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Comments about ‘7 new Utah charter schools to open next fall’

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Published: Wednesday, Nov. 23 2011 5:31 p.m. MST

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Mick
Murray, Utah

When are the "conservative" majority going to wake up in Utah and figure out what a waste of money charter schools are? When is the editor of the Deseret New going to get off the backs of the public school districts and start to investigate the charter schools, where their money goes and who actually owns the buildings that house charter schools?

People of Utah- Charter schools are bigger government. We, as tax payers, pay more administrators and more building rent and fees and more office staff and suplies. More money out the window that is not going to our students.

Look into studies, which show charter school kids are not getting their education and keeping up with public schools. They are failing.

There has got to be a better option that is cost effective and gives more money to our students and teachers, not buildings and administrators.

CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE NOT CONSERVATIVE UTAH!!! THEY ARE BIGGER GOVERNMENT!!!

DBeck
Eagle Mountain, UT

Mick, according to the 2009 CREDO study, roughly 63% of charters are as good or better than district schools and about 37% are worse. Also, a recent Mathematica study (2011) showed managed charters beat everyone, even other charters. These CMO-led schools depend on a great deal of philanthropic money to fill in the holes. Utah doesn't quite measure up for most major foundations to pipe money our way. Also, please keep in mind that charters don't get transportation funds and are not in on bonding that districts do. How is that bigger anything except a bigger job for those at the charter to figure out how to make ends meet? While a few charter boards have entered into bad lease agreements due to the desperation on the part of the board to get their school opened, most in Utah do not. Lastly, as a former charter administrator, I made less than my district counterparts (by $10 thousand or more per year usually). No one ever wants to hear the charter side, but I really grow tired of how wrong so much of the stuff directed at charters usually ends up.

DBeck
Eagle Mountain, UT

In addition to my previous post, let me add that Utah's charters have undergone many reviews--a few years ago, it was three different groups looking for issues. Charters were rewarded with less autonomy even though accountability demands didn't change. Are district schools ever going to get the same scrutiny? And this issue of business and education and how distasteful it all seems to be when public funds end up in private hands. Really? Textbook publishers, last I checked, are all private companies getting billions of dollars per year from public schools across the country. This is less about bigger government and more about adults protecting adults and leaving kids to fend for themselves really. Ranting is useful, but at some point, being willing to roll up your sleeves and creating solutions is actually useful to the kids and teachers. Not saying there are not issues to address in the charter realm, because the issues exist. But we should be unwilling to give the rest of public education a pass just because only one side of the story continues to be told. Protecting the status quo will never serve Utah's students nor does it honor the teaching profession.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

DBeck, you argument does not ring true. Charter schools have LESS regulations in terms of teacher evaluation, testing, class size, curriculum mandates, and operation.

The "status quo" as you refer to it, is doing amazingly well despite 51st in per pupil spending. Charter schools do not do better than the majority of our traditional public schools.

So, I agree let's not give our public schools a pass-let's limit their class sizes, give them academic freedoms, and lift the teacher evaluation restrictions which they currently are required to implement.

Our public schools do better in the majority of cases and serve the most needy children in Utah. Your argument is at best, flawed.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

So the 37% of charters that are performing "significantly worse" according to that study, should get a pass? The first poster is exactly right, charters are just bigger gov't that waste our tax payer money. If parents put as much effort into improving their local school as they do into opening up yet another charter, we could really see some good things happening.

And what is with the charter based on Pacific Heritage? Can we now open charters based on race? How does that work? Those guys will have an awesome football team if they recruit all of the polynesian students. That one will be fun to watch.

Really???
Kearns, UT

Charter schools are just a way for parents to pretend they are providing their children a private education without paying for it. It's entitlement at its finest. From my observations, the students who are enrolled at charter schools tend to move from one school to a new one each year. They are children of parents who think there is something better out there, and they don't realize that the best option is usually the public school right in their neighborhood.

Why are we spending more money on more charter schools when we are finding that the majority of charter schools in this state are not reaching the same standards as our public schools? Stop the madness!

Diogenes
Hyde Park, UT

A recent Dan Jones poll showed that 70% of parents in Utah are satisfied with their school. I am a parent who falls in the 30%. I get to pay for a service that doesn't meet my needs. My son has ADHD and the local public school was not only not meeting his educational needs, but gave me reasons like; large classes, poor funding and even poor parenting. Fortunately I found a Charter School that cared about my son and found approaches to help him learn. My daughter is on the opposite end of the spectrum. She was frequently asked to wait patiently for the other students to catch up to her. Again, we found a Charter School that challenged her to move forward and reach her potential. Thank you Charter Schools for giving me options. Giving people choice seems to me to be a conservative principle. Also, since I have had children in Charter Schools I have found that they are grossly underfunded. Charter Schools get about half of what a district gets per student. They get WPU but not tax base. (An inequity that should be resolved) Seems like a more efficient use of tax dollars.

cdmom
Provo, UT

Diogenes, Charter Schools were sold to the Legislature as a cheaper alternative to public education. They were told that the charter schools could do more with less money and would never ask for more then the WPU. Guess what, charter schools asked for more and have received more. Every school district that has students within their boundaries going to a charter school has to send a portion of their tax dollars to the charter schools. The charter schools also get preferential treatment from the Legislature year after year. If the charter school people want something all they have to do is ask and there will be at least 2 different bills introduced.

When every charter school can out test every public school then we can say that charter schools are better. Until then, they are just another part of the overall school choice that Utah parents have for the education of their children. Above all, be grateful that you have school choice. In many countries your children would have been tested in 3rd and 6th grades and then been told where they would go to complete their education.

KK
Cedar Hills, UT

A great book about all of this hokum is called "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education." It says it how it is from the person who actually helped get us in this huge mess. It is very interesting and informative and might change a lot of peoples' minds. It may not either. I myself am a huge supporter of public schools and I have dealt a lot with charter schools in the area in which I am located. I know of students who have lived in the same house for 6 years and have been in that many different schools. I think that is a lot of stress for kids 6-12 years old to handle. We are all entitled to our own opinions and we do have choice of how to raise our children. I say choose one and stick with it.

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