Published: Friday, Aug. 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT
How can you say charter schools accept all when my son was denied entrance
because of a lottery. Only traditional public schools accept all. Let's
get that fact straight right now!
A federally commissioned study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, of
Princeton, N.J., looked at 2330 students in 36 charter schools from 15 states
and found charter schools offered no advantages to students in math and reading!
If the writers of this editorial are going to be convincing they should at
least cite studies which apply to charter schools, and not use one aspect of a
voucher study to make their point.
I have four problems with charter schools:1)Unfortunately, look at the
statistics of the racial makeup of charter schools - they are over 95% white.2)charter schools except for the specialized autistic school take no children
with physical or learning disabilities3) do charter schools perform better
--- how do we know when they do not have to take the same tests as the public
schools?4) how many current and former Utah legislators make a living off
of running and building schools?
All the previous posters have pretty well covered any comments I could make.
re: Liberal Larry - This editorial was citing performance of Utah charter
schools, which do a much better job than the charter schools in the 15 other
states cited in the study you quote. Instead of denounicng the success of our
charter schools we ought to be looking at what is making them successful and
replicate it in other schools. The whole idea of the charter experiment was to
create laboratories of innovation to see what would produce better results.
Instead of fearing success, we need to embrace it. Traditional schools
districts could see the same results if they were willing to devolve power from
the central office and empower parents to govern their local schools, and to
critically evaluate the successs, or lack thereof, of some programs and be
willing to sacrifice those that aren't working and reduce the bureaucracy
in the system. But alas, decisions are often made based on fear of change,
protection of out-dated programs and misplaced loyalty to tradition - all
enemies of progress. All while the USOE continues to ratchet up the constraints
on charter schools - reducing their ability to innovate new ideas.
re: Salty Dog and Howard Beal: The lottery was imposed to limit growth in
charter schools and to protect local district schools. Talk to the legislature
about that problem. As for the ethic mix in charter schools, Salty Dog has
apparently never been to the Guadalupe School, the School for New Americans,
Monticello Academy, Beehive Academy, Endeavor Hall, Dual Immersion Academy and a
host of other charter schools. The 95% white statistic is false and typical
race baiting that occurs in an effort to dilute/explain the success of the
charter schools. With a few exceptions, most charter schools share a very
similar ethnic mix as the local districts schools in the same areas. I am
personally offended when people use race as a reason Utah's charter schools
are more successful, which seems to imply that people of color can't
achieve. Nothing could be further from the truth.
re: Salty Dog - I cannot let your inaccuracies go unchallenged. Charter school
students take all of the same tests required in other public schools. Charter
schools are required to take students with disabilities and all of them have
special education programs. As for former legislators makiing money off of
charter schools, that number is very small. Most who tried found that it was
difficult to do since there isn't really a whole lot of money to be made.
But it begs the question - do construction companies build our public schools
for free? Do text book companies sell books to schools for no profit?
Companies who provide services to education don't do it for free. If there
is a legislator who is providing a service to a charter school they are having
to compete with a number of other private vendors who provide those same
services. I have to believe that the charter schools are shopping hard for
competitive pricing to manage their budget. But, you are the perfect
illustration as to why we can never have an honest dialogue about improving
education in our state because people buy into outlandish comments with no shred
Take it up with the legislature or not, it was a LOTTERY system, my son was
DENIED, so henceforth it is EXCLUSIONARY. As I have said in these
posts, I have actually had children at private, public and charter schools so I
think I know all the systems reasonably well, their strengths and weaknesses. My
daughter attended the charter school. I am hoping that my son didn't win
the lottery because he is a special needs student. I am going to hope it was
just the luck of the draw. The charter school my daughter attended I have no
problems with the school at all. Her experience was good. It did fit right
into the stereotype of what was said up there in ethnic profile, more than 90%
of the students were White or Caucasian and it did not reflect the ethnic
make-up of the surrounding neighborhoods or district generally. However, I will
concede many charter schools are different in this regard. But again
to say charter schools in Utah are not exclusionary is not honest...my
son's only recourse for education was a public school as he was denied
entry into both charter/private schools.
We used K12 for Jr high. It's an online charter school. We liked it.I think the bottom line with charter schools is if it works well for
YOUR child then it's fine. They do offer some flexibility and creativity
that a public school isn't allowed to use. I also fully support public
schools as the backbone of our education system, but there can be a good fit for
a lot of students in charter schools.
to liberal larry who wrote: "A federally commissioned study, conducted by
Mathematica Policy Research, of Princeton, N.J., looked at 2330 students in 36
charter schools from 15 states and found charter schools offered no advantages
to students in math and reading!"At first glance, it feels like
you are cherry-picking your statistics. Why just "math and reading"?
Does "no advantages" mean that they performed the same in these two
subjects? If so, did they perform equally well with far less money spent toward
their education?To me, if those 2330 students did just as well as
regular public school students but it cost far less to educate them, then that
would be measured as a tremendous success for charter schools. Failure is when
you throw lots of money at a problem for little benefit.
I'm a liberal, but I can recognize there are some problems in the public
schools. Ask any teacher, they will tell you. Unlike conservatives,
I think teachers are the answer not the problem.
Of course teachers are the answer (but can also be the problem).We
need good teachers and administrators who will work together to find the best
solutions for giving each child a quality education for a fair price. They must
be able to try new things, get rid of programs or individuals who inhibit
progress, and constantly look for ways to improve. You know, just like every
business in the private sector.They need to feel and act like all
the non-government workers out there - "Either we get it right or we will be
out of business soon".Many good teachers already do these
things, but the system allows all the bad ones to be protected from the
It's called choice and competition. If charter schools are inferior parents
will not send their children. Government funded studies are like asking the fox
to guard the hen house. Teacher unions are opposed to parental choice and merit
based teacher pay. Tenure and guarantees are their currency, not excellence.
There are outstanding teachers who cannot be rewarded and incompetent teachers
who cannot be fired. An example is the NYC schools that have a holding pen for
incompetent teachers they will not allow in the classroom. Those teachers do
nothing but collect a salary at a huge cost to taxpayers. Parents must be
involved in their children's educational choices.
Sorry Dnews but once again you are on your charter soap box.Your own
paper wrote and article a while back stating that 37% of charter schools were
performing "SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE" than the regular schools. Not a
little bit worse but significantly worse.I've got nothing
against charters but the rah, rah, rah from the dnews trying to sell us on this
is getting old.The charter by me here in Orem performs quite a bit
worse than the local elementary school yet I hear parent after parent exclaiming
their joy when their child gets "accepted" to the charter school. I
inform them that the school performs quite a bit worse on the CRT tests
according to the state's website and they look at me like I am from another
planet. When I show them the facts they are dumbfounded. It seems impossible
to them but it is true.There are some areas where charters are
probably needed but a majority of Utah doesn't need them. They should be
instituted where a school is failing but otherwise they are just duplicating
already provided services.Charter doesn't necessarily =
better.Do your research. Especially check who is teaching.
If you were graduating as a teacher and had such a sparkling resume that you
could teach almost anywhere, would you choose a charter school or a traditional
public school?Most choose traditional schools and the charters pick
from the rest.
Yes, traditional public schools both can and do fire under-performing teachers.
But they also allow them due process.
This editorial only engages in demagoguery and not facts. As reported by the
pro-charter Utah County Daily Herald two years ago, only 1 of 5 charter schools
outperform traditional schools, 2 of 5 are on par, and 2 of 5 actually score
worse than traditional schools. That hardly sounds like a success to me. Even
more disturbing is that most charter schools tend to attract the students from
families who care about the education of their child, have low rates of poverty,
and small racial diversity. These are natural advantages for charters, yet
still most can't outperform district schools. Much of the
conservative Utah media has a bias in favor of charter schools and they are
responsible for the parental "perception" that charters are superior.
I'm not against having school choice, but I'm in favor of providing
factual information to the public rather than unsupported opinions. Most of the
public is catching on to this and most new charter schools tend to capture their
students from other charter schools. The new charter school in American Fork
did very little to reduce student numbers in area district schools and started
the school year about 1/3 empty.
It's interesting to see the rather narrow and negative opinions on charter
schools here. You have an entire public education system that fawns over racial
diversity, but turns its nose up at instructional diversity! More choices always
works in favor of the consumer, which in education is the student. I've seen more than my fair share of teachers in the public school system
who demand the extra mile from their students but fail to demand it of
themselves. Why? Well, as one teacher told me more than once, "I don't
get paid to do that." And this is the basic problem of not tying pay, perks,
and even jobs to teacher performance. In the public sector, you rise or fall on
your merits, and no one is guaranteed a job despite performance. Not so in
public education. The good teachers earn the same as bad teachers, and the
unions protect the bad at the expense of the good. We need more
systems that exist to support the students. Instead, there are some very
reactionary protectionists of the public schools who seem to think that students
exist to support the system. Nothing could be further than the truth.
Orem Parent - you do have something against charter schools according to your
previous posts. All this talk about "better" or
"worse" is ridiculous and meaningless.The ONLY meaningful
measurement of student academic achievement is a growth measurement: "did
a student experience one year's growth in one year's time? More than a
year's growth? Less than a year's growth?"If a
student comes to a charter school (or any school) and is 3 years behind, and the
school accelerates the student's growth by 1.5 years in the first year they
are at the school, but the student still doesn't pass the CRT - did the
school do well? Yes, very well. Was that reflected in its CRT scores? No.
We must devise growth measurements and track them annually and
report them to parents and the public. Only then will any of this conversation
about "better" or "worse" hold any meaning.Charters
provide a choice to parents - a vital component of a free society is choice and
schools should be no exception.
I still believe that the majority of students are best served in their
neighborhood public schools. They are the schools that employ the most teachers
with a variety of teaching skills and approaches to better reach the majority of
students. They are the schools that provide the widest range of sports,
academic, arts, and other extra-curricular educational opportunities to all
students. Those programs enrich the educational experience. They are the schools
that neighborhoods used to support and take pride in showcasing to others. We already had choice in the public schools our children were to attend.
Choice begins when we research the neighborhood schools where we consider
living. How many actually include that into considerations when purchasing a
home? Districts also let students attend a school outside of their boundaries on
special permits.I don't think building more schools is the
answer. Allowing our existing public schools the same freedoms that charter
schools enjoy is a better solution.
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