or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › How do you feel about charter schools?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How do you feel about charter schools? - Page 5

post #81 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
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


 

We may do it differently in our state. It seems in our district the high schools partner with the community colleges and when the kids are done with the classes in high school/community college they are ready to take the state cosmetology exam or whatever. There are 58 community colleges across the state. I don't know if the vocational charter partners with the community colleges, too, but I wouldn't be surprised.

 

As to why the charter school would want to put their own spin on things, they say, "Instruction will be guided by the principles of the self-paced learning model.  Encouraging students to work at their own pace to accomplish academic goals will increase time for one on one assistance, opportunities for cooperative learning, and authentic assessment, while reducing competitiveness, minimizing social pressures, and limiting stress within the classroom." 

 

It sounds to me like they are looking to provide an environment for vocational education that the traditional public school is not providing in a smaller setting.

 

 

Abby, Good point that the bus routes don't serve everyone. There is a stop right in front of the charter school, though, on the CW line and it runs about every 30 minutes from 7-7 weekdays. If a child had a physical disability that prevented him or her from being able to walk the distance from their home to a bus stop there is the EZ Rider transit also. It might not be a perfect system, but it's pretty good.

 

The actual wording of the message from the local democratic party was this:

 

"Our party has had a long standing opposition to attacks on public education. We have passed resolutions stating our position that charter schools are an attempt to undermine the strength of public schools."

 

That seems pretty generalized across the board to me and surprised me. It doesn't say they're "bad"—that was my simplification, but I don't think the particular schools I've been talking about (the vocational charter, or the environmental/arts charter) are an "attempt to undermine the strength of public schools". That sounds almost nefarious (look out Dr Doofenshmirtz!).  I think those schools are just trying to serve some kids who are not getting what they need out of traditional public schools and I am not at all convinced that those particular schools are doing anything (unintentionally or intentionally) to hurt the public schools in our area. 

 

I can see how some charters could cause problems and ftr I'm not in favor of this NHA for-profit school proposed for our area, but I'm not convinced that all charter schools should be opposed across the board. Right now, I'd rather take it on a case by case basis. I'm not convinced that lifting the cap on the number of schools and fast-tracking was a good idea, either, though.

 

 

post #82 of 124

 

 

Quote:
"Instruction will be guided by the principles of the self-paced learning model.  Encouraging students to work at their own pace to accomplish academic goals will increase time for one on one assistance, opportunities for cooperative learning, and authentic assessment, while reducing competitiveness, minimizing social pressures, and limiting stress within the classroom." 

 

 

we have a TOTALLY different system and that would never work for what is being accomplished in this system

 

as with doing it privately (outside of a vo-tech) be it a barber/beauty school, electrical, mason, health aid, etc - you don't work at your own pace unless you want to go for years and pay and pay - these are all timed programs (like being a nurse, dr, etc)- you advance as a class, or you are held back---there is no "competitiveness" in the educational aspect, most require a set number of hours-there is not much around that- you advance or you don't and with my state- for certain licenses (the whole point of most of these programs) you can only test certain time a year - I can not see this for a trade like what we offer - in reality for certain professions (that you can learn at the trade/vo-tech) if you are not competitive outside in the real world you simply won't have a job in those fields, so much of the reason for the "time" element is because of this - AND for those students who choose this- MOST go right into a job very shortly after HS graduation because of the state testing times

 

I really don't know what is ment by minimizing social pressures, and limiting stress within the classroom. for what our vo-tech are teaching you better know how to navigate social pressures or you are going to very ill equipped to land most of the jobs they prepare you for - few can start a business on their own out side of the profession and most DO go to college on top of vo-tech if they want to be in business for themselves, many of the programs require a percentage of on the job (social pressure) as a requirement (like student teaching) - I don't know what your trade schools charters are producing but it would be interesting to see their success rate- our graduation to jobs ratio is very high and our programs is deemed extremely successful 

 

these are not program (future jobs) that you learn at your own pace- we are not talking an "art" type program here

I can certainly see "art related" charters but not vocational schools for licensed jobs

and if your area is already doing this with a college I still see this a redundant ----

 

so if you don't advance at a certain pace --- you go to the local college after you graduate to finish?

post #83 of 124

 

 

Quote:
 "Instruction will be guided by the principles of the self-paced learning model.  Encouraging students to work at their own pace to accomplish academic goals will increase time for one on one assistance, opportunities for cooperative learning, and authentic assessment, while reducing competitiveness, minimizing social pressures, and limiting stress within the classroom." 

not for anything but - it's sounds to good to be true--------if it was for my child- I would want specifics not nice feel-good words--assuming the do go in to fine er) detail?

 

for an elementary charter (as with others) I would want details and lots of them as to what really is going to happen and just how different they really claim to be (and with the trade school) I would want to see some proven results (not just test scores)

post #84 of 124


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

Many charter schools have similar special education services. Not self-contained classes but definitely inclusive ones. The schools have OTs, PTs,, etc. They might not be able to meet the needs of every child but that's not a bad thing.

 


This varies widely from place to place, and where I live, is the opposite of the truth. The charters cannot handle even the most minor of learning differences, and they've got no reason to try.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

See, this is why I am interested in a charter for dd1, because she has some minor learning disabilities (she got a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder label and possible ADHD on an eval a few years ago)  and is a little different (anxiety issues). It seems like she would be better off at the small environmental/arts charter (total enrollment gr 6-12 about 150) than in the big middle school (total enrollment gr 6-8 about 750). We know a few kids who go there—there are several former homeschoolers—and I get a really mellow vibe from this particular school.


I'm a big fan of doing what ever works, and even though overall I'm appalled at how charters play out in my city, I can see why some parents have their children in them -- because they found a good fit for their kid doing the best for one's child always trumphs the big picture.

 

I would do it too -- if the best education I could get for my child were through a charter, I would do my best to get my kid in a charter.

 

None the less, your DD is the kind of student worse served by the charters in my city. Chances are, after a year or two of horrid experiences, you would pull her out to do ANYTHING else, both of you banged up from the experience.

 

The charters here do a nice marketing job (but they to to stay in business) but overall, they don't do well with delivery.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

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.


Charters here still have to take the state test, so the reality is that whatever model they are trying to follow, they still have to push to reach those benchmarks.

 

At some, the facilities are appalling. There's no place to have a recess.  

 

One of our successful charters is a high school that has a string of locations in mini malls across the city. It's a high school where all classes are taken on computer. So all the students sit at computers and go at their own pace. There's no discussion or interaction. To me, that pales in comparison to having real teachers and classmates.

 

(We live with no caps and with private charters, so really any body can open a school any where and get funds as long as they can get students, so its all a marketing game)

 


 

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 agree. I've tried to temper my comments with how things are playing out in *my* city.  

post #85 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

The actual wording of the message from the local democratic party was this:

 

"Our party has had a long standing opposition to attacks on public education. We have passed resolutions stating our position that charter schools are an attempt to undermine the strength of public schools."

 

That seems pretty generalized across the board to me and surprised me. It doesn't say they're "bad"—that was my simplification, but I don't think the particular schools I've been talking about (the vocational charter, or the environmental/arts charter) are an "attempt to undermine the strength of public schools". That sounds almost nefarious (look out Dr Doofenshmirtz!).  I think those schools are just trying to serve some kids who are not getting what they need out of traditional public schools and I am not at all convinced that those particular schools are doing anything (unintentionally or intentionally) to hurt the public schools in our area. 


I don't think anyone thinks those two schools have nefarious intentions to undermine the public schools here or that in and of themselves they pose a threat to our public schools. I think some people are just looking at this issue on a macro-level and have big concerns about the recent bill that was passed.  While I'm certainly not trying to convince you to feel the same way as those who sent you the email or myself, I think it's good to have an accurate picture of everyone's position. Perhaps this thread isn't the best place to get that.  

 

Also, I think all of this is pretty irrelevant when making an individual decision.  If I felt my child was not being adequately served by the public schools, and there was nothing I could do to change that, I'd consider any available option.  

post #86 of 124

NOT like this is or will happen to you (OP) and this is extreme - but IF the question is does a charter hurt a PS?

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/education/pennsylvania-schools-funding-fight-pits-district-against-charter.html?_r=1&hp

 

 

a taste of a prospective form me, since this is my state

post #87 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

The actual wording of the message from the local democratic party was this:

 

"Our party has had a long standing opposition to attacks on public education. We have passed resolutions stating our position that charter schools are an attempt to undermine the strength of public schools."

 

That seems pretty generalized across the board to me and surprised me.

 

I know this thread may have run it's course, but I stumbled upon what's probably the latest resolution about the issue from the local democratic party that I assume sent the email (the county one) and thought it might help clarify that statement.  I was going to post it but figured even with editing it could easily be used to identify location and didn't know if that was okay with you or the other person who posted here from the area. So if you're interested, go to the local party's website, look under "Resources," go to "Resolutions, and then "2011."  It's a bit jumbled up, but there's an "Education" heading about halfway down, and it's the last issue under that.  
 

 

post #88 of 124
Thread Starter 

Thanks Abby. Interesting to read the whole resolution which is much more specifically against that particular piece of legislation. Seems like they did a less than stellar job of crafting their email in a way to say they were opposed to the legislation that lifted the cap, rather than the broader "charter schools are an attempt to undermine public education" line.

 

I might need to look into this more:

 

"Whereas, public schools are required to have diversity and receive funds for child nutrition and transportation services, charter schools will not be required to meet these requirements despite receiving funds for this purpose;"

 

because it was my understanding that charter schools did NOT receive additional funding for transportation, but I haven't delved into the regulations, so I may be off on that. I think it would be great if charter schools could provide free or reduced lunch and free transportation, but I think logistically the transportation issue would be tricky since charters can draw students from across the state instead of just in their own district. 

 

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's comments. I have been able to think about this issue a lot and I think I just can't get behind all charter schools are an attempt to undermine public education or all charters should be opposed. I do think it would be great if some kind of public transport system could be arranged even if it wasn't quite as extensive as the traditional public schools and free/reduced lunch would be great too. Special education would also be great, and I know some schools like the vocational one I mentioned do offer a lot of services for "exceptional children" (the principal or asst principal specializes in that), but it would be hard to offer special ed for all children with special needs. It might be something that should be done, though. I have a niece with severe autism and she's gotten a lot out of her schooling, but I'm not sure how a very small charter would handle a child with severe special needs. I wonder about the magnet programs, too, and how they work. I'm thinking that a charter could be a lot like a magnet, but draw kids from across districts and have a little more leeway in terms of the teaching to the test mentality of traditional public schools. Magnets offer transportation, free/reduced lunch, and special ed, right?

 

So my conclusion is charters could be improved, but opposition across the board is not for me. I don't think you could reform a traditional public school to be like a charter. I think one thing that is wrong with traditional public schools is the one-size-fits-all, we'll be all things to everybody approach. 

post #89 of 124

Funny coincidence, while I was just waiting in the pick line to get my daughter, I pulled a copy of the local free liberal-leaning weekly newspaper out of my stash of reading material, and on the front cover was this very issue.  It's from the 25th.  If you want, you can go to their website and search for "charter schools." Look for three articles with Jan. 25th as the date and a funny looking little microbe picture.  

 

I think what it boils down to here is not necessarily that people are opposed to charter schools in their most idyllic form, like just a few well run capable inclusive charter schools that would give those that really need an alternative a choice all while providing free lunch, transportation, and special services but rather that they are opposed to a) how charter schools are actually playing out and b) the intentions and goals, and I'll go so far as to call some of them nefarious, of some outspoken and so far successful proponents of charter schools such as wanting to move all schools to charters because it's cheaper.  I read somewhere this is happening in New Orleans, but Katrina played a roll in that.  

 

Anyway, just throwing that out there because the article was interesting.  I don't mean to monopolize the conversation, and I'm not trying to get the last word.  I swear I'll stop now.


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/7/12 at 12:55pm
post #90 of 124

Just for "fun" - can you post an update in a few months as to what did happen in your area? thanks

post #91 of 124
Thread Starter 

AbbyGrant, I read two of the articles last week and skimmed the third just now, but I was annoyed that they didn't actually talk about any of the charter schools we've been talking about in this thread—the elementary one, the environmental one, the vocational one, or the K-12 one. I thought it was a glaring omission. The K-12 one in the southern county is generally regarded as very successful and the elementary one in the neighboring county is also highly regarded. Those schools have been around for awhile, especially the K-12 one (more than 10 yrs I believe) and I just thought it was weird that they weren't even mentioned. They talked about schools in the Triad region to the north, but not so many that are already here in our region. I actually used to work for that publication briefly a long time ago and I hate to say it, but I just thought the articles were not very even handed. If you read that first one you'll see in the online comments that the first commenter talks about how pleased they were having their child at the K-12 school. 


Edited by beanma - 2/7/12 at 7:16pm
post #92 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Do you have charter schools in your area? Do you like them? What are the public schools in your area like? Do you feel like the charter schools in your area hurt the public schools in your area or complement them?

 



We don't have charter schools in my city.  We have a few alternative schools that cater to the gifted; your child has to test in order to get in. 

My son will be tested this month for admission into one of these schools. He has been in a quality preschool for 2 years so I have no doubt that he will get in. 

Should he experience a prolonged brain fart during the test lol.gif and fail I will have no choice but to pay for private school or move out of the city.

 

Public school in my city are awful.  I've never been one to blame the government or the teachers. It is honestly not their fault.  The failure falls on these kids parents.  The previous generation was the product of lifetime welfare, the crack epidemic, absent fathers, and the teen pregnancy boom: you CAN'T expect the anyone produced under these conditions to be a suitable parent. 

 

Parents who want more for there kids know the choices that they have and they take them. The student enrollment in my city decreases every year.  Young couples avoid buying houses in my city because the schools are so awful.  If you can't get your child into one of the alternative schools you would have to factor in the cost of private school when you move to this area.

 

Charter school would help those kids and parents who want more for their child but it would be a death sentence to the city schools.  All the good kids would leave and what would be left is a classroom full of bad seeds.

 

 

post #93 of 124

I know this thread is a bit old but yesterday I got a postcard in the mail about information sessions to be held for the proposed elementary charter school. I won't go but I'm curious to know what the turnout will be.

post #94 of 124
Thread Starter 

Polliwog, I got that too. I'm not going to go, either, but I hope that someone will report on it. 

post #95 of 124

I personally find that they can be great for many kids.  Here, I don't like any of the school districts, even the supposed high performing ones.  I'm just not impressed with their curriculums, their textbooks, some of their teachers.  I home school for now, but if my kids have to go to public school I'm sending them any one of the good charters around here.  I like a Waldorf-inspired one very much....not pure Waldorf, but not pure public school either.  They can be a great fit for parents who want something better than the usual stuff in district schools or kids that just don't fit in for any number of reasons in a district school. 

 

At the same time, I know that not all charter schools are great.  Some are badly run, some have agendas that make district schools seem like a haven.  My best advice is to look at how the school is run, look at the curriculum, look at how things are taught, and see if it fits in to what would be good for your child or children.

post #96 of 124

It is different in different states.  My son attends a public charter school in the next town (about 25 miles from our home).  We just did a fund raiser this past weekend to buy our classrooms new white boards and here is what I learned:

 

.  While charter schools receive state money, it only averages 85% of the amount received by the traditional public schools.  Our school was not included in the recent bond referendum and currently charter schools are ineligible for any funds generated by the North Carolina Education Lottery.  We charge no tuition to our students and rely on our PTO’s fundraising efforts to enhance our programs.  We have our own Board of Trustees, which manages our funds and allocates our limited resources to fund all the components of operating our school. 

 

At this school and I think any charter school in NC (not sure though), a lottery is held each year to admit new students.  I have to say they do a good job at making sure the student body is diverse culturally as well as economically.  I do not feel they take away from the public schools.  But then NC has one of the worst public school education in the nation so it pretty much can only improve.

 

 

 

post #97 of 124


I'm also in NC (as are several posters in this thread.) In NC, it is against the state charter school law to give priority in the lottery to any group. If a charter school is racially and/or economically diverse, it is just because people of different races and economic levels chose to enter the lottery. It may mean that they did a good job of promoting the school, and lottery, in the community. The only people that can get priority entry are siblings of enrolled students.  The school I'm hoping my children get in is part of a state committee that is grappling with this issue. They would like to better represent the urban community around them. They don't provide busing because they wanted to provide the staff with competitive salaries and lots of professional development.

 

We are, however, in an EXCELLENT school in a great NC school district, and if my kids don't get into the charter in the next county, it won't be the end of the world. I would prefer a more project and arts-based program and know that it's a better fit for my son but our home school is still a really good school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnabc View Post

It is different in different states.  My son attends a public charter school in the next town (about 25 miles from our home).  We just did a fund raiser this past weekend to buy our classrooms new white boards and here is what I learned:

 

.  While charter schools receive state money, it only averages 85% of the amount received by the traditional public schools.  Our school was not included in the recent bond referendum and currently charter schools are ineligible for any funds generated by the North Carolina Education Lottery.  We charge no tuition to our students and rely on our PTO’s fundraising efforts to enhance our programs.  We have our own Board of Trustees, which manages our funds and allocates our limited resources to fund all the components of operating our school. 

 

At this school and I think any charter school in NC (not sure though), a lottery is held each year to admit new students.  I have to say they do a good job at making sure the student body is diverse culturally as well as economically.  I do not feel they take away from the public schools.  But then NC has one of the worst public school education in the nation so it pretty much can only improve.

 

 

post #98 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnabc View Post

 

.  While charter schools receive state money, it only averages 85% of the amount received by the traditional public schools.  Our school was not included in the recent bond referendum and currently charter schools are ineligible for any funds generated by the North Carolina Education Lottery.  We charge no tuition to our students and rely on our PTO’s fundraising efforts to enhance our programs.  We have our own Board of Trustees, which manages our funds and allocates our limited resources to fund all the components of operating our school. 

 



One things that does occur to me regarding the lower funding for charters vs. typical public schools is that charters shouldn't have as much money going to administration (district superintendent, other district offices, etc.).  Traditional public schools may get more funding per pupil from the state, but that amount that actually goes to each school site to pay teachers, buy supplies, etc. is about the same as what a charter gets.  Of course, if the charter is contracted with a for profit management company, the school site itself probably does have less $ per pupil to spend b/c that contract company eats up some of the $ that would otherwise stay at the school as it does in a traditional public school.

post #99 of 124

Beanma, I hope your dd gets into that middle school charter, and I would love to hear how y'all like it.  My son is in first grade in your district, my daughter will be starting K in the fall--it's early, but I could really see her going there (my son, not so much...)

 

I have some issues with the idea of charter schools, but I would enroll my kids in a minute if I felt it would be a better fit for them.  The for-profit thing gives me pause.  I feel like I don't know enough, either.

post #100 of 124

Small world. My son is also in first grade in that district and my daughter will be starting Kindergarten in the fall (she's in Pre-K there now.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by momosam View Post

Beanma, I hope your dd gets into that middle school charter, and I would love to hear how y'all like it.  My son is in first grade in your district, my daughter will be starting K in the fall--it's early, but I could really see her going there (my son, not so much...)

 

I have some issues with the idea of charter schools, but I would enroll my kids in a minute if I felt it would be a better fit for them.  The for-profit thing gives me pause.  I feel like I don't know enough, either.



 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at School
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › How do you feel about charter schools?