Charter schools

Central Elementary School Closing

A couple of weeks ago, the Haywood County Board of Education released a study that recommended closing Central Elementary School in Waynesville. Central is Haywood County's oldest elementary school facility, located within walking distance of Waynesville's Main Street. It is also the smallest, with just over 200 students. It is a highly rated school based on whatever measure of student performance is in vogue this week.

Forest uses right-wing talk radio to whine about charter schools report

Wants less evidence, more anecdotal cheerleading:

“Is there an actual anti-charter bias in the Department of Public Instruction?” Kaliner asked. Forest didn’t answer directly, but said “they” see charter schools as competition. DPI and the state Board of Education oversee North Carolina’s school districts and 158 charter schools, which are run by independent nonprofit boards.

He says delaying the report, which state lawmakers required by Jan. 15, allows more time for it to be reviewed by the Board of Education and the Charter School Advisory Board. In addition, Forest said said there should be an opportunity for “charter schools themselves to be able to read it and look at it and go, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t painting our picture.’ There’s a lot of great positive things going on with charter schools in the state. Let’s tell that story, too.”

Apparently Forest doesn't know the difference between art and science. If the numbers don't "paint the picture" you want to see, then you need to institute policies that change those numbers. And two of the main policy drivers keeping charters from being diverse are their refusal to provide transportation and free- or reduced-lunches. The sad thing is, I have a feeling charter school proponents view that as a selling point; keeping out the riff-raff. And Republican leaders, including Forest, likely see it the same way. The problem with institutional bias is, you can't hide it when the numbers come rolling in.

Dan Forest wants more happy talk in charter schools report

Because form over substance is so important in the education formula:

The State Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on several charter school issues, including whether to give newer charter schools more chances to remain open if they are struggling to meet performance standards.

The board could also hear more about the annual charter schools report, which is due to the legislature on Jan. 15. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest advised the board to take more time to review the report and possibly make changes, saying he thought the statistics provided in the report were "negative" and "did not have a lot of positive things to say."

Statistics are what they are. That's why we go to the trouble to collect them, because they are untainted by ideology or preconceived notions. If you don't like the story they tell, change the factors that drove them, not the data itself. And one of the biggest factors driving those negative statistics is the mismanagement of resources, something a former Pope Puppet has positioned himself to take advantage of:

Virtual Charters, Virtual Ignorance, Real Dollars

The New Year finds more concerns regarding the advent of K12 Inc. running a virtual charter school here in North Carolina.
The company’s stock has been on a dive for a while now. Stockholders were not happy to hear in 2008 that the company had outsourced the grading of student essays to a company in India. Couple that with the continuation of high compensation for K12 Inc’s leadership and students showing poor performance in learning, and you get a strong downward trend in stock prices.

The newest attack on public schools: Achievement School Districts

A special invitation for failure:

An evaluation of those Tennessee schools Vanderbilt University researchers published in December said results were inconsistent and performance, measured by test scores, was about the same as other low-performing schools. The schools are in different cities but are all part of an Achievement School District run by a single superintendent.

But state Rep. Rob Bryan, a Charlotte Republican, who worked this year to get an Achievement School District established in North Carolina, said he was encouraged by information published by the Tennessee district itself that showed high student growth in schools that were in the program for more than a year.

Yeah, nevermind what Vanderbilt says, let's focus on how the privately-managed district describes itself. Those who have been following the school privatization issue are well aware of Rob Bryan's preference for faulty research that supports his views on gutting public schools, but what we really need are a few Legislators to face off with him in the next session to stop this movement. And somebody needs to state the obvious: Republicans frequently bash DPI, because trying to run school districts from a couple hundred miles away is "foolish and counterproductive." But that's exactly what this Achievement School District boondoggle is all about: Putting schools from various cities under one (private-sector) umbrella. The wheels on this snake-oil wagon need to be knocked off the axle before it's too late.

Shining Rock Classical Academy update

Weekly update from Waynesville's excellent Smoky Mountain News on the trials and tribulations of the startup Shining Rock Classical Academy in Haywood County.

First, publisher Scott McLeod explains in plain language for readers the letter and intent of the state's public meetings law, and its application to charter school governing boards. Scott's headline says it all: "The public - not the newspaper - needs to know."

NC's Opportunity Deficit Only Getting Worse

I noted Rob Christensen’s article in Sunday’s N&O and his point that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has gone up for 4 straight months and yet the NC Senate wants to cut funding for 8,400 teachers assistants.

That unemployment rate is going to go up, not down. Explain this to our GOP electeds? Even if we chose the least confrontational manner possible to point out that in 59 of our 100 counties the public school system is the county’s largest employer, it would not change the minds and votes of our GOP leadership.

Why? Because they no longer consider the people of North Carolina as their constituents. They don’t feel they need to answer to us. They don’t feel a need to even explain themselves. They are following the governing model of cheap labor conservatives and they will force that into place in our state no matter how many of our people are hurt by it. They don’t answer to us anymore.

More Charter School Woes

From the Smoky Mountain News today: problems with the startup of Shining Rock Academy in Haywood County.

The school is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks. There were problems getting permits and construction started on time for land just north of the Waynesville city limits. As a result, the school is leasing space from the Lake Junaluska Assembly so they can begin operations. During the earlier land purchase, apparently the school's governing board failed to comply with the state's open meetings law, according to reporting in the SMN.

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