etc.

 

However, even though these programs are offered at our local public high schools, some kids and parents feel that the traditional public high schools do not meet their needs and would prefer to pursue their vocational education at the charter school. I only brought up this vocational charter because some of the other posters had commented about charters in their areas really pushing testing and only taking the "easy" kids, etc, to boost their test scores. This vocational charter offers a lower stress environment and I think a good percentage of their student body are not the "easy" kids. For some kids, being in a highly competitive academic environment even if you're not on that track and being in a big school (again 1300 vs 130) is just not a good fit. This charter is not run by a for-profit company to the best of my knowledge, and as I said our towns have free city buses so transportation should not be an insurmountable issue for any student in town who would rather go to this charter.

 

I really don't see how this particular charter is leaving kids behind. It is offering something that the big high schools can't—a smaller, lower-stress environment. Free public transportation is available. It's open to anyone. I don't think most kids in the area want to go there, but some do and for the ones who do I think it's nice that there's that option. 

 

It seems to me that you can have bad charters and good charters (and probably most fall somewhere in between) and that charters aren't the answer to the problems with traditional public schools, but could be supplemental to good traditional public schools. I'm still not sure where magnets and merit-based schools fit into the picture. I can definitely see how charters could be run poorly and have a negative impact, but properly regulated (no for-profit companies, IMO; and some kind of transportation funding maybe) I can see where they be a great complement to a well-run public school system. I can also see where they could be an incentive to public schools to change some things.

 

Until recently, as Abby alluded to, our state capped the total number of charter schools in the state at 100, but now a new law has just been passed that opens that up. Not sure what to think about all that.

 

Basically, I think like most things it's not black and white. To make a sweeping generalization and say "all charter schools are bad. we're opposed," which is what the email I got said is shortsighted, but likewise to say, "charter schools are the answer to everything that's wrong with public schools" is also shortsighted. It's somewhere in the middle muddle as usual.

 

post #76 of 124

 

 

Quote:
However, even though these programs are offered at our local public high schools, some kids and parents feel that the traditional public high schools do not meet their needs and would prefer to pursue their vocational education at the charter school.
 
 This vocational charter offers a lower stress environment and I think a good percentage of their student body are not the "easy" kids. For some kids, being in a highly competitive academic environment even if you're not on that track and being in a big school (again 1300 vs 130) is just not a good fit.

 

to duplicate this what we have at two different place would be tax wise astronomical! if you can duplicate at - go for it-----to me, that is a HUGH waste of money that could be spent at the PS level- I know it would NEVER EVER happen here

 

different programs -sure, the same---that really is crazy-IMO

 

just so you understand, vo-tech is NOT competitive in my area - it is what it is - you need 1000 hours for a program, doesn't matter who you are - that is not competitive, I can't even understand that??

 

we don't even offer it in the private sector around here---private and vo-tech are run the same way- except how the funding is and when you can take it

post #77 of 124

Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post

I'm just playing devil's advocate and I certainly do see your point about some districts siphoning off the easy and best and brightest and leaving the kids who have more needs or less resources behind. However, in an ideal world, if the traditional public schools were the best place to go for the most academically rigorous education, and had the most resources for special education, or ESL, and had the most sports options, etc, I'm not sure I see a lot of kids getting "left behind" if they don't get in a charter school.
 

But the problem with that is those kids with more needs and less resources wouldn't have the same choices as those with less needs and more resources.  I just can't buy the argument that if public schools are good then somehow it's okay to have public funds go towards schools those with more need and less resources can't attend.  It seems like a bit of a rationalization.  

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post

They still have vocational classes at the high schools, as far as I can tell. It's called "Career and Technical Education". It's just that the charter offers a smaller environment and a focus on these classes. The charter does not offer the kind of academically gifted classes you can also find at the high schools. I don't know if they offer "shop" classes at the high schools, but the high schools offer classes like "transport systems technology". I don't think they offer "shop" at the charter either. 


That's good to know there's something there.  From what I've heard from folks who went to school here and/or who teach at one of the high schools, I was under the impression that vocational training had gone by the wayside quite a bit.  Maybe it's just not what it used to be or something. I've heard things are much better in the county schools as far as vocational training is concerned.  

 

Either way though, there's a hyper focus on those that are university bound in our district, and it's entirely too competitive.  There needs to be more of a balance, and in my opinion, this is a huge weakness of the schools here that needs to be addressed within the school system. 

 

 

 

Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/5/12 at 6:22am
post #78 of 124
Thread Starter 

Serenbat, sounds like I might not have been clear--the vocational classes at the high schools are not competitive to the best of my knowledge.  The high schools are highly competitive academically and have a big emphasis on AP and gifted courses. 

 

I'm not clear still on the point about the taxes still. I can see why the trad public schools wouldnt like to lose the tax dollars of kids who go to charters but if those kids  go to charters the public schools would not have to use as many resources. 

post #79 of 124

 

 

Quote:
I'm not clear still on the point about the taxes still. I can see why the trad public schools wouldnt like to lose the tax dollars of kids who go to charters but if those kids  go to charters the public schools would not have to use as many resources. 

 

 

I just don't get what you mean?

 

It takes 5 school districts just to fund "1" vo-tech in my area - there is no financial way that we could duplicate that with a charter!

 

if you can - you people are swimming in money-IMO----wow!

that is really unreal - so you must have tons of money to have charters that many don't want to attend----I just don't get thisdizzy.gif

 

 

from a practical stand point---why on earth do you want to duplicate it?

so much is mandatory there is very very little wiggle room with this type of education- really cut and dry- standard- these are basic (largely standard things that are taught-not too many ways to teach these things)

if you go to the vo-tech you learn the exact same thing in this part of the state as in another part (or even a private institution)- you take the exact same state board test too- not too many ways around it

 

maybe you don't understand what our "trade" schools (vo-techs) are? you are not taking an English or math class there- those are done at your home school and by the time you get to the age to be able to attend the vo-tech, you are done with most of those classes

post #80 of 124

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

This charter is not run by a for-profit company to the best of my knowledge, and as I said our towns have free city buses so transportation should not be an insurmountable issue for any student in town who would rather go to this charter.

 

The bus service here is limited, especially since the recent reduction in services due to budget cuts.  Some areas never had bus service and some recently lost it. Some routes run less frequently now, and to get pretty much anywhere but the university often requires at least one transfer, at least IME. So for some, I'd say it might be insurmountable or at minimum unrealistic. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

Basically, I think like most things it's not black and white. To make a sweeping generalization and say "all charter schools are bad. we're opposed," which is what the email I got said is shortsighted, but likewise to say, "charter schools are the answer to everything that's wrong with public schools" is also shortsighted. It's somewhere in the middle muddle as usual.


I haven't gotten that email, but I don't think most people opposed to charter schools are saying "all charter schools are bad" as if it's an impossibility that there could be a good charter school out there.  I'm sure there are some lovely charter schools.  But I'm still opposed to charter schools, at least in our district and state, for all the various reasons listed in this thread.   

 


 

 


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/3/12 at 2:17pm
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