Comments about ‘Are charter schools better alternatives to public schools and at what cost?’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 10:00 a.m. MST

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Anti Government
Alpine, UT

Seriously how ridiculous.

We allow unions to high-jack our public schools preventing bad teachers from being fired. Nobody wants to vote for increased education funding because most of that is just code for increased salary and benefits for protected teachers some of which are poor performering but nonetheless "untouchables" thanks to unions.

The teachers union knows all this of course but the protection they get is more important than the education of kids.

They, just like every other union, will ride the gravy train as long as it lasts.

It is no coincidence that you are seeing all kinds of news articles over the last few weeks about States trying to deal with the massive deficit-producing unions.

Unions had their place back in the day. Now it is nothing but riding the gravy train and bleeding every penny they can get until it collapses on itself. They don't seem to care as long as "they get theirs".

Unfortunately our public schools are the latest victim.

Lots of people now essentially have had to create Charter Schools to go around the union-dominated disaster called public schools.

Its not right but its true.

South Jordan, UT

Although the powerful UEA and NEA unions would like Charter schools to go away, they are a wonderful alternative to the mismanagement and shell game from the public school system. Charter Schools manage on the WPU without the additional local taxes in their pots.
It is difficult to know what the facts are in another State, where Charter Schools received an increase and Public schools received a decrease. This appears to be propaganda, because it was mentioned, but no details. Perhaps the Charter Schools in that State have been underfunded in the past, as is the case in Utah.
Keep Charter Schools...don't pass additional rules that will force them to be carbon copies of the traditional public schools.
Education is a socialist program, but allow for some choice in Education!

Salem, UT

Almost 10 years ago RAND issued a report saying the emprirical evidence concerning school choice was scant at best and lacked much sophistication- here we are 10 years later and not much has changed- lots of ideological positions and plenty of the N=1 stories that populate articles like this but little empirical evidence- in absence of evidence we will continue to play this game- choice is a great thing and when it comes to education we have always enjoyed that with local control- given what we spend on it though and our supposed concern over its role in economic development we can do better in determining useful models- my opinion- to many Ed.D's doing the research and they simply lack the rigor to do good research and so we are stuck with uninformed ideology- that always works so well historically.

St. George, UT

If charter schools are THAT good, and they appear in many cases to be so, why can't all public schools be fitted with the charter model? This is a sincere question. Help, someone....

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@Anti Government

How many teachers do unions employ? If school districts are too lazy to follow the rules they agreed to in collective bargaining to rid themselves of bad employees, why is that the fault of the union?

Layton, UT

In general, Utah schools are great. This might make a difference in areas where there's a lot of unqualified teachers or violence in schools, but generally speaking, Utah Public schools are very well run. If you take all the kids with parents who spend their resources on their children's education and place them into a different system, of course, they're going to appear to be better, but if the same parents were to contribute to the public system just as rabidly, I wouldn't be surprised if it made very little difference in the longterm.

Salt Lake City, UT

If public schools could "choose and select" which students they accept, like charter schools, they would have a phenomenal success rate too.

The beautiful thing about public schools is that they take anyone and everyone, regardless of income or ability.

To that end, how many charter schools have a special education department? Close to zero. Public schools do an incredible job catering to so many type of children.

The argument between public and charter is apples and oranges.

Rebel vs UT GOP(UT's elitists)
Vernal, UT

Granny, Charter schools typically do better for several reasons. First, they can deny student entry. Second, parents that want their kids in charter schools are typically involved parents. Third, students get to focus on a particular area of study. Students are not put in classes that are irrelevant to them.
For what it is worth, I think charter schools are a bad idea. I think private schools are a much better idea. That way public money is out of the system. The funny thing about the voucher thing a few years back is that most private institutions did not want to have anything to do with it. Once the money is in, the government is in.

Columbus, OH

To everyone on the message board: you don't have to hate charter schools to support public schools, but you also don't have to hate public schools to like charter schools. I live in Ohio, and the charter system actually works quite well with the public schools. One thing our last governor did, however, was simply require all charter schools to submit to the same quality-control testing that public schools undergo. The result: about ten percent failed and were put on one-year probation. If they got their numbers up, they were fine, if not, their charters were revoked.

In general, the biggest problem is that charter schools seem to have little accountability--performance wise and financially. Once they were put on equal footing with public schools, the districts stopped fighting them.

Seems like an obvious solution...so why do so many charter schools fight it?

Anti Government
Alpine, UT

re: CHS

Exactly...because the rules "they agreed to" are far too difficult and cumbersome to effectively remove a teacher...and it was designed to be exactly that way.

I'm certainly not saying the school boards and administration are blameless but the union rules and protections have made it far too difficult.

Everyone here already has several teachers in mind at schools their kids are at that should have been gone long ago--where are they? Still teaching the same ineffective way skirting the rules to stay employed.

Kids suffer and the teachers stay negatively impacting hundreds of kids year after year.

I also might add it drags down the good teachers as well and makes them look bad but for whatever reason they let the union keep making their decisions for them that allows the deadbeats teaching. The unions make it difficult to change anything once you are in--once again designed that way for a purpose.

Nobody wins but the union bosses and the freeloading/coasting teachers.

Herriman, UT

How can we compare charter schools to public schools, especially in Utah? Our schools have never been funded in the same way that other states have funded their schools and yet people want to compare "results" here with results from states with lower class sizes. We get great "bang for the buck" here from our schools. If you don't like the direction that your school district is going run for the school board of that particular district. Make your voices heard. But until then don't compare apples with oranges.

Orem, UT

I think that parents have the right to choose what kind of education that their child receives. To that end, I can't argue that the charter school and the private school model is a good alternative to public education. However, one of the reasons for the teacher's union that people are quick to judge as corrupted is to create a checks and balances for the teachers. At this point there's no control over who a charter school feels is qualified to teach children. Of course it advantageous to hire a certified teacher, but I've known of a few cases where people have been hired as teachers w/o prior experience or a related educational background. This is extremely problematic.

I think that children have the right to as good of an education that is possible and that begins with the proper support group, i.e. concerned parents and qualified teachers.

Wayne Rout
El Paso, TX

Vouchers will solve the education problems we face from bloated administrative corps to lazy teachers etc. The private schools do a better job of teaching at a far lower cost per student. It is a simple solution that is being stopped by Democrats and their cronies in the unions.

Henderson, NV

I think charter schools are great. Public school teachers like to complain about them because they take resources away from public schools. Well excuse me: They also take kids away from public schools, so wouldn't you need less resources? What they are really complaining about is that all of the good smart kids leave, and the trouble makers stay behind. I think we could solve this by requiring students in public schools to adhere to a more strict code of conduct and higher academic standards, and if they can't, they should be kicked out of school. Perhaps we could start charter schools for those students who can't meet reasonable academic and behavior standards, and we pay teachers more to work there. And if they can't make it in these schools, we kick them out in the 8th grade, and their parents will be responsible for educating them, or they can start working in a vocation. If we have enough charter schools that teach kids something they actually want to learn, very little of the students would reach the point of having to be kicked out, and the ones that do were headed that way anyway.

Salt Lake City, Utah

In California school educators feel that they know what's best for children and that the parents should leave all the important decision making to them.

They've banned dodge ball because it is too dangerous and because you can't have a winner if you don't have a loser.

Syracuse, UT

A few facts for ill-informed posters to this board.

In Utah, charter schools are public schools. The law states that they cannot pick and choose their students. If there is more demand than seats, a lottery system is to be used to pick the students who will attend.

Charter schools get more than just the state WPU. The do get local tax dollars or the equivalent thereof. They are called local replacement dollars, and by law public school districts pay 25% of those local replacement dollars for student who leave their districts and go to charter schools.

Mr. Bean
SLC, Utah

Charter schools might be great but where do the students go that can't make the grade and can't get in?

If charter schools are better, then I say close down all public schools and send the students to charter schools.

Won't happen? Of course not. There aren't enough charter schools. So, alas, the dummies have to remain in less desirable public schools with bad teachers and equally bad curricula.

Charter schools should all be shut down because they provide an unequal opportunity for some students. Public money should never be used to advantage one person over another.

Go Big Blue!!!
Bountiful, UT

I choose public schools over charter schools every time. Public schools prepare individuals to live in the real world where there is diversity. Are your children going to live in a charter world?

Charter schools are taking resources away from our elementary school by reducing student enrollment. This doesn't result in smaller classes, it results in fewer classes with less funds available throughout the school.

The answer is increased parental involvement. Read with your children, be involved with their assignments and spend more time helping your children than time spent complaining about their teachers and the school system.

SLC, Utah

@Rebel vs UT GOP(UT's elitists) 11:29 a.m.:

"I think private schools are a much better idea."

If you want a private school be my guest... but use your own private money to fund it. Taxpayer money should not be used to fund private education. The state provides a free education for all. If that's not good enough and you want something better, pay for it.

Miss Piggie
SLC, Utah


"The law states that they (charters) cannot pick and choose their students. If there is more demand than seats, a lottery system is to be used..."

Then why have charter schools? What do they provide that the public school does not?

Regardless of what you say and what the law says, students are hand-picked, in large measure, for charter schools.

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