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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Fri Dec 09th 2011, 05:39 PM
One school in this system of charter schools sent over 12% of its 2009-2010 class back to the public school district. Two others dismissed 5% and 7% of their student enrollment.

So there you have it...one set of schools getting taxpayer money gets to pick and choose their students, the traditional public schools don't get that luxury. If schools get public money, they should keep the students and work with them.

And so they get puff articles written about how very good they are, with not a mention of how they keep such high scores. The local school board has no control over them, even as their success rewards them by letting them take even more money from these public schools.

Future Appears Bright For McKeel Schools After Recent High Rankings

These schools like other charters are publicly funded and privately operated, and the local school district can't tell them what to do.

Charter schools, which are public schools that are privately operated, must meet certain standards to qualify for the high performing ranking from the state Department of Education. The criteria includes achieving a minimum of two "A" school grades and no grades below a "B" for the past three years.


Not hard to do that if you do not have to provide for low performing students and their needs. And to top it off, new laws in the state favor the formation of more charters and will take more money from public education.

In August 2010, charter officials said the school district significantly cut administrative services and discontinued food and transportation services after losing $1.36 million in fees as a result of new charter school state laws.


I cheered a school board member last year who had the nerve to question the McKeel policy of dismissing so many students.

FL school board member demands that charters account for kids sent back to public schools.

School Board member Frank O’Reilly wants district official to start tracking how many students are transferred from charter schools to public schools as a result of their grades, social economic status or behavioral issues. During a work session this morning, O’Reilly read a letter sent by Harold Maready, superintendent of McKeel charter schools, to a parent about their third grader who flunked the FCAT.

“Your child does not meet the criteria to be a McKeel student,” O’Reilly read.

If public schools were to reject students based on their academic performance, then they could be A schools, too, O’Reilly said.

“We must take every child that comes through that door whether we like it or not,” O’Reilly said. ‘‘That is a public school paid by taxpayers’ dollars, and I like to remind Mr. Maready of that.”


For a charter school to actually send out a letter to parents like that is shocking. They seem to have forgotten who is funding their very existence in large part. There is such an arrogance about sending that letter to parents....but their pretense at being so much better than other schools is even worse.

There was a remark made by the chairman of the school board at McKeel. It absolutely puts in perspective that this is a movement meant to turn education into a business that will profit corporations with the use of public taxpayer money.

Mark Thompson, McKeel's chairman of the board, said the training is essential to develop teachers at McKeel.

"One of the beauties to me of the whole charter movement is you put dollars into hands of businesspeople who know how to leverage them," Thompson said. "The taxpayer expects us to produce a product.

McKeel Charter Schools Spends $70,000 on Weekend Retreat


I have only two things to add after such a statement. Why are so many okay with this turning of education into a business and turning children into a product?

And the second....why is it the Democratic administration that is bringing all of this corporate dream to fruition?

I have no answer for either.

Here is the summary of the students dismissed from McKeel schools and sent back to public schools.
From Billy Townsend at Lakeland Local blog. There is a chart linked in the post.

Class Warfare, McKeel Academy Edition

Let me translate that answer into big boy speak: "You’re damn right we dump our difficult kids. In great numbers. And we’ll do it again. That’s our culture of achievement. And then we’ll brag about how different we are from traditional schools. Oh, and the magnet schools do it, so there."

How many dumped kids are we talking about? And who are they? Well, check out this sheet produced by the School District. Pay particular attention to the table at the top outlining transfer figures for the three McKeel schools.

In McKeel Academy, the junior-senior high in Lakeland with 1,042 students, 130 students left for regular Polk School District schools in the 2009-2010 school year. That’s 12.5 percent of its enrollment. South McKeel Academy, a K-7, rid itself of 77 kids, about 7 percent of its enrollment. That’s in a mostly elementary school, where kids are generally easier to deal with and American schools generally do pretty well.

Maybe their parents got a letter like the one Frank read at the School Board Meeting, stating, “Your child does not meet the criteria to be a McKeel student.”


Things like this are starting to play out more openly in the newspapers locally in many areas. People should start wondering where those kids being dropped by charters will go as the public schools get less and less funding.
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