Charter schools

Charter supporters throw temper tantrum over low approval numbers

And engage in a little name calling between tears:

Today, Alan Hawkes, a Greensboro charter leader who sits on the state’s Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB), is still hot. That’s because five schools tapped for opening by Hawkes’ board, which makes recommendations on charter applicants to the state board, were overwhelmingly voted down by the State Board of Education (SBE). Board members cited typos, weak applications and publicly questioned whether some schools’ academic plans were ready for prime time despite the CSAB’s support. Typically, state board members heed the counsel of the CSAB, but not this month.

“Don’t get me started about public charter school no-nothings (sic) on the NC State Board of Education,” Hawkes wrote in an email to Policy Watch this week. “The temerity and ignorance of those soulless SOB’s (sic) presuming to know better than the NC Charter School Advisory Board with its diversity of knowledge and experience in this area. If there is anyone who knows the good, the bad and the ugly about public school choice, it’s members of our NC CSAB.”

The plural form is "sons of bitches," so I'm thinking it should be "S'sOB"? Still doesn't look right...Anyway, if the people who are supposedly going to teach our children can neither write well nor proofread, maybe they should take up another hobby, like ATV riding without a helmet? Using a chainsaw to cut the wrong side of the limb they're sitting on? Something along those lines.

Charter pirates to be led by Dan Forest


What could possibly go wrong?

Regardless of the warnings, the N.C. legislature mandated the State Board of Education to start the process that will seize five of the state’s lowest performing public schools and put their management under a newly-formed Achievement School District.

The Achievement Schools superintendent, who will be picked by a committee headed and selected by the lieutenant governor, will have a $400,000 start-up budget, significant authority and autonomy in choosing the five schools and designating the specific school operators – though the state board must ultimately approve the choices.

So, Lieutenant Dan gets to select the committee he will then lead, and they will select the Superintendent. Why even have a committee? If somebody disagrees with Forest, won't he be able to simply "select" their replacement? For all their talk about "government accountability," Republicans have a habit of doing the exact opposite.

When charter schools go horribly wrong


They can leave your child struggling to catch up:

In spring 2014 with about a month left in the school year, StudentFirst was in debt by more than $600,000 and shut its doors, giving only a week’s notice. Rochelle scrambled to get her children into a public magnet school operated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.

A few weeks later at the new school, her eldest son, CJ, a third-grader, failed the end-of-year reading test—and Rochelle fully realized that StudentFirst’s shortcomings were not just financial, but academic as well. “It became clear that CJ had learned virtually nothing. He fell behind in all subject areas. He went to summer school after that to begin catching up.”

Achievement School District bill heads to McCrory


State-sponsored piracy of public schools:

The House passed the Senate version of a bill Wednesday to create a five-school Achievement School District pilot program for schools that have shown consistently poor growth and performance.

A State Board of Education-appointed superintendent could choose charter companies with proven success to run the schools. The companies would have hiring and firing powers and would be exempt from oversight and evaluations from local school boards.

There are numerous faulty assumptions built into this bill, not the least of which is the idea that removing a critical oversight mechanism (local school boards) will somehow encourage performance. And considering these boards are comprised of locally-elected officials, it actually takes away parental control. But in the minds of Republicans, ideology trumps logic every time.

The Last Summer of Public Schools

This is it, folks, the last summer of public schools in North Carolina.

No, I don’t mean there’s no more summer school to come. I mean that if NCGA leadership is allowed to continue, unbridled, down their current path we won’t have public schools to kick around anymore. They won’t exist.

As Chris Fitzsimon put it:

Charter takeover of public schools moving forward in NC

Under the seemingly harmless name Achievement School Districts:

Glazer stressed that one of the biggest challenges for ASDs in Tennessee was the fact that they are neighborhood schools. Whatever population the school served before joining the ASD was the same population it served after. Largely, parents didn’t choose the school.

“These are charters that take over neighborhood schools,” he said. “That is not the way that charter schools are meant to operate.”

Despite the rosy presentation by Malika Anderson, there appears to be some serious issues involved with the funding of these takeover projects. She claims the handful of Memphis ASDs secured $100 million in donations from the private sector, but she also says the major capital improvements to the schools will come from the same place they always do, from local school district funding. And I'm assuming the state per-pupil funding will also continue. So where does the $100 million go? These issues come up starting at about the 15:00 mark of this video:

Dan Forest actually doing something good

From the Asheville Citizen-Times: Lieutenant governor: Teacher screening legislation expected.

Yes, we do need rigorous, statewide criminal background checks for those teaching our kids.

But will the legislation that Lieutenant Dan is suggesting apply to teachers in taxpayer-funded charter schools, or to teachers in private schools that receive taxpayer funded voucher funds?

Haywood County - Microcosm of Public Education Challenges in NC

Vicki Hyatt, editor of The Mountaineer in Haywood County, has penned a wonderful description of what is happening specifically in Haywood County. The Haywood County Board of Education is faced with shutting down Central Elementary School, near downtown Waynesville, in the wake of the opening of Shining Rock Classical Academy, a Challenge Foundation charter school.

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.


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