What impact are charter schools having on public education?

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Brock d'Avignon (not verified)

The combined accountability

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The combined accountability hell of charter schools plus being Independent Study Schools consumes 3 hours per day on attendance accountability, 3 hours on grading, and leaves 2 hours for teaching or tutoring for just 25 students per week. The efficiencies that could be had in charter schools catering to at-risk and high risk students are eaten away by compliance demands. The 7 states that have Independent Study financing models are going to be turned too when the bird-flu hits to annihalate classroom education by parental boycott. The current models we have, especially California, need to be rethought before being copied. Some say pre-AB740 in California was best of both worlds. I have 10 years experience in alt ed. The National Governors Association is creating a primer for local and state officials for the bird-flu and it does not yet address distant learning, as I have just advised them. More info: contact Princiapla, Brock d'Avignon 916-791-2665 at Greater Sacramento Independent Study School, Inc., a private non-profit distant learning school doing it better.
Bianca Buckridee (not verified)

I teach at a charter school

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I teach at a charter school in Tampa, FL and my experiences have ranged from disappointing to incredible highs. It's easy enough to refer to a "study" but one has ask important questions when considering the value of any study. How was it conducted? Who determined the demographics? Who conducted the survey? How were they picked and trained? The list goes on forever. This is my 3rd year teaching and I am having a blast teaching. My charter school has provided Mac I-Book laptops for each child in our grade level, as well as Macbook Pro laptops for each teacher. Our school was recently awarded a $200K grant by Partnership to Advance School Success which was promptly matched 50% by one of our benefactors. We have access to LCD projectors, Flexscopes, curriculum that is research based and proven to work. We have these things because Charter schools have the flexibility to seek these outside funds. Our principal strongly encourages our professional development and seeks funding to provide it. Our children are highly talented but would not survive in a regular academic setting. Our school also strongly believes in character education and we have committed as a staff to practice what we preach. We have been told by parents that public schools refer their behaviorally challenged students to charter schools. I have been disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm shown by certain sectors of our school district. Yes, we were failing but all we needed was someone to believe in us. Now that we've found our principal so many wonderful things are happening and I am proud to work at a charter school. Instead of offering criticism or unsubstantiated "data", let's pool together and create life-long learners as a team. Again, I am proud to teach at a charter school, I wouldn't work anywhere else.
DV Edgar (not verified)

I work with 50 school

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I work with 50 school districts and 54 charter schools on a daily basis to help them implement policies and instructional strategies. In my experience, the quality of charter schools vary greatly. They are either very, very good or very, very bad and there doesn't seem to be an in between. Some of the worst charter schools struggle with a variety of problems - almost always administrative in nature. Some are unable to retain any type of leadership and virtually change over their board and administration yearly. Others suffer from administrators who misuse or steal funding. Still others are staffed by "teachers" who themselves may only have a high school diploma and no formal training. Some "chain" charter schools (some bad and some good) are run with a corporate mentality that can give any buracracy a run for its money in terms of complexity. Some also make a point to "buck" any and all regulations that they can or think they can in order to increase their bottom line. I have a hard time believing that this "HMO" approach to education, where money is the critical factor and the education of students is secondary can prove successful in the long run. The charter schools who are successful have a strong, well-educated, committed administrative team who excel at creative problem solving. They attract highly-qualified teachers and provide a rich curriculum for their students. Unfortunatley, these charter schools seem to be the exception rather than the norm. I don't have an inherent problem with charter schools but I believe they should be held to the same licensing and accountability standards that any public or private school would be held to.
JK Vickrey (not verified)

Many charter schools have

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Many charter schools have lost their opportunity to shine because of narrow, state imposed accountability standards. Oregon, like other states keeps a tight noose around the neck of charter schools to preserve their monopoly over education. All public charter schools are measured by the same report card regardless if they are an alternative school reclaiming students who were "unsuccessful" in tradition public school settings or an "accelerated" or "enhanced" school catering to involved parents looking for a private academy education for their "successful" children at public expense. How many alternative charter schools have helped students become productive citizens by moving them away from destructive to engaging environments. State report cards don't measure the emotional development, positive social networking, creativity and initiative of students. Lets not be so naive to assume that all students come from socially and economically secure families or that all charter schools should be measured by the same standards.
Dale Banks (not verified)

As long as teacher unions

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As long as teacher unions hold sway over public education and the Democratic Party is beholding to those teacher unions then charter schools will bear the brunt of negative publicity. The children trapped in under performing schools do not have the political clot necessary to free themselves from and endless cycle of poor educational opportunities. Some charter schools probably ought to be closed because of poor results but by the same standards there are many public schools that need to be closed. At least with charter schools parents and children can vote with their feet.
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