Author Topic: Charter School vs Public School  (Read 3017 times)

jamesbond007

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Charter School vs Public School
« on: January 22, 2018, 12:32:59 PM »
My DD is 3.5 yrs old and she will be in school in 2019 academic year. We have been researching about Charter schools and they sound like good options. It involves a lot of parenting, etc. but sounds like a good way to circumvent bad "assigned" public schools. Why don't many people go to them? Am I missing something? What should we keep in mind?

Cranky

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 12:46:47 PM »
Big topic. Charters *are* public school. They are funded with public school money.

They are IMO an attempt to privatize the public school system, and I object to them on those grounds. They generally pay teachers less, are non-union, and don’t follow the same work rules.

But as schools, they vary hugely. Your state laws on charters do matter. Some states have much stricter oversight than others.

Many charter schools are poorly regulated for-profit chains. Despite what many people think, there isn’t a vast amount of excess money in public schools, just waiting to be slashed by some clever business practice. If charters spend less per pupil, it has to come from somewhere and it’s usually salaries and special ed.

In Ohio, charters generally perform more poorly than comparable public schools, a result that surprised everyone, because it was assumed that they would  poach the best kids from the public schools. And of course, they pull money from the public schools, which is not likely to be helpful.

As ever, go and actually look at schools. Sit in the classroom. Look at the curriculum. Listen to the teachers.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 12:49:42 PM »
Charter schools can be good options is your district school isn’t performing for its kids. The Great Schools web site is a great place to research how your local schools are performing.

Personally, I’m a fan of district schools, as long as the district school is meeting the needs of your child. Attending a neighborhood school has a strong community benefit. We’ve made lots of friends, and we’ve been very involved with school programs. It’s been a great experience, and our child is on track.

In many cases, district schools perform well for some student groups, but poorly for others. Where I live, many district schools are underperforming for low income students of color (African American and Latino groups are most underserved), as well as for kids with disabilities. In those cases, Charters have seemed to provide better options.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 12:51:38 PM »
Our daughter went to kindergarten in our assigned district.  It was ok.  I loved her teachers, but there was not a lot of parent involvement, a lot of low income kids distracting the class, etc.  A new charter school opened and we lept at the chance to attend.  The first year was wonderful.  The second year she had an awful teacher that was not terminated until spring break.  My son went to kindergarten there that year and he had the most awesome experience ever.  I wasn't happy about my daughter's experience but was looking forward to the third year.  I wasn't pleased with the third year at all, but we decided to give it "one more year."  Four weeks into this year, the school terminated 40% of the staff due to lack of funding, including both of our teachers.  There were other terrible decisions that led to this, but we immediately pulled both children.  All charters are different, but I would never attend a new charter school now that I've had the experience.

In the "bad" public school, we immediately had to have a conference because our daughter is behind on all district standards.  In my state (SC), charters have their own district.  Son is doing well, but he is naturally advanced.  I would carefully look at exactly what benefits the charter in your area offers.  For example, in our local district, students all have ipads, and 4th and up have laptops.  Charter didn't offer this, and since we don't have ipads at home, that represented another learning curve.  The local district has an agreement with the YMCA that uses their pool.  School lunch now is $2. Charter school had catering only, by local restaurants, so school lunch was $5. It's not mustachian, but sometimes you just want to not pack a lunch, you know?

Daughter will struggle to catch up by middle school.  The entire atmosphere was very different in the charter and clearly not up to our local district's standards.  There is another charter school in our area that has been around for 10 years.  By all accounts, it's up to par and has language programs, etc. that a tenured school should offer.  That school may have provided a completely different experience for us.  But I won't be giving it the opportunity any time soon.

scantee

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 01:06:59 PM »
Is your specific public school bad or do you think public schools generally are “bad”?

I used to be an education researcher and a result of that was very familiar with the testing scores of the schools in my state. My experience is that parents’ opinions of what constitutes “good” schools doesn’t  always align with how the schools actually perform. That is, their judgments of which schools are good and which are not were usually based on hearsay and the wealth of the area rather than any data about the schools themselves. From my research, I knew that some of the schools the claimed were bad were actually higher performing than the “good” schools in communities they moved to specifically for the schools!

Many charter schools participate in state testing so I would encourage you to go to your state’s education website and look at the data yourself. This information is publicly available in all states. Now, I know that test scores aren’t the only thing that matters when choosing a school, but to the extent it does matter, you should at least know you’re working with correct information rather than just gossip.

charis

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 01:24:47 PM »
This a very contentious these days - a brief Google search on why people opposed Betsy DeVos's appointment should bring up some relevant articles.  The one good, established charter school in our district is cult-like and will be the first to tell you that they are quick to boot students who don't fit into their model (behavioral issues and/or special needs).   In others there is little job security/pay for teachers, who may be unqualified for those reasons, little oversight, numbers manipulation, and administrative instability.  Proceed very cautiously.

mm1970

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 01:59:18 PM »
My DD is 3.5 yrs old and she will be in school in 2019 academic year. We have been researching about Charter schools and they sound like good options. It involves a lot of parenting, etc. but sounds like a good way to circumvent bad "assigned" public schools. Why don't many people go to them? Am I missing something? What should we keep in mind?
Depends on the school and the district

Our district has 5 "charter" schools.
1.  Bi-lingual school.  This is specialty, you have to want it, it's a lottery.
2.  Fancy-schmancy.  This is a district school, but they wanted to make their own rules.  They have an attendance boundary which is the same as the old boundary before they became a charter.  Often more kids in the boundary than room, so it's a lottery.
3.  Year-round school.  Different schedule, wear uniforms, heavily EL, you have to really want this.
4.  Alternative school.  Very new-agey.  Mostly parents who really like the philosophy and want to be there.  Much of the district schools have adopted the plans and policies that they started.  There's a bit of this school being that place where kids who can't hack regular schools end up.  It's so small that it's being shut down.
5.  Charter school, actually located in the next town over.  Yuppies.  Honestly this is the school where families go if they are trying to stay away from the brown kids.  (As opposed to the alternative school where parents want to be there).

Our state and district allow open transfers.  The alternative school always came up as an option if we wanted to leave our "failing" school, but their test scores were worse than ours.

"Failing" is generally another word for "poor" or "English learners". 

MayDay

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 02:22:15 PM »
There is value in being in a neighborhood school, too. Think about the next ten years: you could have a kid who usually walks home from activities, or sometimes shares rides with neighbors, or you could be schlepping them everywhere by car. You could have your kid run to the neighbor's house when they forget their math textbook, or you could be choosing between driving back to school or skipping the homework. You could know all the neighborhood parents and have a pretty good feel for the safety of your kid on various social situations, or you could have a scattered griup of families who you have to get to know each time a birthday party invite comes along.

Obviously that is generalized, bit I'll agree with the PP's to look at how well the charter is really performing (tip: if it is pulling all the wealthy kids,good test scores are the vare minimum), and who the teachers really are (lots of brand new teachers who couldn't get hired by the public school is common due to low salaries and poor benefits).

As PP's mentioned,they also rarely meet the needs of any kind of special kid, whether that is an IEP, or gifted.   They just kick them out, or underserve them until they leave on their own.

jamesbond007

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2018, 02:28:28 PM »
Thanks for the info. Just to clarify, I am not opposed to public schools nor do I think public schools are bad. Public schools are actually good in my area. I don't consider greatschools.org rating any good for a lot of reasons. I check my state department of education data to figure out what I want. Anyway, the reason I made this post is to understand what exactly is this charter schools thing. This concept is very hard for me to grasp as I did not go to school(K-12) here in the US. Thanks for the responses.

I actually learned a few things here with this post. I always wondered how charter schools get their money when they are not really "public". I did not know that charter schools do not pay teachers well. This is a deal breaker for me.

historienne

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 02:43:31 PM »
Charter schools vary massively, and every state has it's own system.  In Maryland, charter school employees are unionized and work on the same payscales as other teachers, but that is unusual.

On average, charter schools underperform regular public schools.  There are great charters; but there are also lots of terrible ones.  If you are interested in charter schools, you really need to research the specific options available to you. 

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 08:01:37 PM »
Depends on the specific schools you're wondering about.  There's no universal answer here. 

jeninco

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 10:33:51 AM »
Joining the chorus to say "look carefully."

 Some things to consider:
- you'll want to actually visit any school you're seriously considering (outside of your neighborhood school, and you might want to visit that one anyhow). Sit quietly in the back and watch a class, and not just a kindergarten class, but maybe a 3rd/4th grade class. Pick out a child that reminds you of who yours might grow into -- does that kid seem like s/he's being well served? Engaged? If there are projects posted on the walls, actually read a few of them, and see what you think. Be aware that not all classes are broken out by aptitude, and science, for example, will be taught to a kids with an enormous range of backgrounds. Do you see this reflected in the projects?
- Absolute Scores on standardized tests mostly tell you about the SES ("Socio-Economic Status", i.e. wealth, mostly) of the children taking the test. See if you can find GROWTH data, and figure out how the state calculates it. Students with great teachers can learn something like twice as much in a year as students with crappy teachers (source, some Malcolm Gladwell essay I read, although he footnotes this stuff). Note: most schools will have both great and cruddy and middle-of-the-road teachers -- that's life. But you can see how the school's doing in general with student growth, which tells you, in general, how effective the school is.
- After/before school activities, although this is a place that a few motivated parents can have a great impact.  Are there things you particularly care about? If you talk to the administration, do they seem like they'd be on board with a XXX club if you offer to help organize and run it?
- How involved is the PTA/PTO? Are there parent volunteers in the building? Lots, or just a few? (Seriously, good teachers are comfortable integrating competent volunteers. Insecure teachers don't want other adults in their rooms. I suppose this needs the caveat that some parents are more trouble then they're worth...) We attended a not-so-good neighborhood elementary school and then moved to a much better school 3 miles away. The first school, I was one of a very few volunteers in the building. The second, there were tons of parents in the building all the time: reading with little kids, volunteering with older classes, helping shelve books in the library, etc. etc.

Good luck!

jamesbond007

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 11:51:37 AM »
Joining the chorus to say "look carefully."

 Some things to consider:
- you'll want to actually visit any school you're seriously considering (outside of your neighborhood school, and you might want to visit that one anyhow). Sit quietly in the back and watch a class, and not just a kindergarten class, but maybe a 3rd/4th grade class. Pick out a child that reminds you of who yours might grow into -- does that kid seem like s/he's being well served? Engaged? If there are projects posted on the walls, actually read a few of them, and see what you think. Be aware that not all classes are broken out by aptitude, and science, for example, will be taught to a kids with an enormous range of backgrounds. Do you see this reflected in the projects?
- Absolute Scores on standardized tests mostly tell you about the SES ("Socio-Economic Status", i.e. wealth, mostly) of the children taking the test. See if you can find GROWTH data, and figure out how the state calculates it. Students with great teachers can learn something like twice as much in a year as students with crappy teachers (source, some Malcolm Gladwell essay I read, although he footnotes this stuff). Note: most schools will have both great and cruddy and middle-of-the-road teachers -- that's life. But you can see how the school's doing in general with student growth, which tells you, in general, how effective the school is.
- After/before school activities, although this is a place that a few motivated parents can have a great impact.  Are there things you particularly care about? If you talk to the administration, do they seem like they'd be on board with a XXX club if you offer to help organize and run it?
- How involved is the PTA/PTO? Are there parent volunteers in the building? Lots, or just a few? (Seriously, good teachers are comfortable integrating competent volunteers. Insecure teachers don't want other adults in their rooms. I suppose this needs the caveat that some parents are more trouble then they're worth...) We attended a not-so-good neighborhood elementary school and then moved to a much better school 3 miles away. The first school, I was one of a very few volunteers in the building. The second, there were tons of parents in the building all the time: reading with little kids, volunteering with older classes, helping shelve books in the library, etc. etc.

Good luck!

This eye opening. Thank you. I did not know that I could actually go sit in a classroom. Very useful info.

Reddleman

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 02:31:12 PM »
Replies here are the reason I love MMM forums.

I teach in a (must say, very good) public high school.  Despite this, there are 2 "charter-type" schools here too.  One is an "alternative" High School, one is an "alternative" charter school.  I guess we're just a really alternative community.

I'm always going to say that the public community school is probably the first choice.  In my experience, most charters are started by these different groups of people, percentages my opinion only:
a. people who believe in education, and are well-meaning, but have little to no experience or expertise (10%).  These could be good, but tend to experience some serious growing pains if they manage to succeed.

b. people who have a primary purpose of making money (mostly by cutting corners), essentially for-profits (30%).  Avoid- educating kids well (and treating employees with even minimal respect) will always be a money loser.

c. people who want to get their kids away from the "bad" kids (40%)  These may be  statistically "better" performing schools than the local district.  Mostly because they've sucked most the high achievers and wealthier families.  This is pretty much re-segregation, and in my opinion morally dubious at the very least.  But ultimately that's your call.

d.  people who believe in education, and are well-meaning, and actually have some experience but what to try something different (10%)  These are the only ones that I'd actually consider.

One of the most obvious realities of education in America is that the school tends to mirror the community it serves, but there are individual differences. 

And you can definitely go visit a school!  As a last warning, online "tools" to tell you how good a school is are horrible.  They pull all sorts of data that are either skewed or irrelevant.  Looking at state testing data will be a little better, but going to the school and talking to at least a few parents with kids at the school will give you a more realistic picture.


« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 02:33:53 PM by Reddleman »

jamesbond007

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 05:01:56 PM »
Replies here are the reason I love MMM forums.

I teach in a (must say, very good) public high school.  Despite this, there are 2 "charter-type" schools here too.  One is an "alternative" High School, one is an "alternative" charter school.  I guess we're just a really alternative community.

I'm always going to say that the public community school is probably the first choice.  In my experience, most charters are started by these different groups of people, percentages my opinion only:
a. people who believe in education, and are well-meaning, but have little to no experience or expertise (10%).  These could be good, but tend to experience some serious growing pains if they manage to succeed.

b. people who have a primary purpose of making money (mostly by cutting corners), essentially for-profits (30%).  Avoid- educating kids well (and treating employees with even minimal respect) will always be a money loser.

c. people who want to get their kids away from the "bad" kids (40%)  These may be  statistically "better" performing schools than the local district.  Mostly because they've sucked most the high achievers and wealthier families.  This is pretty much re-segregation, and in my opinion morally dubious at the very least.  But ultimately that's your call.

d.  people who believe in education, and are well-meaning, and actually have some experience but what to try something different (10%)  These are the only ones that I'd actually consider.

One of the most obvious realities of education in America is that the school tends to mirror the community it serves, but there are individual differences. 

And you can definitely go visit a school!  As a last warning, online "tools" to tell you how good a school is are horrible.  They pull all sorts of data that are either skewed or irrelevant.  Looking at state testing data will be a little better, but going to the school and talking to at least a few parents with kids at the school will give you a more realistic picture.




Thank you.

HawkeyeNFO

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2018, 07:30:36 AM »
Our kids attended a charter school for 3 years.  It was great, and I wouldn't hesitate to go that route again.  The public school in the neighborhood was good too, but the charter was best for us.  Nice to have a choice.  The military sent me orders and we had to move, so they had to attend a public school, because the area near us has no charter schools.

I've noticed that a lot of the opposition to charter schools comes from people with a monetary interest in the public schools.  Bottom line is that having a choice fosters competition, and so theoretically the schools compete to have kids attend, and thus the state pays the good schools where parents want to send their kids.  So, in theory, if a school sucks, fewer kids would be sent there, and eventually the bad schools either find a way to get better or close.

charis

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2018, 08:26:35 AM »
I've noticed that a lot of the opposition to charter schools comes from people with a monetary interest in the public schools.  Bottom line is that having a choice fosters competition, and so theoretically the schools compete to have kids attend, and thus the state pays the good schools where parents want to send their kids.  So, in theory, if a school sucks, fewer kids would be sent there, and eventually the bad schools either find a way to get better or close.

No.  It means, in a nutshell, that that poorest kids from the poorest neighborhoods with the highest needs and the fewest choices would go to the worst schools with the least amount of resources to accommodate that population.  That means deep segregation along economic and often racial lines.   I have no monetary interest in public schools apart from paying my taxes.  And I am opposed to the collapse of public schooling, for the greater good of education and society.  Even great public school districts will be hurt by this.  Charter schools also pay their teachers the least, generally and provide them with little job security.

MayDay

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2018, 08:39:40 AM »
I will counter jeninco on the volunteer thing.

A lot of wealthy schools have tons of SAHM volunteers and it is not a good thing. I am not referring here to coming in and shelving library books, or taking home papers to cut out for a craft.bi am talking about providing direct student instruction.

Our wealthy elementary school was overrun with volunteers. It was wildly inappropriate. You had questionably qualified mom's teaching reading, doing math pull out etc. iI could name the reading level of every kindergartner. That is not appropriate.

Many atorng principals will not allow classroom volunteers because of privacy concerns and because parents should not be delivering any education. This is a sign of a good principal (the last thing you want is hords of entitled welthy parents pushing the principal around!). As long as the PTO is raising money (relative to the wealth of the district families) you are good.

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2018, 08:53:15 AM »
In general, charters are public schools that can operate without many of the constraints followed by the public.  This means they can vary from awesome (when you have folks who know what they are doing and are committed to education) to horrible (for-profits with under-trained and under-paid teachers, alternative cutesy "theories" with no supporting data, etc.).  But as with everything else, most of them are average -- maybe a little better here, a little worse there, but largely the same bell-curve distribution as the publics.  You would need to research very, very carefully to figure out where your particular options fall on the spectrum.

I am a fan of starting with the local public school and then changing if that doesn't work.*  We did not do this with our daughter, and it was a mistake.  We had good reason (very ADHD, so we assumed a local Montessori would be better), but we were wrong.  We ended up putting her in the local public school in 2nd grade, and they were much better equipped to manage her; they had several ADHD kids every year, so it was basically par for the course for them.  But because we waited so long, it took DD several years to really fit in with the other girls in the neighborhood, all of whom had been together since K -- and she is a highly-social kid, so that hit her hard.

OTOH, we put DS in the public school from the get-go, and it has been smooth sailing on all fronts (although admittedly he's a lot easier, so it's not exactly a fair comparison).  This year we had to send him to the less-desirable MS one town over because of stupid school zoning rules.  Everyone here looks down on that school, as far as I can tell because the town is poorer than where we live.  And I will admit, I have not been overwhelmingly impressed with some things (there is one particularly stupid teacher, and fewer "extras" than the closer/wealthier MS).  But he is happy as a clam, has made a bunch of new friends, has some really great teachers, and continues to do well in hard classes.  Which is pretty much what matters in the end.

Tl;dr:  Do your research, visit the schools, talk to the principals and teachers.  Just don't overlook the value of having a pack of friends your kid can walk/bike to play with.

*I would make an exception if there was a specific alternative school that offered something your local school didn't, like a language immersion program you wanted your kid to be involved in.

mm1970

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2018, 09:27:11 AM »
I've noticed that a lot of the opposition to charter schools comes from people with a monetary interest in the public schools.  Bottom line is that having a choice fosters competition, and so theoretically the schools compete to have kids attend, and thus the state pays the good schools where parents want to send their kids.  So, in theory, if a school sucks, fewer kids would be sent there, and eventually the bad schools either find a way to get better or close.

No.  It means, in a nutshell, that that poorest kids from the poorest neighborhoods with the highest needs and the fewest choices would go to the worst schools with the least amount of resources to accommodate that population.  That means deep segregation along economic and often racial lines.   I have no monetary interest in public schools apart from paying my taxes.  And I am opposed to the collapse of public schooling, for the greater good of education and society.  Even great public school districts will be hurt by this.  Charter schools also pay their teachers the least, generally and provide them with little job security.

+1

Charter schools require you to drive many miles to get to their campus.  Poor kids aren't going to be able to walk there, and there are no buses.

Charter schools do not have school lunch offered, so if you are on free lunch you likely can't go.

Charter schools do not have to accept students with disabilities.

Our "bad schools" are "bad" because the students are poor.  Or in the case of our elementary school, disabled (we have sort of a magnet program for disabled kids, so many children are bused from other schools, and we have 23 staff members for disabled students.  And many good programs.) 

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 10:57:06 AM »
Somewhat off topic, but since the definition of a good school vs. a bad school often comes down to test scores, what if the kids don't try on the test? I was always a good student and when we had to take standardized tests for state or federal reasons I would always try to do my best. Obviously there is another group of kids that are just poor test-takers in general or unmotivated to do more than make random guesses or skip any problem that is even remotely difficult. Since I assume these tests aren't linked to your grades, and you/the teacher/the school may have no idea how any individual child performed, why would most students make an effort to do well on these?

We homeschool and were thinking about getting some standardized tests for our kids to take just to see how they compare to their peers but I realized that it would be pretty badly skewed if they just decided that they didn't really care about doing well on the test. Not having any recent experience in public or charter schools is there something I'm missing or is this just considered to be a well-known limitation of standardized testing?



Jrr85

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2018, 11:23:03 AM »

No.  It means, in a nutshell, that that poorest kids from the poorest neighborhoods with the highest needs and the fewest choices would go to the worst schools with the least amount of resources to accommodate that population.  That means deep segregation along economic and often racial lines.
  Were you intending to describe traditional public schools here?  Or did you really not see the irony? 

Charter schools just provide a little bit of choice.  They're not a panacea, but one thing they do that public schools unfortunately don't is that they close when they are doing more harm than good.  In theory, as bad ones close and good ones stay open, they will gradually improve the ratio of good schools to bad schools.  But of course a lot of schools are bad largely because they reflect their community, and it takes extraordinary competence for school administrators and teachers to counteract the problems imported from outside the school. 

  I have no monetary interest in public schools apart from paying my taxes.  And I am opposed to the collapse of public schooling, for the greater good of education and society.  Even great public school districts will be hurt by this.  Charter schools also pay their teachers the least, generally and provide them with little job security.
 

Why would job security for teachers be more important than kids having performing teachers?  I don't know enough to assess their reliability/quality, but I have seen studies claiming to show that being unable to fire poor quality teachers is a major drag on public school performance. 

jeninco

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2018, 11:46:56 AM »
I will counter jeninco on the volunteer thing.

A lot of wealthy schools have tons of SAHM volunteers and it is not a good thing. I am not referring here to coming in and shelving library books, or taking home papers to cut out for a craft.bi am talking about providing direct student instruction.

Our wealthy elementary school was overrun with volunteers. It was wildly inappropriate. You had questionably qualified mom's teaching reading, doing math pull out etc. iI could name the reading level of every kindergartner. That is not appropriate.

Many atorng principals will not allow classroom volunteers because of privacy concerns and because parents should not be delivering any education. This is a sign of a good principal (the last thing you want is hords of entitled welthy parents pushing the principal around!). As long as the PTO is raising money (relative to the wealth of the district families) you are good.

Hmm -- I agree, this is a great point. They're both great points:
1. The principal needs to be able to stand up to various groups, including pushy parents, teachers who have their hearts set on doing something that's not evidence-based, the district administration when it's pushing something stupid.
2. Too many volunteers, and the wrong kind aren't a good thing. Volunteers that the teachers can take advantage of can be a good thing.  Having teachers who can create lesson plans that allow them to delegate part of what's going on (and explain to the volunteers what they want them to do) is helpful for this.

On the further points re: charter schools, I echo that if it's not a choice for all the students in the district, it's not a choice. Issues like providing transportation and lunches for low-income students, and the requirements to accept disabled and troubled students need to apply to all schools equally. Once it's a level playing field then there's a chance to see if the charter school's "special approach" is working. Otherwise, you're just screening out poor kid and/or kids with less involved parents and claiming that the resulting test results are caused by your excellence. Charter schools ought not to be available as a means to re-institute de facto segregation.

(So if you can provide, say, a montessori-flavor elementary school as a charter school and still accommodate poor students, students with less-involved parents, and disabled students, you should have a chance to see how that works, provided that you can round up enough interested parents. I'm not anti-charter, I just think everyone ought to play by the same rules, more or less.)

bacchi

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 12:31:17 PM »
Charter schools require you to drive many miles to get to their campus.  Poor kids aren't going to be able to walk there, and there are no buses.

Charter schools do not have school lunch offered, so if you are on free lunch you likely can't go.

Charter schools do not have to accept students with disabilities.

Our "bad schools" are "bad" because the students are poor.  Or in the case of our elementary school, disabled (we have sort of a magnet program for disabled kids, so many children are bused from other schools, and we have 23 staff members for disabled students.  And many good programs.)

Many Kip charters provide education to poor students and also offer subsidized lunches.

In general, though, I agree -- charters are a crappy solution to crappy public schools.


Edit:

There are a number of studies that suggest that charter schools are not at all any better than their surrounding public schools, when normalized by student body.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/09/24/the-bottom-line-on-charter-school-studies/

Quote from: wapo
The actual finding from the study is that of the charters researched, 17% (which is really one in six) had better results than the comparison student results attributed to conventional public schools, while 37% did worse.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:34:57 PM by bacchi »

Jrr85

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 12:58:53 PM »

On the further points re: charter schools, I echo that if it's not a choice for all the students in the district, it's not a choice. Issues like providing transportation and lunches for low-income students, and the requirements to accept disabled and troubled students need to apply to all schools equally. Once it's a level playing field then there's a chance to see if the charter school's "special approach" is working. Otherwise, you're just screening out poor kid and/or kids with less involved parents and claiming that the resulting test results are caused by your excellence. Charter schools ought not to be available as a means to re-institute de facto segregation.

Usually, this is an argument almost exclusively made by people that are/were fortunate enough to have good public schools to send their kids to, or that can/could afford to send their kids to private school.   From what I can tell, the poor parents who get an opportunity to get their kid out of a failing school district do view it as a real choice. 

ETA:  Somewhat OT, but it's really eerie going to an anti-school choice rally.  The only one I've been to was generally pretty white and affluent, and they were basically worked up in a fervor arguing against poorer and minority parents having just a small bit of the choice they enjoy because of their affluence.  Which people being a**holes is nothing strange, but what was weird was the smug assurance of the affluent people that they were the good guys and the poor parents wanting their kids out of bad public schools were just dumb shmucks that didn't understand why it was important that their children be stuck in crappy schools until they figured out how to make every public school good.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 01:08:31 PM by Jrr85 »

charis

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2018, 02:55:14 PM »

On the further points re: charter schools, I echo that if it's not a choice for all the students in the district, it's not a choice. Issues like providing transportation and lunches for low-income students, and the requirements to accept disabled and troubled students need to apply to all schools equally. Once it's a level playing field then there's a chance to see if the charter school's "special approach" is working. Otherwise, you're just screening out poor kid and/or kids with less involved parents and claiming that the resulting test results are caused by your excellence. Charter schools ought not to be available as a means to re-institute de facto segregation.

Usually, this is an argument almost exclusively made by people that are/were fortunate enough to have good public schools to send their kids to, or that can/could afford to send their kids to private school.   From what I can tell, the poor parents who get an opportunity to get their kid out of a failing school district do view it as a real choice. 

ETA:  Somewhat OT, but it's really eerie going to an anti-school choice rally.  The only one I've been to was generally pretty white and affluent, and they were basically worked up in a fervor arguing against poorer and minority parents having just a small bit of the choice they enjoy because of their affluence.  Which people being a**holes is nothing strange, but what was weird was the smug assurance of the affluent people that they were the good guys and the poor parents wanting their kids out of bad public schools were just dumb shmucks that didn't understand why it was important that their children be stuck in crappy schools until they figured out how to make every public school good.

Most of the white and affluent people I know who oppose the increasing prevalence of charter schools actually send their kids to the "bad" public schools and are fighting from within, not because they are trying to discourage poor parents from sending their kids to a charter school.  And they are champion this cause because they recognize that de-segregating poor urban schools, economically and racially, is a proven method of improving a failing school, even in a relatively short period of time. 

No irony in my prior post.  Also, I hope I don't need to explain why having job security leads to having/retaining high performing teachers.  Also, charter schools closing and ruining students' academic careers is exactly why we don't want school turnover.  It affects the same population getting screwed up by public schools.  Many students whose "poor" parents looking for a better alternative to their bad public school only to have their charter close before junior or senior year and realize that they have actually start over again because they are years further away from graduating than they thought.  It's devastating.



jeninco

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2018, 04:36:13 PM »
1. Is there evidence that the charter schools the "poor" parents are wanting to send their kids to are actually better then the public schools, or are they being sold a bill of goods?
2. Where I'm from, it's usually the better-off white parents who are bailing. If those parents keep their kids in the system and advocate (preferably as a group, it's more effective)  for their kids, kids like their kids, and ALL the kids, the system will be forced to be somewhat responsive. Yeah, not quickly. But if a group of you can civilly take it up to the appropriate level, you often get responses.

Look, if the charter school are demonstrably better for all the kids (not just by kicking out kids who are struggling academically, or socially and might bring down their test averages), and there's a way for poor kids to get served (bussing, meals, some services) I'm not opposed. It's just that isn't how many charters work. Some might.

We currently send our kids to a fairly good set of public schools. I attended "meh" public schools (but probably some of the best in the district) in a large east coast city. I'm not saying you have to dis-avow your responsibility to your children and send them to a public school system no matter how bad it is, but I do feel that you owe it to your child's generation to give the system an honest look, no matter what the "Great Schools" sites report. And get involved either way -- things aren't going to get better by themselves!

Reddleman

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Re: Charter School vs Public School
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2018, 02:08:15 PM »

No.  It means, in a nutshell, that that poorest kids from the poorest neighborhoods with the highest needs and the fewest choices would go to the worst schools with the least amount of resources to accommodate that population.  That means deep segregation along economic and often racial lines.
  Were you intending to describe traditional public schools here?  Or did you really not see the irony? 

Charter schools just provide a little bit of choice.  They're not a panacea, but one thing they do that public schools unfortunately don't is that they close when they are doing more harm than good.  In theory, as bad ones close and good ones stay open, they will gradually improve the ratio of good schools to bad schools.  But of course a lot of schools are bad largely because they reflect their community, and it takes extraordinary competence for school administrators and teachers to counteract the problems imported from outside the school. 

  I have no monetary interest in public schools apart from paying my taxes.  And I am opposed to the collapse of public schooling, for the greater good of education and society.  Even great public school districts will be hurt by this.  Charter schools also pay their teachers the least, generally and provide them with little job security.
 

Why would job security for teachers be more important than kids having performing teachers?  I don't know enough to assess their reliability/quality, but I have seen studies claiming to show that being unable to fire poor quality teachers is a major drag on public school performance. 

There are definitely some bad teachers out there, and they should leave the profession.  The scope of the problem is generally overstated statistically.

Actually, one of the biggest contributors to success of a school (relative to the student population) is actually how low teacher turnover is.  Schools are actually pretty complex systems, and the longer teachers are retained in a school, the better average student performance is.  This is true of high-performing schools (where teachers want to work), where you regularly see teachers staying on average over 15 years.  It has an even bigger impact in lower performing schools.  High turnover here is deadly. 

So actually trying to create a work environment that encourages teachers to stay is a pretty big factor in student outcomes as well.