mzteris's Journal - Archives
I heard a radio interview from a smallish town outside of Madison. Some "old guy" who'd been teaching economics for 20-something years at a small college had this to say, (or at least a close paraphrase)
"Taxcuts for the wealthy and the corporations DON'T create jobs. Wealthy people can already buy whatever they want. Any tax cuts they have will just go into their vast "savings" which doesn't help the economy. Cut taxes for the people who need the money to BUY things. When people have the money to buy, consumption goes up, then production goes up, THEN companies create jobs to meet demand. This increases the people's buying power and they start buying houses and cars again, things that generate the taxes that keep the communities going".
Sounds pretty simple to me. I'd love to hear what you guys think. (And why is some "old guy from a small town in WI have a better idea than all those "experts"?)
Charters & special ed: the truth: Don't believe the UFT's distorted claims
By Marcus Winters
Wednesday, January 6th 2010, 4:00 AM
"It's true that a lower proportion of charter school students are in special education relative to the surrounding public schools. However, the reasons for the special education gap are nuanced and are not primarily driven by the charters' bad behavior. In fact, the lower percentages of special education students in charters may actually be a sign of what they're doing right.
First, let's dispel a myth. Disabled students who seek a seat in a charter school are not systematically denied access to it. According to the recent landmark study by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, when students who have already been diagnosed as disabled enter a charter school lottery, they are just as likely as other students to win a seat; among those who win a seat, disabled kids are just as likely to enroll, and among those who enroll, special education students are no more likely to return to a traditional public school.
That leaves two potential explanations for the special education gap: Either disabled students choose not to apply to attend charters, or students who would have been placed in special education by their public school avoid the diagnosis when they attend a charter school. A close look at special education rates by grade level in New York City provides some clues that differences in the rate of diagnosis play a major role.
Let's start with kindergarten, the grade when about a third of charter schools' eventual students enroll. In this early grade, before the schools themselves have had the opportunity to diagnose students, the difference in special education enrollments between public schools (11.2%) and charters (7.6%) is relatively small.
This gap grows as students proceed through elementary school and reaches its zenith in the fourth grade, when 17.3% of public school students are in special ed, compared with only 10.4% of charter school students.
Interestingly, this is a time when relatively few new students enter charter schools, suggesting that the biggest difference between public and charter schools is the rate at which they classify already-enrolled students as disabled.
That the rate of new classifications appears to be lower in charter schools is particularly interesting given that charter school applicants tend to be minority, low-income and low-scoring on standardized tests - all attributes that typically correlate with special education placement. Charter schools would need to be pretty crafty to discourage only the applications of undiagnosed students with these characteristics who will be diagnosed in a later grade.
Why might new diagnoses differ in public and charter schools? Research suggests that overdiagnosis of disabilities is rampant in public schools. Charter schools may not be as willing to push a borderline student into special education. Or perhaps charter schools provide these students with a good enough education that their performance doesn't lag to the point that the school feels compelled to place them in special education.
The special education gap rapidly declines after the fourth grade, as new students begin to enter charter middle schools. By the 10th grade, the gap actually reverses. By their senior year, 15.2% of charter school students are in special education, compared with 9.8% of public school students. We should be wary of drawing firm conclusions - but a reasonable preliminary interpretation is that while special education students are dropping out of public schools, their charter school counterparts may be sticking around to graduate.
Where charter schools do seem to fall behind is in the enrollment of severely disabled students. They need to do better to ensure that their schools are open to these more severely disabled kids - but some of the disparity exists simply because charter schools, like small traditional public schools, lack the wide range of specialized services that larger schools are equipped to offer.
The differences in special education rates between public and charter schools are not primarily the result of nefarious forces. The available evidence gives no reason for the state Legislature to add burdensome restrictions for charter schools.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/0...
clean up link.
The statute for charter public schools refers back to the SAME STATUTE as applied to all traditional public schools.
CHAPTER 118 GENERAL SCHOOL OPERATIONS
118.01 applies to all school in WI.
118.40 is the section of the statutes that apply to charter schools
118.40 Subsection: (1m) #4. The methods the school will use to enable pupils to attain the educational goals under s. 118.01.
118.01 Educational goals and expectations. (1) PURPOSE.
Public education is a fundamental responsibility of the state.
The constitution vests in the state superintendent the supervision
of public instruction and directs the legislature to provide for the
establishment of district schools. The effective operation of the
public schools is dependent upon a common understanding of
what public schools should be and do. Establishing such goals and
expectations is a necessary and proper complement to the state’s
financial contribution to education. Each school board should
provide curriculum, course requirements and instruction consistent
with the goals and expectations established under sub. (2).
Parents and guardians of pupils enrolled in the school district
share with the state and school board the responsibility for pupils
meeting the goals and expectations under sub. (2).
(2) EDUCATIONAL GOALS. (a) Academic skills and knowledge.
Since the development of academic skills and knowledge is the
most important goal for schools, each school board shall provide
an instructional program designed to give pupils:
1. Basic skills, including the ability to read, write, spell, perform
basic arithmetical calculations, learn by reading and listening
and communicate by writing and speaking.
2. Analytical skills, including the ability to think rationally,
solve problems, use various learning methods, gather and analyze
information, make critical and independent judgments and argue
3. A basic body of knowledge that includes information and
concepts in literature, fine arts, mathematics, natural sciences,
including knowledge of the elements of agriculture and the conservation
of natural resources, and social sciences, including
knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of the family as a consumer,
cooperative marketing and consumers’ cooperatives.
4. The skills and attitudes that will further lifelong intellectual
activity and learning.
5. Knowledge in computer science, including problem solving,
computer applications and the social impact of computers.
(b) Vocational skills. Each school board shall provide an
instructional program designed to give pupils:
1. An understanding of the range and nature of available
occupations and the required skills and abilities.
2. Preparation to compete for entry level jobs not requiring
postsecondary school education.3. Preparation to enter job−specific vocational training programs.
4. Positive work attitudes and habits.
(c) Citizenship. Each school board shall provide an instructional
program designed to give pupils:
1. An understanding of the basic workings of all levels of government,
including the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.
2. A commitment to the basic values of our government,
including by appropriate instruction and ceremony the proper reverence
and respect for and the history and meaning of the American
flag, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. constitution
and the constitution and laws of this state.
3. The skills to participate in political life.
4. An understanding of the function of organizations in society.
5. Knowledge of the role and importance of biological and
6. Knowledge of state, national and world history.
7. An appreciation and understanding of different value systems
8. At all grade levels, an understanding of human relations,
particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans
(d) Personal development. Each school board shall provide an
instructional program designed to give pupils:
1. The skills needed to cope with social change.
2. Knowledge of the human body and the means to maintain
lifelong health, including:
a. Knowledge of the theory and practice of physical education,
including the development and maintenance of physical fitness;
b. Knowledge of the true and comparative vitamin content of
food and food and health values of dairy products and their importance
for the human diet; and
c. Knowledge of physiology and hygiene, sanitation, the
effects of controlled substances under ch. 961 and alcohol upon
the human system, symptoms of disease and the proper care of the
body. No pupil may be required to take instruction in these subjects
if his or her parent files with the teacher a written objection
thereto. If a pupil does not take instruction in these subjects as a
result of parental objection, the pupil may not be required to be
examined in the subjects and may not be penalized in any way for
not taking such instruction, but if the subjects receive credit
toward graduation, the school board may require the pupil to complete
an alternative assignment that is similar to the subjects in the
length of time necessary to complete. Instruction in physiology
and hygiene shall include instruction on sexually transmitted diseases
and shall be offered in every high school.
3. An appreciation of artistic and creative expression and the
capacity for self−expression.
4. The ability to construct personal ethics and goals.
5. Knowledge of morality and the individual’s responsibility
as a social being, including the responsibility and morality of family
living and the value of frugality and other basic qualities and
principles referred to in article I, section 22, of the constitution
insofar as such qualities and principles affect family and consumer
6. Knowledge of the prevention of accidents and promotion
of safety on the public highways, including instruction on the relationship
between highway safety and the use of alcohol and controlled
substances under ch. 961.
7. The skills needed to make sound decisions, knowledge of
the conditions which may cause and the signs of suicidal tendencies,
knowledge of the relationship between youth suicide and the
use of alcohol and controlled substances under ch. 961 and knowledge
of the available community youth suicide prevention and
intervention services. Instruction shall be designed to help prevent
suicides by pupils by promoting the positive emotional
development of pupils.
8. Knowledge of effective means by which pupils may recognize,
avoid, prevent and halt physically or psychologically intrusive
or abusive situations which may be harmful to pupils, including
child abuse, sexual abuse and child enticement. Instruction
shall be designed to help pupils develop positive psychological,
emotional and problem−solving responses to such situations and
avoid relying on negative, fearful or solely reactive methods of
dealing with such situations. Instruction shall include information
on available school and community prevention and intervention
assistance or services and shall be provided to pupils in elementary
nearly every "argument" the anti-charters have fomented. I think you missed something in your reading. . . here's a few very pertinent bits.
Here's the link: http://dpi.wi.gov/sms/pdf/2006-07yearbook....
"Charter School \chär-tEr skül\ n : A public school that: (1) in accordance
with an enabling state statute is exempt from significant state or local rules;
(2) is created by a developer as a public school; (3) provides a program of
elementary or secondary education, or both; (4) is nonsectarian in its programs,
admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations,
and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution; (5) does
not charge tuition; (6) complies with federal law; (7) admits students on the
basis of a lottery if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated;
(8) agrees to comply with the same federal and state audit requirements
as other elementary and secondary schools in the state; (9) meets
all applicable federal, state and local health and safety requirements; and
(10) operates in accordance with state law.
Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a contract
or “charter” between the operators and the sponsoring school board or
other chartering authority. The Wisconsin charter school law gives charter
schools freedom from most state rules and regulations in exchange for
greater accountability for results. The charter defines the missions and
methods of the charter school; the chartering authority holds the school
accountable to its charter.
Charter schools are created with the best elements of regular public
schools in mind. Wisconsin established charter schools to foster an environment
of creativity. Charter schools are, in essence, living laboratories that
influence the larger public school system and introduce an element of entrepreneurship
within that system. Charter school leaders may experiment
with different instructional theories, site-based management techniques,
and other innovations. They learn, sometimes by trial and error, what works
best for their student population. Regular schools can observe and learn
from what happens in the charter school and make similar improvements
without having to experience “growing pains.” Through this process, the
entire public school system is continually challenged to improve itself.
A charter school is developed to fit the special needs and interests of its
community, parents, and students. This is what makes each charter school
unique. While many goals for educating and preparing children are similar,
each charter school fulfills a specific local need in education. Charter schools
offer a choice to parents and students in the area of curriculum, teaching
methodology, and classroom structure. Many who serve at-risk populations work hard
to keep their small population of students from falling through
the cracks, offering counseling and personal attention and support. In districts
with charter schools, the community, school boards, and parents have
identified their public education needs and established charters that meet
Again, charter schools are public schools. They are freed from most state
rules and regulations in exchange for greater accountability for results.
"Charter schools in Wisconsin are exempt from most state requirements
regarding public education. However, teachers in charter schools must be
licensed by the DPI. (See appendix A, “Teaching Requirements for Charter
Schools.”) Also, students in charter schools are counted for membership in
the local school district."
Charter schools are not exempt from federal laws governing regular, special
education, or civil rights policies, nor are they exempt from local school
board policies unless negotiated in the charter contract. This last provision
does not pertain to noninstrumentality charter schools. For specific information
regarding special education, see http://www.dpi.wi.gov/sped/index.html .
A charter school cannot charge tuition and must be equally accessible
to all students in the school district. Preference in admission must be given
to students living within the attendance area of an existing school that is
converted to a charter school. Nonresident students may enroll in a district
and be assigned to a charter school under the Wisconsin public school open
Charter schools may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion,
national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation,
or physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability. The charter
school contract must clearly spell out how the school will achieve a racial
and ethnic balance among its pupils that reflects the balance in the school
district as a whole.
Charter schools are assigned individual school codes by the DPI. A charter
school is a public school that is exempt from many traditional state and
local rules and regulations, thus allowing greater flexibility in their means
for achieving student success. In exchange for this flexibility, charter schools
are held accountable for reporting the achievement of the high academic
standards described in their charters. A charter school that fails to meet
these standards risks being closed by its chartering agency; hence the motto
of charter schools—“autonomy for accountability.”
Pursuant to Wisconsin law, a charter may be granted for any term not
exceeding five school years and may be renewed for a term not exceeding
five years. A charter may be revoked if the chartering entity finds that
the charter school violated its contract or failed to comply with generally
accepted accounting standards of fiscal management, or if enrolled pupils
failed to make sufficient progress in attaining educational goals.
The best charter schools in Wisconsin and across the country balance
clear educational goals and expectations with their unique styles and missions.
These schools and their chartering entities draw up written agreements
specifying the measurable pupil performance indicators they will
use and what constitutes progress sufficient to renew the charter contract.
These charter contracts call for regular reports to the developer and are in
place prior to the opening of the school.
Office of the Dean, Teachers College
Ball State University
CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING: Inequity Persists
For the second time, this study finds that:
Charter schools overall were significantly underfunded relative to district schools:
- The average state disparity was 19.2 percent, $2,247 per pupil.
- Differences in student need, including students with disabilities, free or reduced price lunch students, and the grade levels taught, do not justify the disparity.
Funding disparities were even wider in most focus school districts:
- The average disparity was 27.8 percent, $3,727 per pupil.
The chief culprit was charter schools’ lack of access to local and capital funding:
- No state provided charter schools equal access to all funding sources (federal, state, local, and facilities).
- Statewide, more than 85 percent of the disparity between charter and district school funding resulted from differences in access to local revenues.
- Across focus districts, access to local funding streams also drove the funding disparity, but state funding was more unequal than at the state level, representing 30.4 percent of the disparity in focus districts vs. 8.9 percent of the disparity statewide.
This comparative study of school funding in charter schools and traditional public schools in 16 states and the District of Columbia finds that charters are significantly under- funded relative to district schools. The report, based on 2002-03 revenues, finds that, on average, the funding gap is 22 percent, or $1,800 per pupil. Researchers found that discrepancies are larger in most big urban school districts. In urban areas the gap widens to $2,200 per pupil. In cities like San Diego and Atlanta, charters receive 40 percent less than traditional public schools. The inequity is most severe in South Carolina, California, Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Missouri. The study finds that the primary driver of the district-charter gaps is charter schools' lack of access to local and capital funding. It includes detailed state-by-state and district financial and policy information, as well as recommendations for closing the funding gap. http://www.edexcellence.net/doc/Charter%20...
Funding for Charter Schools
As public schools, charter schools are funded through a combination of federal, state and local tax dollars. Different than non-charter public schools, though, charters have the freedom to determine how to spend their funds – in exchange for being held accountable for their academic, fiscal and operational results.
There is wide variation from state to state, though, in how the funding of charter schools actually works. Some of the most serious funding problems involve restrictions on the use of funding by charter schools, delays in payments to charter schools and forcing charter schools to pay for their facilities out of their operational budget.
What is consistent across the country – and most problematic – is that public charter schools receive significantly lower funding than non-charter public schools. A recent analysis of 24 states and the District of Columbia, covering 93 percent of the nation’s public charter school population, shows an average per-pupil funding gap of 19.2 percent or $2,247, when compared to traditional public schools in the same state during the 2006-2007 school year. For a typical 250-student charter school, the funding gap amounts to a nearly $562,000 shortfall every year. The gap was even larger – 27.8 percent – in “focus districts,” 40 cities where almost half of all charter schools in the study are located. http://www.publiccharters.org/node/44
The state will take over Jemez Mountain School District’s finances after a special audit revealed that $3.3 million was embezzled from the district over several years, Public Education Secretary Veronica Garcia announced this morning.
“The findings released in the State Auditor’s report leave me no recourse but to suspend the Board of Education of Jemez Mountain Public Schools from acting as the Board of Finance effective immediately,” Garcia said in a news release.
A special audit by the State Auditor’s Office found that 538 checks were taken from the school district’s check stocks from Jan. 1, 2002 through June 30 of this year, according to an executive summary of the special audit. Authorized signatures were forged and 535 checks were cashed or deposited into personal accounts. Here is the executive summary of the special audit.
. . . Jemez Mountain is one of the state’s smaller school districts. It operates five schools — two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one charter school — and had an enrollment of only 373 students in fiscal 2008-09, according to state and district documents.
The state Public Education Department’s takeover of a school district’s finances is rare, but it did it three years ago with the West Las Vegas school district in 2006.
That takeover was due to actions by that district’s former bilingual coordinator Roberta Vigil, who spent nearly $10,000 on an invitation-only bash in April 2006. The party, which featured music by Al Hurricane and was called a “workshop” on requisition forms, was paid for through a special appropriation passed by the Legislature with the help of Vigil’s husband, state Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera.
A jury this year convicted Roberta Vigil of fraud over $2,500 and conspiracy to commit fraud over $2,500.
Chicago, Illinois Regional schools superintendent Charles Flowers charged with stealing $376,000 in public funds from bankrupt agency
Charles Flowers, the beleaguered suburban regional school superintendent, brazenly used his taxpayer-funded credit cards for personal expenses and doled out cash advances to his sister and girlfriend, whom he placed on his payroll, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Thursday.
Prosecutors alleged Flowers stole $376,000 in public money from the bankrupt Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education. He was held in custody Thursday after he surrendered to authorities on charges of theft and official misconduct.
"Within months of taking office, this man engaged in a bold and brazen scheme to defraud. It is a repulsive example of public corruption," Alvarez said. "In this case, we have an elected official who is supposed to be working for the taxpayers of Cook County, who apparently had the absurd notion that the taxpayers were working for him."
Flowers, 51, began his term as regional superintendent in July 2007. The office is responsible for overseeing teacher certifications, local school grants, background checks and fingerprinting for public school teachers and employees in suburban Cook County.
According to prosecutors, Flowers made numerous cash advances and credit card purchases that were of a "purely personal nature." They included using his office-issued credit card to buy nearly $800 in plane tickets for his children to travel to Mississippi, authorities said. Flowers also charged thousands of dollars at expensive restaurants and for car rentals and limousine services, authorities said. . . Flowers also allegedly used office funds to unlawfully make cash advances to employees that were never fully repaid. Those advances included $9,000 to his girlfriend, whom he hired as a school compliance liaison, and $6,000 to his sister, whom he hired as his executive administrative assistant, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Flowers used restricted grant funds to pay two office employees more than $21,000 in consulting fees. Those fees were in addition to their annual salaries of more than $80,000 each, officials said. The investigation alleged that the consultant services were never performed. . . Last year, a state audit found that the agency was $1 million in debt. Flowers will face additional charges of misapplication of funds Friday, when he is expected to appear at the Cook County courthouse in Maywood, authorities said.
sounds like something I'd read elsewhere on other choices that people make.
Why is it "garbage", exactly? Do you not understand that some of us- many of us - not only WANT that choice, but NEED that choice. I mean, you of all people understand the bureaucracy and bs that exists in some schools systems, do you not? And if the system can't or won't change, what are people - who don't have the money for private schools, nor the confidence/ability to homeschool - supposed to do? Just sweat it out? Just sit in a corner and READ when you finish your work 10X faster than every other kid in the room. Or be put in a BEH class because you have a learning difference even though there is nothing wrong with your behaviour? Or be "ignored" by the teacher because the principal because has a beef with your parents? Or be overlooked because you're "good" and quiet and never bother anyone, especially the teacher, even though you have no freaking idea of what's going on in the classroom? Or - well, you get the drift.
What the F is wrong with CHOICE? WTF is wrong with being able to have your child go to a school where they WANT to go every day instead of crying. Where their needs are being individuallly met according to learning style, or personality, or interest, or hey - no institutionalized racism!
Some of these traditional systems are so corrupt and so enmired in the way they "do things" that to effect ANY change at all is nearly impossible. YOU know that! You complain about it nearly every single day.
CHOICE is NOT about "teacher bashing" or "union busting" or any other of the paranoid bs I keeep hearing from the anti-choicers. Its about EDUCATING CHILDREN - in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY FOR THAT CHILD - without COST to that child.
I have stated repeatedly thath I support teachers and believe in higher - much higher - pay. Smaller classrooms. More support. Better opportunities to develop and the flexibility and freedom to actually TEACH instead of this mf testing bs.
I really really really don't get why this is such a problem. FREEDOM OF CHOICE FOR ALL! The narrow (and personalized) focus with which so many people view the world is just maddening!
Do you guys see the difference here? I don't BASH you or your choice or your profession. I don't BASH your schools. But you persist, INsist, on bashing and rejecting and insulting the 100's of thousands of students and parents who have CHOSEN alternative forms of education just because you, personally, don't like it. What about those tens of thousands of TEACHERS who CHOOSE to TEACH in an alternative program? Do you "hate" all of them, too? Do you think their real mwwah-ha-ha-haaaa motive is to subvert and destroy the minds of children so that's why they're in a charter program?
Get real here. This witch hunt against people who support other programs - IN ADDITION TO YOURS - has got to stop. I mean. Really. It's just crazy to think that all these "powerful billionaires" want is to destroy the world. (Ok - some republicans do. . . ) You are NOT the only altruistic people on the freakin planet. Do you really believe that OBAMA "hates children" and wants them all to fail? REally? Have you seen the look on his face - and Michelle's - when they are interacting with schoolchildren? DO you think they're so happy cause they're thinking, "WOO HOO. Here's another little kid whose life I get to ruin! yaaayyyyy!
I've been accused of being "anti" traditional public school. I am not. I am FOR "alternative" education - as in I am for CHOICE in education - what each child needs to succeed - and though whatever, however, medium. I personally don't like religious schools - 'cause I don't support religion in any way; I don't like most "private" schools 'cause I dislike the fact that $$$ can buy a select group a 'better educational experience".
I support traditional public schools. I support magnet schools, year-round schools, alternative schools, specialty schools, on-line schools, charter public schools, and homeschooling.
That said, I am often accused of "attacking" traditional public schools. It may seem that way, because I'm trying to counter-act the attacks and misinformation being spread about charter public schools.
I have always said "bad schools" (and their admin, principals, teachers, school board members, superintendents, janitors, coaches, et al infinate . . .) should be investigated, closed, prosecuted. Good programs shoud be encouraged and supported.
I see so much about the "bad" of charter schools on here and written in such a way as to intimate that only "charter public schools" commit sins. I cannot let that go unnoticed, so in response, I have to put out the information that indicates that rot exists in the people of any and every system - and those PEOPLE should be eliminated, not the system.
Charter public schools can be good or bad. The huge difference that I see is in the accountabiity area I keep hearing being bandied about. Charters that are not successful, charters that are "bad" - get shut down PDQ. And, in all fairness, the state laws that are written greatly impact how charters are written, run, financed, and supported. Bad laws make bad policy.
So - I am NOT just "traditional public school bashing" - but am most desperately trying to illlustrate that "charter public schools" do NOT have the market cornered on corruption, ill-management, fraud, favoritism, embezzlement, discrimination, etc...
don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. . .
a few very hasty and cursory glances at some traditional public school scandals during 2009/2010. (and yeah, some of the below "may" be charters themselves, I tried to screen but something may have slipped by.)
Criminal background checks flag up to 50 of state's teachers: Reprimands, dismissals may follow revelation By Kirsten Stewart The Salt Lake Tribune Updated: 10/21/2009 06:46:52 AM MDT
A bumper crop of 30 to 50 public school teachers has come under scrutiny for criminal violations severe enough to merit possible reprimand or dismissal. . . . Public safety officials unearthed nearly 7,000 arrests, criminal charges or convictions. But a single employee could account for a dozen or more of those, said agency spokesman Jeff Nigbur. Seven of Utah's largest districts, however, are sorting through nearly 1,000 referrals. As a result, at least nine employees have been fired. Among them:
» A Nebo School District employee charged with exposing himself more than a decade ago, and again in 2007.
» A Canyons District school aide with eight years of tenure charged with an open container violation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Criminal charges for guidance counselor who altered transcripts
July 2, 1:00 AMNorth Jersey Crime Examiner
A Fort Lee High School guidance counselor is charged with tampering with transcripts to help students get into selective colleges. . . Meller already had been suspended, along with Principal Jay Berman, after the alterations were discovered.
TOP STORY 2009: A Culture of Corruption
By Dave Janoski Projects Editor)
Published: December 27, 2009
s 2009 unfolded, the kids-for-cash scandal dominated the front pages and Luzerne County's "culture of corruption" was laid bare as a parade of county government and public school officials was marched into federal court on bribery and other charges
The ongoing federal pay-to-play investigation has led to charges against three public school officials:
* Wilkes-Barre School Board member Brian Dunn, 45, was charged in April with accepting or soliciting tens of thousands of dollars in return for his influence over hiring and contract decisions. Dunn's preliminary hearing, postponed three times due to scheduling conflicts involving his attorney, is now set for Sept. 17. Dunn, who is free on bail, remains a member of the school board, but has not attended meetings since his arrest.
* Former Wilkes-Barre Area School Board President James P. Height, 52, resigned from the board and pleaded guilty in May to accepting $2,000 from an unnamed school district contractor. Height, who is free on bail, faces a likely sentence of 18 to 24 months under the terms of his plea agreement. His sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
* Former Pittston Area Superintendent Ross Scarantino, 63, pleaded guilty in May to accepting $5,000 in exchange for his influence in awarding school district contracts. Scarantino, who is free on bail, would likely face 18 to 24 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but the sentence could be reduced depending on his cooperation with prosecutors. His sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
Pittston Area School Board member Joseph J. Oliveri, who has agreed to plead guilty to accepting a $1,500 bribe from a school district contractor, will have a plea hearing on Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court in Scranton.
Oliveri, who submitted his resignation from the school board over the weekend, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but will likely serve between one and two years under the terms of his plea agreement.
Oliveri, 51, of Hughestown, is the fourth public school official charged in a federal pay-to-play investigation. He has also submitted his resignation to Luzerne County, which employed him as a sheriff's deputy for about 15 years.
Five public education institutions have been the focus of the federal pay-to-play investigation. A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from the Pittston Area, Wilkes-Barre Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts as well as Luzerne County Community College. FBI agents also sought records from the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center. The other school officials charged in the case are from Wilkes-Barre Area.
Who Keeps Tabs On Oklahoma Public School Spending?
Posted: Mar 05, 2010 1:02 PM CST
TULSA, OK -- As a spending scandal rocks a Green Country school district, some parents are asking what they could have done to prevent it. So, who should be keeping tabs on your school's finances? With the suspension of the Skiatook school superintendent, the community remains up in arms over the waste of taxpayer dollars.
Slammed with a school spending scandal, some Skiatook citizens want to take action. Some are asking what should have been done to prevent half a million dollars worth of waste.
No resolution on violence at South Philly
by Helen Gym on Feb 24 2010
It’s hard to look at the findings of the District’s independent investigation into the December 3 violence at South Philadelphia High School without significant shock and outrage. After all, this was an incident in which more than two dozen Asian immigrant students were assaulted throughout the day in multiple attacks, which sent 13 youth to the hospital at a school with a history of violence overall and against Asian immigrant students in particular.
A Frightening Analysis
The report confirms in detail widespread violence on Dec. 3, violence that began first thing in the morning and was well known to school administration.
at no point does the report question the actions of school officials. Officials escorted students to the lunchroom, ignoring the students' expressed fears of going there and where they were subsequently attacked. The officials escorted them outside where large crowds had gathered, again ignoring students' expressed fears of leaving the school -- and despite the fact that school officials “had the sense that the crowds on Broad Street were not only larger than normal, but were not dispersing quickly."
It doesn’t question why the principal would send home a letter to families the next day making no mention of the repeated in-school assaults and instead characterizing the violence as simply: “As you may have heard in the news, an incident occurred at dismissal, outside of South Philadelphia High School on Thursday, December 3, 2009.”
Nor does it ask why District officials continued to mischaracterize the events of the day in public statements; Regional Superintendent Michael Silverman referred to the December 3rd violence as a “blip” and School Safety Chief James Golden said there was only a “minor incident” with no injuries.
。。。Instead, the report essentially absolves the District and school leadership of any responsibility. In fact, the report seems to imply that if we were to revisit that day on Dec. 3, the administration of SPHS could have made the exact same choices.
When pressed on why his findings didn’t address school responsibility, Judge James Giles said he didn’t believe in “Monday-morning quarter-backing.” Let's be clear: This was an incident which garnered national and international expressions of concern, where more than a dozen students were sent to the emergency room, and which sparked a boycott by more than 50 Asian students who feared for their safety after more than a year of relentless harassment.
//////In riveting testimony earlier this week at the School Reform Commission, the grandmother of one of the Asian student victims wept as she described the calculated efforts of school personnel who had scapegoated and unjustly forced out her grandson following a brutal assault upon him Dec. 2.
/////Adult staff also engaged in racial namecalling, the complaint said. Principal Brown herself, who started at the school in September, "has displayed discriminatory attitudes towards Asian students," the complaint said, because she called the ESOL program "that dynasty." After the attacks, she referred to the boycott and persistent efforts to address the incident as "the Asian agenda." Brown also said that attacks on Asian students on their way home were not the school's responsibility, despite District policy.
Dec 9, 2009
Alini Brito And Cindy Mauro, Teachers, Caught Naked In Brooklyn's James Madison High School Classroom (VI
In the second sex scandal in as many days, Allison Mussachio, a third teacher at James Madison High School, is reportedly under investigation for having an affair with a student.
Two Brooklyn Romance language teachers were allegedly caught practicing another type of romance in a school classroom.
April 15, 2010
check out the new Frederick County Public Schools administration building. Even under construction, the school board's new crib has both gravitas and flair. The design is well-balanced -- blending sleek, modern lines with the red-brick history of downtown Frederick . . . Unfortunately, the financial aspects of the new central office, . . I suppose I could get over the amount of the annual lease payment: $1.2 million. But I can't seem to get past the fact that the payment will be drawn from the board's so-called reserve fund, a tidy little nest egg ($2 million) of unspent operating cash.
Unspent. I'm not sure how that happened -- or why that money was then "pocketed" by the Board of Education for the new building. In times like these, when so many vital programs and services -- and jobs -- are about to be cut throughout the school system, it seems like a scandal to hold $2 million in reserve. . . .
slashing, by more than half, the well-respected and highly successful CASS program (Community Agency School Services), which serves about 1,000 school kids each year who struggle with issues such as homelessness, hunger, and physical and mental health problems.
Jul 22, 2009 6:22 pm US/Central
CPS Launches Probe Into Enrollment Practices: Targeted Schools Not Specified
Analysis of selective schools data shows poorer students have tougher time gaining admission Posted By Sarah Karp On Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The concern was that high-performing, well-off students would gain a disproportionate share of seats based on composite scores, and then get more seats through the tier process. Meanwhile, lower-performing, poorer students would only really be competitive for the 15 percent of seats reserved for their tier.
CPS officials declined to release detailed racial or socio-economic data on students who got offer letters from the nine selective enrollment high schools.
Oct 14, 2009
For the most part, Iowans through the years have been spared the assorted public scandals (mostly involving sex and money) they frequently read about in other states. Iowa is not entirely scandal-free, mind you, but the people of this state largely have been justified in thinking of scandals as happening somewhere else.
However, as details of what appears to be a new scandal emerge in Iowa for the third time in the last couple of years, we fear the state's reputation for honesty and character may be fraying a little at the edges.
Following closely on the heels of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium pay scandal and the continuing flap over the state's film tax credit program are disturbing stories reported in recent days about the Iowa Association of School Boards. Allegations have been made and questions raised about the IASB's spending practices, the salaries of some of its employees and possible conflicts of interest.
Why, you might ask, should this concern me? Because it involves your money and impacts your state's public schools.
Maryland Criminal Charges - Grade-Changing Scandal at Churchill High Sparks Criminal Investigation March 6, 2010
District Moves To Fire Middleton Teacher Over Graphic E-Mails
Teacher Placed On Unpaid Leave Updated: 5:23 pm PDT April 8, 2010
MIDDLETON, Wis. -- The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District is moving to fire a teacher over accessing inappropriate content on district computers.
The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District conducted an investigation on explicit e-mails on the district's computer servers, which led to a middle school teacher being put on unpaid leave
New criminal charges filed against the former Dothan High School principal allege he provided alcohol and cigarettes to a minor.
Dothan police investigators arrested Andrew Dwight Sewell, 41, and charged him with three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Pace High School Principal
Students, teachers and local pastors are protesting over a court case involving a northern Florida school principal and an athletic director who are facing criminal charges and up to six months in jail over their offer of a mealtime prayer.
A former employee of Randolph Career and Technical Center making major accusations against two prominent employees, the school's principal and bookkeeper. The principal is said to have used thousands of dollars of school money to make home improvements. The bookkeeper is accused of using tens of thousands of dollars to help pay off a mortgage.
The principal and bookkeeper are both suspended without pay.
The bookkeeper, Eugenia Holimon, is accused of using more than $29,000 to help pay her mortgage. Her son is said to have made more than $6,000 in unauthorized purchases at Sam's Club, all on the school's account.
The school's principal, Gwendolyn Miller, is accused of running a tab of more than $640 at the school's boutique shop.
are wonderful philanthropists.
I support Democrats for Education Reform.
I support CHOICE.
Last I heard, it was ok to support Democratic ideals on DU - even ones that might prove unpopular with some.
These people are smart and successful and surround themselves with VERY smart and successful people. I think maybe - just maybe - we should give the folks with the brains and the clout to get it done a bit of a chance, don't you?
What's been done in the past ain't working folks. . . it's time to make some serious changes. You may not LIKE some of the changes, but for the life of me I can't understand questioning the motives of multi-BILLIONAIRES who have absolutely NO NEED of "making any more money". They have demonstrated time and again that they have the best interest of the disadvantaged at heart. Which is more than I can say for a lot of people.
I have really really tried to figure out this "dastardly plan" that they're being accused of. It's not union busting. It's not teacher hating. It's not elitism. It's not power or control or anything at all ... but philanthropy - plain. pure. and simple.
The poor and disadvantaged are FINALLY getting some of the help - and the $$ and expertise - needed to try and get rid of the bias that is institutionalized into the American educational system. I really don't understand why it is that good Democrats have a problem with that.
Think about it folks, who has the agenda? Who has the most to "gain" from maintaining the status quo?
It's not sick, nor disgusting nor traitorous to want QUALITY EDUCATION available for EVERY CHILD.. Regardless of their color. This isn't a call-out. Having a dissenting opinion - especially one that is embraced by MANY GOOD DEMOCRATS should not be censured on DU.
A little background - ((his elitist upbringing))
". . .As the child of immigrant parents, Eli Broad was instilled with the values of hard work, education and the dream that anything was possible. He and Edythe both attended Detroit Public Schools, and then he attended Michigan State University, graduating with a degree in accounting and becoming the youngest CPA in the state’s history. . . While working for two years as an accountant, Eli Broad saw his homebuilding clients making much more than he was, and he and Edythe’s cousin’s husband decided they, too, could build houses. Eli Broad and Donald Kaufman founded Kaufman and Broad . . Kaufman and Broad grew rapidly, becoming the first homebuilder to be traded on the American and New York stock exchanges.
The Broads had created a family foundation in the 1960s as a way to support their charitable interests and causes. But with their financial success from the sale of SunAmerica, the Broads focused their charitable giving in a new style of investing that was more akin to their business acumen: venture philanthropy. An entrepreneur at heart, Eli Broad has applied his same spirit of creating new enterprises to the family’s approach to philanthropy.
Today, The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.1 billion. Their mission is to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts.
. . . The Mission of The Broad Foundations
Transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition
Making significant contributions to advance major scientific and medical research
Fostering public appreciation of contemporary art by increasing access for audiences worldwide
Leading and contributing to major civic projects in Los Angeles
(Hmph - he forgot his evil reason - to bilk the public out of money (cause he's got so little, ya see) and destroying AMERICA by ripping the heart out - our JEWEL, our greatest SUCCESS - our traditional public schools! )
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Broad Institute, the 10th anniversary of our entry into education reform, and the 25th anniversary of The Broad Art Foundation. Anniversaries or milestones, whatever you choose to call them, are significant. To us, they are a reason to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come, what we’ve accomplished, and what we have left to do.
. . . Scientific and medical research is our newest area of philanthropy, but it is the one in which we have made the greatest progress in the shortest amount of time. It is also the area we believe has the potential to yield the greatest return. Our goal in this area is simple: to improve the human condition. Ambitious? Absolutely, but why not set our sights high? We’ve placed our bets on two areas of research: genomic medicine and stem cells.
Since then, the Broad Institute’s unique relationship with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute has evolved into a dynamic partnership. With a second $100 million investment and then a $400 million endowment from our foundation, the Broad Institute celebrated its five-year anniversary in July 2009 by becoming an independent institution, yet retaining its magnetic ability to attract the most brilliant minds from Harvard and MIT around promising research. What was created
was an entirely new community of scientists.
Nicknamed “the Broad,” the collaborative way of conducting science has resulted in spearheading promising discoveries like the International Haplotype Map Project, which charts how the genome varies from person to person, accelerating the search for genes that contribute to common diseases. Also notable are advances like the RNAi Consortium, a public-private undertaking based at the Broad Institute, which built a resource library of 160,000 inhibitory RNAs—made available for free to researchers around the world—that has already led to important discoveries in breast cancer and leukemia. Our investments in stem cell research have resulted in groundbreaking work being conducted at three cutting-edge centers in California at UCLA, UC San Francisco and USC.
While genomics researchers have not yet cured cancer and stem cell scientists have not yet developed a widespread treatment for such diseases as Parkinson’s, we are convinced it is only a matter of time. If scientists are predisposed to disrupting the status quo, all too many educators are entrenched in preserving it.
We started our work in education reform a decade ago with the mission of transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.
In the last 10 years, we’ve learned four things:
The need to improve our public schools is greater now than ever before.
Education reform is not easy.
Education reform does not happen quickly.
There are a lot of forces opposing change in our public schools.
These four observations have meant that our work to dramatically improve student achievement across the country has been filled with equal parts success and frustration.
.... Not all of our education investments have panned out the way we hoped
or expected. One of our biggest disappointments was in principal
training. Over the course of eight years, we invested $45 million to train
principals in reform-minded districts across the country. We expected
that intensive training would lead to notable and measurable student
achievement gains in those principals’ schools. It didn’t in many cases,
and we’re not sure why.
(SUCH A FAILURE!!! See? Even HE admits it!)
... The Broad Art Foundation, which celebrates its silver anniversary in 2009, has grown steadily over the years. . . . Our goal in this area of our philanthropy is to encourage public appreciation for and to increase public exposure to the arts. Beyond The Broad Art Foundation’s work as a lending library of contemporary art, over the years we have supported arts institutions, stepping in when other funding faltered or making possible performances, exhibitions and programming because it was the right thing to do for our community.
(oh yeah, SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURE.... you're just - uh - perverting the art experience - or - uh - something. I bet it's smut...)
Our support of the performing arts has ranged from opera—funding the creation of a new Wagner’s Ring Cycle (AHHA!! They must be anti-semitic!!) for Los Angeles Opera—to creating a programming endowment for a wonderfully intimate yet world-class performing arts center in Santa Monica, Calif. called The Broad Stage. In tough economic times, we are convinced that the arts are more important than ever before because they give us a respite from reality while encouraging provocative and creative thinking.
(HERE'S THE HIDDEN AGENDA, FOLKS - WAIT FOR IT . . . .
Until the cause and cure of cancer are discovered and there exists
a treatment for every debilitating illness, until all American children
receive an education that enables them to reach their full potential,
until audiences around the country have access to the arts, our work
will not be done.
(Such an evil, evil man!)
For specific details of what has been done, where the money has been spent, what works, what doesn't, the advances made - or not, and plans for the future -
Under our theory of action, we chose to invest in school districts
rather than in classrooms, believing that we could make a
greater impact systemically. The result has been grants in areas
as diverse as human resource redesign and performance
management. These investments have resulted in commonsense
improvements like expediting the teacher hiring
process, introducing organization-wide goal-setting and implementing
accountability metrics for all district employees.
Today, the Broad Institute is the world’s
leading genomic medicine institute and in July 2009 became
a permanent nonprofit research institution. It has grown to
a community of nearly 1,600 people with an annual research
budget of $205 million. The Broads have committed $600 million,
including a $400 million endowment. And in a relatively
short period of time, “the Broad,” as it is known in Cambridge,
has had a remarkable upward trajectory to transform medicine.
in supporting the arts - (oh just read it)
Face it, Eli's a multi-billionaire who needs to "milk the system" for money and his only purpose is to destroy America. mwah-ha-ha-ha.... He and his evil side-kick Bill Gates want to destroy the world by giving away billions to treat, research, educate, support, advance, and help people. You gotta really suspect people like that. Helping people without expecting to make some dough? Impossible! Who would EVER do a thing like THAT?!?! :hmph: They think they're so smart with all their highly intelligent and highly educated and highly successful, and highly motivated supporters. Gullible drones everyone, except the ones who are IN ON IT! !gasp! Oprah wants all poor black children to STAY THAT WAY so she can be the ONLY SUCCESSFUL ONE! oooo - ooooo - I've figured it out!!
This is obviously Barack's plan, too!!!!! This is hugh!! To be the FIRST Black President - well, someone had to be first. But to be the ONLY ONE EVAH!! Ah - the diabolical plan becomes more clear every day...
(All that and evidently Eli stood SOMEONE up for the prom here on DU . . . )
There are myriad reasons why one might choose to homeschool.
As you know, some people choose to homeschool because of their religion and/or other values which they believe are being "challenged" in a school. That's the type that usually get trashed in here - RW fundies. While there ARE a lot of them, that is not the only group. There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are people doing it, practically. Most of the time it is a COMBINATION of things that push people to homeschool. Let me just list a few:
1. Education (you can't get the type you need where you are)
3. Moral Values (and no, not the fundy ones. If you lived in Texas with their backasswards texts coming out, would you hs? Possibly.)
4. Child is gifted.
5, Chile is challenged.
6. Learningn disabilities
7. Learning differences.
8. Physical differences.
12. Family travels or moves a lot.
13. Family lives overseas.
14. Live in a very backass part of the country (see Texas).
15. Overcrowding in the school/schoolroom., lack of teaching time.
16. Commute time
17. crime/drugs/assault/sexual assault in the school
18. Political considerations (for instance lots of liberatarians and the "live-off-the-grid" anti-government folks.)
19. Kid has a special talent requiring a more flexible schedule with intensive school work and little "wasted time". Like a gymnast, dancer, musician, artist, etc.
20. Just cause they LIKE it!!
Take your pick of one or all of the possible combination!!
It's a great timesaver. It is so much more efficient. You cover in a few hours what may take a class days. One-on-one - or One-on-a-few are optimal ways of learning. You don't have to wait for anyone to catch up. You CAN have it repeated 10 times if you HAVE to. You don't have to wait for the class to be quiet, or calm down. You can learn it in the way that YOU learn best, now how the "average" person learns best. You don't have to line up to go to the bathroom or lunchroom. It really is a very effective mode of learning for people. It's designed "JUST FOR YOU" and no one else.
The most fun part is, you don't have to stick to a "schedule" or a "plan". If you want to go off on a tangent, get up and have a field trip in the middle of discussing worms - go out in the backyard and dig some up, etc... - then you can DO that. I tried to "stick with the standards" when I first brought my son home so if he went back he'd be "in line" with what they were doing. He was pretty bored with it though by the 2nd year. Ok son, what do YOU want to learn about. CHINA! So we studied China - in doing so we incorporated not only history, but mythology, reading, science, math (converting li to miles. Calculating how much it would cost to build the Great Wall in chinese money and how much would it cost today in Dollars and cents.
If your nine year old wants to study Algebra - and they can do it - albeit slowly - then why the hell not?
If he wants to take a middle school level Chemistry course on line and he can do it, then why not?
If he wants to spend a few months watching lectures on Ancient Egypt by a college professor, then go for it. He practiced his "note taking" while doing so.
Instead of just learning about some things in theory, you get out in the world and see how it really works. Calculate the cost of groceries, discounts. Figure out how much per oz something costs. How did it get there. Evaluate the nutritional content of different products. Buy stuff and make it yourself. Grow your own. Build it. Take it apart. Stay with a subject as long as you want. As long as you NEED. You don't have anyone else's timetable to adhere to. - oh and - do door-to-door - GET OUT THE VOTE with your mom, Go to political rallies, march in protests!
Some people are top down learners and some bottom up. Some are general to specifics, some are specific to general. School typically teaches bottom-up, specific - and some kids - like mine - are top down general to specific. He's a "global learner" which makes NO sense to people who DON'T learn that way. And sitting in a classroom that teaches it the other way around is torture.
People learn in different ways. They learn at different rates and stages. It's hard to accommodate that in the classroom. Typically most teachers are audio learners so that's how they teach - by "lecturing". However, some kids - more and more as a matter of fact - are visual learners, meaning they have to SEE it to understand it. Some kids are kinesthetic learners meaning they have to DO it to really understand it. Speaking of - some kids are just "antsy" - meaning they have to MOVE AROUND to learn best. Sitting perfectly still and "listening" is like death to them and they certianly can't learn that way.
Did you know that fluorescent lights can cause children to behave as if they're ADHD - but in fact, they are not. It's just the lighting that causes. it. Thus all those bewildering conversations between the teacher and the parents because the behaviour is so WILDLY different that each think the other is just CRAZY and/or in DENIAL or something. ooh - something else - have you LOOKED at textbook lately? So many colorful pictures and short little pull-outs. The page is a MESS of color and shape - they do it to "keep kids interested". For SOME kids! It's absolute HELL trying to use a textbook like that. If you're "visually distractable" it becomes almost impossible. Some kids want black and white text, maybe a line drawing or picts on some OTHER page, but just stick with the facts instead of trying to make it look like a PARTY on the page!
I found an Algebra text from the 50's that was GREAT for my son. Concise. Clear. Lots of "word problems" - though some were the cause of great mirth. "The bank manager makes $9.00 an hour and the teller makes $1.50. . . or Farmer John's granary hold XX bushels of wheat. He usually yields xx of wheat per acre, how many hectares does he have to plant to fill up the granary? Which also led to discussions about economics, inflation, life styles and how they differ from 50 years ago. Farming, ancestry - my folks and their folks, the depression, etc..........
Lots more connections are made. When we did study American History we did so by using it as a guide and filled it out with: an EMPHASIS on our State history (instead of a "different class"), we looked at what was going on in the world - not as in much detail, but an overall sense of what was going on and who was doing what - The French Revolution, The Opium Wars. We also incorporated - what was going on in Literature, Art, Music, Science, Inventions, during that same time period. I was amazed at what I didn't know had happen ed "concurrently - 'cause I - like most - was taught in little modules divorced from each other. American History. World History. Science, Lit. All devoid of any sense of each other. It's an amazing way to learn, I think, instead of compartmentalizing history the way it's usually taught.
That aside, for some kids, it's just the right thing to do. It works for them so why should people be upset about that? Yeah, there are some people who should no-way-in-hell be "homeschooling" their kid - but there's a few ps "teachers" out there - and some principals for that matter - who should no-way-in-hell be anywhere NEAR a kid! (No, I am NOT BASHING ALL TEACHERS!!! just a couple )
We were planning to hs temporarily - until we could get a different school for my older son. But it worked so well for him, he was SO HAPPY, that we kept doing it. He tried a couple of years ago to "go back" - he went to one semester of 8th grade. He HATED it. Everything about it. Not to mention - he was BORED OUT OF HIS FREAKING MIND!! (more on that if you want) so he came back home. He's now at an "alternative high school" where all the smart quirky kids go. People think they're a bunch of losers who never DO anything but nothing could be further from the truth. These kids are amazing! Anyway, if it wasn't for that school, he'd still be at home.
There's a homeschool group here on DU. It's pretty quiet but I'm sure if you're truly interested in information, and not just bashing - others will be glad to chime in!
and some comments (okay - a LOT of comments! lol )
I'm re-posting this from another thread upon suggestions. I keep hearing so much negative. I'm sure there IS some negative (hell - I HATE that there's not more emphasis on gifted students!!!) but I get the feeling very few people who are screaming the loudest how much "this sucks" has actually READ the thing - or, if they have, it's the most "negative interpretation" of the facts as possible. A lot of people on DU are "anti-Charter" I get that, but to throw out ALL of the ideas because you don't like that PARTICULAR idea? Isn't that just a wee bit short-sighted?
Here it is (the Blueprint) in it's entirety: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/bluepr... ... Please PLEASE actually READ it. All of it. There are some very good ideas in there. Can you admit that there are even though you might not like all of them? Or are you the type to throw out the baby with the bathwater 'cause it offends YOUR "pet thing" in some places??
I'd love to be able to DISCUSS this in a rational manner with people. Let's look for what's right with it as well as areas that can be IMPROVED! Let's work together instead of at odds. We're not Freeps for g'sake! We're supposed to be intelligent rational mature people who can agree to disagree and still get the job done. We don't have to be "entrenched" in a 'one-way' mode of thinking. Innovation and change and working for the good of ALL, not a just a FEW, right?
I see the blueprint as a positive step. Raising the bar - by forcing states to stop LOWERING THEIR STANDARDS so they "look good on paper", as well as giving MORE FLEXIBILITY - and funding back to the state/district/school level to implement changes they feel is necessary for their students. (FYI - here are the Core Standards - they're still open for comment from any and everyone: http://www.corestandards.org / oh and a link to an article about how state standards vary in regards to national benchmarks now: http://educationnext.org/few-states-set-wo... ... / )
It - the blueprint - gives a broader range of indicators - not just test scores. It takes into account the things teachers have been screaming about - poverty, community environment, etc. The test scores that are used will be be scrutinized individually - looking at the student's INDIVIDUAL GROWTH each year. So yeah, you do get a better picture of how much a student "learned". There will be benchmarks differentiated for students - at risk, homeless, migrant, ELL, etc.
Teachers by themselves will no longer be held individually accountable. They will look at what the school is doing to support the teacher, what is the district to support the school/teacher, what is the state doing to support the district/school/teacher.
Impediments to performance for schools will be taken into account. What is the population, the environment of the school, etc. The WHOLE child is considered. Community support will be stepped up.
They want to ELEVATE the teaching profession to a more "PROFESSIONAL" status. They know that teachers are professionals and should be treated and thought of as such. Better teacher evaluations will be better designed - and designed with the input of the teachers in their district. Not just "test scores" but value-added evaluations.
And do you REALLY THINK that if a school is successful they're going to CLOSE IT? What a ridiculous interpretation that is! The fact remains that for the foreseeable future, it's going to take a long time to make the type of effective changes that need to be made to get ALL schools on an acceptable, successful, level.
For those who don't know (and those who do, but keep pushing misinformation!) ALL CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS and ALL CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE NON-PROFIT SCHOOLS.
The "for-profit" mantra you hear is in regards to Educational Management Organizations. They currently operate appx 10% of all Charter schools (500). EMO's also manage some TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS, too. Some Charters - another 10-12ish percent are managed by Charter Management Organizations, non-profit management groups. The rests - almost EIGHTY PERCENT (80%) of Charter public schools are run by local individuals committed to the school and their community - teachers, parents, businessmen/women. Heck there are more than a few CHARTERS run by the actual SCHOOL SYSTEMS.
Charters do NOT "take money" from a community. In fact, most Charters operate with money which translates to fewer dollars per student than the traditional school in their area and are still being successful. Charters are not "taking over"; there are appx 5,000 charter schools and 100,000 traditional public schools - that's FIVE PERCENT! I don't think traditional public schools are being "run out of business".
Charters do NOT "siphon off the best" and "not take Sped", and don't Kick out everyone they don't like. They are not racist nor elitist. Charters are filled by BLIND LOTTERY - the same as "Magnet schools" run by the local district. They can and do "expel" students - about on the same level as traditional schools - actually less. Some kids drop out, move, or transfer to another school better suited, just like traditionals. Are the standards of behaviour higher? Certainly. And isn't that a good thing? SHould the traditionals follow suit? Absodamnlutely. There ARE alternatives to working with the chronically disruptive.\
It's funny really - I hear people say charters are elitist taking the best, and then I hear charters are "exploiting" the poor minorities. (The funniest part is, sometimes it's the same damn poster in different threads!! lol) So which is it?
Here are some stats on Charter school demographics (2008-2009) - that might surprise you:
Charter Schools Metrics& %
Non-Charter schools Metrics
Note African American and Hispanic numbers in each.
Charter Schools Metrics&
Eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch.......... 48.2%
Ineligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch.......... 51.8%
Non-Charter Schools Metrics&
Eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch.......... 45.2%
Ineligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch.......... 54.8%
And NO, the "poor neighborhoods" aren't being taken advantage of. These are schools that TARGET HELPING poor disadvantaged populations. And by all accounts, many - most - are doing a very good job. Why does that piss people off?
It's called CHOICE! We're Democrats - we SUPPORT CHOICE, don't we? Giving people more options? Not a lockstep type of ideology decided by one group? Take the Texas School Board debacle for example. Do you REALLY want your kid in a PS there? Conservative fundamentals have targeted SCHOOL BOARDS all over the country. They want that control to set curricula. I - for one - would like - nay, I've NEEDED - other options available for children.
Children learn in different ways and require different approaches. Should traditional schools meet those requirements? YES! Do they? For the most part - vastly for the most part - the sad answer is NO.
It's NOT the "TEACHERS" FAULT! It's the insitution's fault. Big wheels in motion a long time take longer to change direction. The will, time, determination and money it takes to turn things around aren't very prevalent in School districts. There's a district outside of Denver that did what they had to do and did it very successfully. DONCO has written extensively about the process and the results. If EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT would put that same thoughtful care into their districts, there probably wouldn't be a NEED for Charter public schools. But every school district WON'T without being MADE to.
I am not anti-traditional public school, I am not anti-teacher, I am not anti-union. (BTW - did you know that there are UNION Charter schools as well as traditional public teachers that are NOT Union??) I am pro-choice when it comes to education. My PERSONAL experiences (as in up close and . . . not just read about, or heard "a" story about, or know "a" kid about. . . ) - and they have been many - encompass almost the entire gamut - traditional public schools, magnet schools, pull-out programs, homeschooling, online classes, charter schools in two states. IEP's, 504's, modified classes, semi-grade-skip. Not done private (no money, not done religious (except pre-schools) 'cause I'm not anymore.) May possibly be doing the "boarding school" for the arts next year for one of mine so I'm looking into how that works. I've fought with a megalomaniac Principal, and a fundy School Board Chairman and lying administrators and public teachers too scared of the Principal to do the right thing for the kid!
My point is, many people read something or hear "A" negative story and decide the whole system is that way. It's not. There are good charters and bad ones - just like in traditional. The difference is, Charters get shut down much quicker if they are NOT effective. There are SCANDALS in each, misappropriation of funds, poor teachers, BAD teachers, cheating admins, - nothing is perfect. But please DON"T use a BROAD BRUSH to smear every charter public school cause you heard a bad story. Or because you - personally - don't like them. Oh - and DON'T paint all homeschoolers as dumb redneck fundies, 'cause we aren't!
Instead of carping and griping and finding all the things WRONG - why can't we work together to find what's right and replicate it?!? After all it is the CHILDREN that we should be considering and their education, their future! Stop personalizing every thing and considering it some kind of personal attack on YOU. It's not. It's about making the desperately needed changes in a system that hasn't worked the way it should for a long, long time.
Please, if you take exception to things I say - or the Blueprint says, please address specifically. Don't say I want to destroy public schools or I hate unions or I hate teachers or some such other bullshit that ISN'T true. Oh - and I AM a Democrat and a liberal so please don't question THAT, either. I also - DON"T GET PAID! (though I wish heartily that I did! lol) I'm amongst the perpetually looking for work these days so yeah - I'm on DU a lot. (more on that if you care.) Don't say you hate "Arne" with some childish nickname. Don't claim Obama is the devil reagan incarnate. Don't toss out the tired phony syllogisms usually made. 'k?
Get ready, set, READ . . . http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/bluepr...
(I'll just be donning my fireproof armour . . . )
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