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Charter schools

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
what do y'all think? intrinsically evil? neutral? great?
post #2 of 13
I think it depends on the charter school in question.

My SIL is sending my nephew to a charter school where the children are expected to sit in their desks ALL day and listen to a teacher and not move....Kindergarten by the way. They are academically based with NO hands-on learning. My SIL explained the approach as a "back to basics" program. This school also has the 3 strikes your out rule. They are given 3 popsicle sticks on Monday morning and if they act out a stick gets taken away. When their last stick is taken away they go to solitary confinement. :

I am sending DD to a charter school that is based on hands on learning that I think is going to be great. The school is decorated with the chidren's art projects and they have a family night once a quarter so the parents can come to the school and see what their child is learning, etc. Parents are also required to participate in their childs education by either volunteering at the school or taking things home to help teachers prepare projects. For example, each quarter, they are assigned a cottage, and everything they learn in that quarter is related to that cottage....the cottage can be anything from desert life to Hawaii, etc. That way, they are not only learning math & english, but also about the cottage they are studying. It's an awesome program that I feel very grateful to have gotten my child into. They only house 1,000 students from K-6th and they have a waiting list of over 1,000 students.

Charter schools vary so greatly, you just have to research and see what one fits your child and the way you want them to be taught.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMK_Mama View Post
Charter schools vary so greatly, you just have to research and see what one fits your child and the way you want them to be taught.

That pretty much says is all They are no different in regular or private schools in that you have to know what you are getting into. Some are great. Others... not so much. One thing other than what/how they are teaching that I would be sure to look into is their fianancing and paperwork. I've seen many a fine charter school brought down by failing those two things even though they were awesome schools full of wonderful learning.
post #4 of 13
Intrisically evil.

They sap money from the public schools, and in many cases fork it over to corporations with little oversight. Public schools have elected school boards. Academically, they don't appear to be all that wonderful. The ones in the three cities near where I live are downright awful. They have created a whole bunch of them and none of them have been a particular success.

The first one created here has been through several corporate owners, and has had a new administration every year. The teacher turnover is astronomical. It recently announced that the company du jour decided to close it because it's not earning them enough money. So all the sudden, the local public school is expected to absorb an extra 500 pupils with no warning. Arrrghhh.
post #5 of 13
Charter schools can be a lab for new, different ways of teaching/learning. In that way, they can contribute to the whole field of education.

Our DS's charter is run by a board of community and business leaders, and is very active in the community. A wide population of children are served and encouraged to apply. It is not run by a corporation that runs other schools, although I know that is one model. It offers an alternative to kids and families who would not be served well in the public schools, another bonus.
post #6 of 13
I'm generally against corporate-run charters. But charters run privately or not for profit often provide learning environments not available in other public or private schools, and often it's those environments kids need to be successful. I also think they force public schools to be more innovative because of the competition.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMK_Mama View Post
I think it depends on the charter school in question.
:

The charter school my dd went to was great the first year she went there, and awful the second year she went there (it was dependent on the teachers.)

My brother and SIL love the charter school that their kids go to.

Charter schools are really few and far between, though, so public schools don't really see them as much competition at this point, IMHO.

Also, as a public school teacher, I'm concerned about the lack of benefits/negotiating rights of teachers in charter schools. You're not likely to get a good teacher to leave the public school and go to a charter school because that teacher will worry about job security, pay, etc. in a charter school. I know a teacher who got fired from two public schools and is now the vice-principal at a charter school.
post #8 of 13
My kids attend an online charter school (california virtual academy www.caliva.org) and it's great. It's test scores are higher then most public schools in the state, they are in the top 10%. And the parents are the primary teachers. If it weren't for this program I'd have to send my oldest back to public school (where she got less than half way through her math book, yet they would be starting her in the next book, not where she left off). My ex is very anti-homeschool...but this way she's officially enrolled in a public charter school and is basically on independant study. We LOVE it.!!!
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMK_Mama View Post
I think it depends on the charter school in question.

The school is decorated with the chidren's art projects and they have a family night once a quarter so the parents can come to the school and see what their child is learning, etc. Parents are also required to participate in their childs education by either volunteering at the school or taking things home to help teachers prepare projects.
In an ideal world, I would think this was great, and I would probably love it for my own child. However, from an abstract position, I see this as a problem. This school intrinsically attracts families who have the resources* to commit to this program and potentially disenfranchises those who don't. It's a soft method of student selection that essentially assures that every student will have academic support at home. As a teacher, I can tell you that parent involvement in education matters much more than the school environment. I'm sure this charter school is very successful, but I'm wary of these kind of successes.

*Resources aren't just money, but also time and cultural knowledge. How many single parents have students enrolled at this school? How many non-native English speakers?

I don't mean to criticize your choice, KMK, I'm glad you have found a school that works for you, and there are certainly many problems in the public schools, not least of which is the lack of parental involvement.

Anybody who isn't worried about charter schools should read this article from Rethinking Schools about New Orleans' public school system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
post #10 of 13
My son's charter school is very much like KMK's - participation required, etc. I'm not sure how many non-native English speakers we have - but we do have plenty of single parents.

For me, it was a choice between this and homeschooling. My child wouldn't have thrived in a regular classroom. In the end, that's what I had to use to make my decision
post #11 of 13
I too think it depends on the school. There are good and bad ones, and also different styles for different personalities and learning styles of the kids. I'm glad that in our state there are tons of them to choose from.

My dd goes to a really nice little school. They have small classes, uniforms (which I like-- I know some don't), and everyone knows everyone else. They have classes based on ability not age for part of the day and they have traditional age-based classrooms for afternoons. She is very happy there most of the time. I am a former homeschooler and it was very important for me to find just the right school for her. The school down the street is just too big for her. My only gripes with the charter school are that they have not much of a music program-- just a teacher that comes in once a week and teaches them songs-- and they don't have any PE program. They do have lots of recess breaks, though. More than the public schools do.

ETA: the public school down the street just did not have the resources to meet dd's needs. When I went there I was not treated well, on two separate days. When I talked to the counselor about my dd's academic needs (she's 1-3 grade levels ahead) they said they would "figure out what to do with her." The charter school had a ready answer for me and they had several kids like my dd whose parents also came from public schools because their needs were not being met.

Yes some charter schools are pretty bad. Those usually are shut down within a couple of years. The good ones have long waiting lists.

My dd's school is very diverse with a good spread of income level and seems to be a lot more diverse than our immediate neighborhood school. Parental participation is not required at all. Most of the parents work full time and their kids go to aftercare so they can't really expect the parents to be involved. However they have a very open nature where parents can be involved if they choose to be. Also last year I was happy that I had to go to dd's classroom to pick her up and I saw the classroom and was able to ask the teacher every single day how dd's day went. It was really great.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
My kids attend an online charter school (california virtual academy www.caliva.org) and it's great. It's test scores are higher then most public schools in the state, they are in the top 10%. And the parents are the primary teachers. If it weren't for this program I'd have to send my oldest back to public school (where she got less than half way through her math book, yet they would be starting her in the next book, not where she left off). My ex is very anti-homeschool...but this way she's officially enrolled in a public charter school and is basically on independant study. We LOVE it.!!!
I love the K12 curriculum as well. It is amazing. We homeschooled for a year using the virtual academy for our state that uses K12. If we ever go back to homeschooling, then we will absolutely use this again.

I agree it depends on the school.
post #13 of 13
My 2 cents....

I teach at a charter school in Florida (http://www.mckeelacademy.com). We are a successful school that has a waiting list of over 1000. From a teacher's perspective, I love teaching there.

But the flip side can also be true, we always cringe when we hear of another charter school that is being investigated for fraud or something. They give charters a bad name. So like everyone else has said, it depends on the school and you have to do your reseach.

My sons Montesorri school is a charter school, so therefore a public school, we only have to pay for PreK 3 and PreK 4 b/c they are not state mandatory.

The basic difference between a charter and a regular school is that charters operate seperately from the rest of the school district. We still have to follow Florida law and such but do not have to report to our local county. The biggest thing is that we can designate our budget as we deem appropriate, not how some politician deems appropriate.

Curtis
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