Charter schools

Former Bush admin official comes out against charter schools

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Dianne Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education for Bush and advocate for charter schools, has changed her mind.

Why? The push for charter schools is coming from political groups and commercial interests that don't have the best interests of your kids in mind.

There is a tremendous political force of very wealthy hedge-fund managers who are investing in the charter-school industry and seeing it grow. And so they have fought for these laws. There’s also a lot of charter school money going as political contributions to legislators in many of the states where the charters are booming.

Americans For the Prosperous tours charter schools

Apparently "choice" means choosing what definition of the word "choice" you use:

“We applaud Douglass Academy for giving all area students educational choices, options and opportunities they didn’t have before,” Paige Freeman, area field coordinator for Americans For Prosperity, told a small crowd. “Renovating and revitalizing this building is a gift to the downtown area…It is a true gift, especially to residents in the adjacent lower-income areas, and a true gift to the students.”

Unlike most charter schools, Douglass provides buses and lunches for the approximately 35 students enrolled there. Since charters do not receive state transportation or child nutrition funding, they are not required to offer either services. As guests toured the facility, the word “choice” echoed through the hallways.

Bolding mine. New Hanover County has some 40,000 children under the age of 18, meaning you would need over 1,000 "facilities" of this nature to accommodate all of them. Even just the 1st & 2nd Graders number in the thousands, so I really don't see how this 35 student school gives "all area students" an educational choice. But propaganda like that is what we've come to expect from AFP.

Ohio charter school failures hit record level: What makes you think NC will be any different?

If anything, NC will be worse because our criteria for granting charters are laughable.

The charter school movement in Ohio has to contend with a rash of failing schools in Columbus. Of the 17 that failed last year — an unprecedented number, according to the Columbus Dispatch — nine only managed to remain open for a few months before failing, leaving students scrambling to find a new school. Since 1997, 29 percent of Ohio’s charter schools have closed, the Dispatch reported. The median life of an Ohio charter school is four years.

And in the meantime, we'll be pouring public money into private pockets at breakneck speed. Just the kind of thing we've come to expect from incompetent Republican policymakers.

Charter mismanagement costs taxpayers big time

Here's a great way to be your own boss. Be on a government committee that approves charter schools (the Charter School Advisory Board) and then collect management fees from the schools you get to approve. Can you say, conflict of interest?? Evidently the NCGA can't as they have allowed this situation to come to pass.

Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports:

South Brunswick Charter School will be operated by the Roger Bacon Academy and will rent property from Coastal Conservancy, LLC. Baker A. Mitchell Jr.—who happens to sit on the Charter School Advisory Board—owns both of those entities.

Exposing charter schools lies in NC and elsewhere

Salon has a feature story on charter schools this morning that's worth a read - NC is highlighted extensively in the piece, which discusses many of the problems with these taxpayer-funded windfalls for private companies and religious institutions more interested in their own agenda than educating our kids.

Writing for NC Policy Watch, Lindsay Wagner recently reported, “For the first time in its history, North Carolina will allow taxpayer funds to go to largely unaccountable private schools, 70 percent of which are religious institutions.”

S.B. 337 eliminates key requirements for education

RALEIGH, NC—

As North Carolinians join today to reflect on the hard work and dedication put forth by our teachers, Republicans in Raleigh are celebrating National Teacher Day with their much-anticipated crusade to privatize public education in North Carolina. Their Trojan Horse, S.B. 337, will come to the floor today as Phil Berger and Senate Republicans seek to upend accountability and educator standards for North Carolina’s charter schools.

The legislation, as stands, would simultaneously take funding and facility-space from public schools, end requirements to offer busing, or free or reduced-price lunch, which would disenfranchise children from low-income families. S.B. 337 also eliminates key requirements for Charter school teachers to have college degrees or teaching certificates and eliminate requirements for educators to have background checks...

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From Press Release from the NC Democratic Party

This is what happens when there are no rules...

Plagiarism charge leveled against prospective charter school

Large portions of the 155-page Cameron Creek application, filed by Sylvia Cole in 2012, duplicate the 140-page application Stacey Rose filed in 2011 to open Charlotte Learning Academy, according to state officials and reports. For instance, the name of Charlotte Learning Academy appears eight times in the Cameron Creek application.

Is K-12 online charter school falsifying student records?

This is what we used to call pencil-whipping:

According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting the Florida Department of Education is investigating K12 over evidence the Virginia-based company violated Florida State law by using uncertified teachers and then attempting to cover it up by asking certified teachers to sign the class rosters. In their report the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting quoted a certified teacher who said a K12 manager ordered her to sign records for about 100 students she never taught. The company has denied the allegations.

If Republicans in the General Assembly had an ounce of integrity they would be calling for a no-holds-barred investigation of this organization, before a single penny of taxpayer money flows into it.

Charters could hurt both public and private schools

Should have seen this coming:

The Cato Institute says charter schools are drawing students away from private schools, moving their educational costs from their families to taxpayers. In 2008, the latest year for which Cato found statistics, this shift cost taxpayers an additional $1.8 billion nationwide.

Which (I would imagine) represents a similar drop in private school revenue. Other questions should be: How many private school teachers have been drawn into charters? Does this shift of students represent "unfair" competition between public and private interests?

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