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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