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Forum Post: Florida Charter School Problems

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 10, 2012, 3:14 p.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

During the past 15 years, Florida has embarked on a dramatic shift in public education, steering billions in taxpayer dollars from traditional school districts to independently run charter schools. What started as an educational movement has turned into one of the region’s fastest-growing industries, backed by real-estate developers and promoted by politicians.

But while charter schools have grown into a $400-million-a-year business in South Florida, receiving about $6,000 in taxpayer dollars for every student enrolled, they continue to operate with little public oversight. Even when charter schools have been caught violating state laws, school districts have few tools to demand compliance.

Charter schools have become a parallel school system unto themselves, a system controlled largely by for-profit management companies and private landlords — one and the same, in many cases — and rife with insider deals and potential conflicts of interest.

In many instances, the educational mission of the school clashes with the profit-making mission of the management company, a Miami Herald examination of South Florida’s charter school industry has found. Consider:

• Some schools have ceded almost total control of their staff and finances to for-profit management companies that decide how the schools’ money is spent. The Life Skills Center of Miami-Dade County, for example, pays 97 percent of its income to a management company as a “continuing fee.” And when the governing board of two affiliated schools in Hollywood tried to eject its managers, the company refused to turn over school money it held — and threatened to press criminal charges against any school officials who attempted to access the money.

• Many management companies also control the land and buildings used by the schools — sometimes collecting more than 25 percent of a school’s revenue in lease payments, in addition to management fees. The owners of Academica, the state’s largest charter school operator, collect almost $19 million a year in lease payments on school properties they control in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, audit and property records show.

• Charter schools often rely on loans from management companies or other insiders to stay afloat, making charter school governing boards beholden to the managers they oversee. Loans to two Pompano Beach schools were disguised as gifts in financial documents to avoid scrutiny from the school district and make struggling schools appear solvent, the schools’ former managers said in court papers.

• At some financially weak schools, tight budgets have forced administrators to cut corners. The cash-strapped Balere Language Academy in South Miami Heights taught its seventh-grade students in a toolshed, records show. The Academy of Arts & Minds in Coconut Grove went weeks without textbooks. Schools have also been accused of using illegal tactics to bring in more money — charging students illegal fees for standard classes, or faking attendance records to earn more tax dollars, court records show. Read way more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/19/2541051/florida-charter-schools-big-money.html


State Sen Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, filed a bill Wednesday that would require charter schools to post information about their management companies on their school websites.

His counterpart on the House Education Committee, State Rep. Bill Proctor, said he would be willing to review any similar bills that might be filed in the House. But Proctor, a Republican from St. Augustine, said he believes charter schools will take a back seat to merit pay and higher-education reform during the upcoming legislative session, which will begin Jan. 10. http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2011-12-23/bill-would-require-transparency-charter-school-management#.TwyKUaWJf8E


This one is about merit pay, the latest supposed miracle cure for education. The Legislature passed a merit-pay plan in 2010, but Gov. Crist - desperate for non-Republican votes - vetoed the bill that teachers hated. Teachers didn't much like the similar bill the Legislature passed this year, but there's a new governor who doesn't need the teacher unions, and he signed it with gusto.

The plan is supposed to work this way: A sure-fire evaluation system will separate good teachers from slackers. Overachievers will get more money - merit pay - and underachievers will get fired. Repeat each year. Pretty soon, Florida will have nothing but good teachers.

Any change that makes it easier to fire underperforming teachers would help, but those reading closely would have asked: Where will the money for merit pay come from? If you listened to the debates in Tallahassee, you would have assumed that the money would come from the state. And why wouldn't it? This order is coming from the state, not county school districts. It's top-down management from a Legislature that claims to cherish local control.

Last Monday, though, Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson met with The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. We asked who would pay for merit pay. The state? Nope. "It will be up to local school districts," Mr. Robinson said. "It always was going to be state and local."

In other words, school districts that already face budget cuts for next year - about $53 million, in Palm Beach County's case - will have to find money for a program they didn't want. If the districts don't find the money, the Legislature will blame them for failing to support good teachers, blocking education reform and undermining Florida's economic future. Or worse. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/columnists/schultz-tallahassee-doesnt-plan-to-pay-for-merit-2036988.html


Look at how well they have figured out how to steal from the public coffers?

108 Comments

108 Comments


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[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Charter schools, in general, haven't worked out very well. Some programs (like the New York program ran by SUNY, which generally uses union teachers) have some merit ... but overall this is not a solution for our education problem. One reason I'm a big advocate of things like increasing Pell Grants, expanding local community colleges (and state universities), is because at least our colleges do a pretty good job of educating people.

But we shouldn't give up on our kids. I mean, in general, it's harder to keep high school (and even junior high school) age kids interested in learning, compared to younger children. It's easier to keep high school age kids interested in more applied learning (like machine shop, music, auto mechanics, computer science, theater, etc.).

So maybe we should try and introduce subjects like algebra, geometry, trigonometry, grammar, logic (a very undervalued skill), even introductory calculus and science, at younger ages.

TIMSS data do encourage us to focus on rigorous content, focused curriculum, and good teaching as critical to improved national performance. For example, while most countries introduce algebra before high school, in the U.S. only 25 percent of students take algebra before high school. Similarly, fully 90 percent of all U.S. high school students stop taking mathematics before getting to calculus. And 55 percent of physical science teachers in this country (i.e., teachers of chemistry, physics, earth science or physical science) lack either a major or minor in their teaching sub-field.

http://nces.ed.gov/pressrelease/reform/

[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

Now I understand where you are coming from. The problem is that the human has not developed (on average) enough to be able to do Algebra problems until the age of 12. You could do grammar and logic at younger skills, but math and anything that has to do with math above Algebra level cannot be done until the age of about 12.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Any studies on this? My understanding is they start kids very young in places like China and India?

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

It stems from abstract thinking which is developed (if at all) between the ages of 12-15.

That said, they are already teaching algebra at a younger age in many states. You can look that up on your state department of education site. I know my kid started it in third grade.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

It's the testing.

You have brilliant children in the US but teaching to the test has destroyed the ability for teachers to teach and children to learn. ESL students are tested as well as children with significant learning disabilities. This last group is due to inclusion.

The number one issue at stake is poverty. Even under Reagan, the issue was poverty and he and his crew completely ignored this factor. Every study says the same thing. However, testing has become such big business that it is hard to reign in.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

It's not just the testing (albeit I agree with the contention that our testing methodology is seriously misguided). I mean, testing was (in many instances) implemented in the first place as a desperate attempt to deal with our shortfalls in education.

Unfortunately, we really don't have many "brilliant children" in the US (this is an almost mythic claim). Moreover, even students in affluent school districts under-perform (relative to European and Asian students). We can see this problem in our universities. American students have become an exceedingly smaller share of PhD candidates in our rigorous scientific programs.

I think the first thing we need to do is stop fooling ourselves into thinking we're this magically brilliant people. After we emerge from the "denial" stage, then maybe we can begin to develop effective solutions. For the record, I'm not denying poverty puts students at an even bigger disadvantage (compared to the already profound disadvantage our public students suffer from in general).

Also, just because I'm (generally speaking) a "liberal" ... doesn't mean I don't acknowledge that teachers unions have been less than helpful in solving these problems. I mean, they are a "special interest" (and the "self interest" of union members and leaders can conflict with the best interests of our students). Just because unions have been a force for good throughout much of our history, doesn't mean they should be exempted from criticism (particularly in this context).

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Whoah! You cannot compare state to state testing. How are you comparing them to Europe or Asia? A group of under 2,000 15 year olds?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

How are you comparing them to Europe or Asia? It's well known that our students under-perform (particularly in rigorous subjects, like math and science). I mean, I'm speaking of standards that are relevant at the university level (and in the workplace). I mean sure, if we dig around enough we can probably invent a standard that makes us feel better about ourselves, tailoring the data to fit those contrived standards, but you'll have to excuse me for thinking that's absurd.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

It is the OECD PISA Test. Every year there is a huge uproar in the US of our students are falling behind and blah, blah, blah. It's a rather small group of 15 year olds that take that test. This is the test that they are talking about.

http://www.pisa.oecd.org/pages/0,2987,en_32252351_32235731_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Let's just say for the sake of the argument that the PISA is an accurate portrayal. It isn't but let's just say that it is. Why is the US moving to imitate Asian countries where the kids leave school and then attend another one until 2300 at night and the parents are paying a large amount of money. Why is the US not following Finland's education system?

Money.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

You have to look at this from the perspective of colleges (which I think is probably the best indicator of our performance, relative to other nations). Why do US students comprise an exceedingly smaller share of PhD candidates in the rigorous sciences (at our own universities)?

Maybe it's a testament to how good our colleges are (compared to other countries), but what I keep hearing from college professors is that our students come to college unprepared. They lack proficiency in basic algebra (forget about trigonometry or calculus). To most of our students FOIL means aluminum foil, it's not a mnemonic for multiplying two binomials.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Science-based jobs are not only important for future growth, they have also fared well during the current sluggish economy. According to the report, the unemployment rate for science and engineering degree holders was half the national rate. While STEM workers experienced increased unemployment from 2007 to 2009, their jobless rate in 2010 was at 5.3 percent. The unemployment rate for other sectors was nearly 10 percent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/science-tech-workers_n_898794.html

It's actually much lower for those who hold PhD's in subjects like physics (last I heard, under 2%), molecular biology (around 3%), PhD's in computer science, chemistry, etc. (however, as the above article shows, for engineering and science in general, the unemployment rate is half the national average, this includes those who hold bachelors degrees in science and engineering subjects).

So I really don't know what the hell Scientific American is talking about (maybe they're trying keep the number of new scientists low, to keep their salaries high, wouldn't be the first time, American Medical Association anyone)??

Furthermore, there will be a larger need for students with math and technical skill in the future (even in traditionally low skilled sectors, like manufacturing, which is becoming exceedingly automated).

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I first encountered this when Bill Gates made a guest appearance at the House Science Committee in 2008. He threatened to move jobs offshore if he didn’t get his H1-B Visa gig passed to bring in cheap labor and stated that there was a worker shortage. That Visa is referred to as the “out sourcing” visa. India lobbied to get the most of those because firms send them here, train them, send them back and then the jobs here are outsourced to India. Gates is a member of NASSCOM. There wasn’t a shortage. A GAO study and an Urban Institute study stated that there was no shortage. Then there was this http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.iml?Article=120787

There is no shortage of STEM here. The jobs are being outsourced. R & D is outsourced.

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[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I mean, there is a shortage (just not at this particular moment). If you consider that the unemployment rate for math/science/engineering professionals is half the national average, it would push beyond full employment levels during normal economic periods. If we don't do something about our failing education system, these visa programs will become more necessary in the future (or we'll simply become less competitive and our economic situation increasingly worse).

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

But, they aren't necessary now and were not before.

How familiar are you with the HB1 Visa program?

[-] 2 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

The charter school system is one I have not had to deal with, but it deals with the basic citizen's rights.

I've had to deal with my privilege of living in "good" school districts, and "bad" districts. Being self employed, I had the privilege of home schooling two bright kids. My older son was in public school, until they quit educating him, by putting him in gifted classes, in the third grade.

My theory is that funding schools by property taxes is a system that screams discrimination. The poor have the option to take it or drop out.

The charter system, I assume, is just another attempt to leave the poor behind.

I hope in addition to protesting Wall Street, that discrimination against our poor will be ended.

The real estate profits have been made off of parents moving to a better school district. The 1% vermin who have gotten rich on U$A schoolchildren should not be allowed anonymity.

They should get credit for helping create the worst value taxpayers have ever gotten.

Today's American student's education should be better than it was a century ago. It's not.

[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

If you look at the trend of corporatism, along with the gov (regardless of party) creating rules and regs to drown out the little guy who really wants to help, its easy to see where this trend is heading.

Your kids will end up being schooled at Walmart.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Agreed. Although, I think they already are.

[-] 2 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

I used to live in Florida and I must say this is a problem. The majority of the money goes to private schools leaving public schools with insufficent funds to opperate on. The school board last year even tried to cut after school sports to save money (did not work).

The main problem is the state government is run by, excuse my french, morons. If kids want to go to private school then they can pay for it, not the tax payers who pay for their kid to get a good education at a public school.

I really wish there was an occupy the Florida school board.

[-] -2 points by Concerned (455) 2 years ago

"Charter schools generally receive more than 80 percent of their income in per-student payments from the state. In addition to the roughly $6,000 per-student allocation — slightly less than what traditional public schools receive — charter schools also get some state funds for facilities and maintenance." http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/19/2541051_p4/florida-charter-schools-big-money.html

I don't think its quite accurate to say that the charters are "leaving public schools with insufficient funds". Also, there were some counties that did attempt to shut down sports programs, but not all counties in Florida did so. And, it is not quite accurate to blame that on charter schools - the decrease in property values means a decrease in property tax revenues on top of state decreases in local funding. It is all part of the picture.

Charter schools have their issues, but "taking money" from the rest of the public schools is not one of them - they are paid according to the number of students just as public schools are.

[-] 2 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

Still no more money should be given to charter schools than public.

It does leave schools with insufficent funds, it did mine.

I didn't say all counties tried to shut down sports programs, I was refering to mine.

[-] 1 points by Concerned (455) 2 years ago

What county were you in? I also happen to live in Florida and Duval County was the only county that seriously considered cutting all after school activities, including but not limited to football.

Unlike 58% of Florida charter schools that serve general populations of students, all Duval County charter schools specifically target poor or minority children or students with learning disabilities, according to the The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Duval_County_Public_Schools,_Florida

In general, public schools receive money from the state for both operating expenses and building projects. Although the state sets aside money for charter school building projects each school district releases the money and many have been accused of holding it back and causing things like classes being taught in tool sheds.

Per-student general operating dollars are actually a bit less than the regular public school.

No "more money" is given to most of the charter schools than the public. I would like to see a source given for your information that the charter schools are leaving public schools with insufficient funds because "the majority of the money" is going to them...because I've searched for one (that is not someone's personal opinion blog) and been unable to verify your statement.

Argue where there are failures in educating the students. Argue where management companies should be outlawed. You could get plenty of sourcing information on those issues - but to state that the charter schools are taking money away from public schools in not accurate.

[-] -3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I used to live in Florida as well. I cannot believe the damage they have done and are planning on doing more of. This is theft and I wish that I could say that they were morons at the state level but they know exactly what they are doing and that is what makes it so criminal.

[-] 1 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

Exactly.

I see you are a big member on this forum, and I may be asking the wrong person, but why are we not protesting the government more? In my oppinion this is where the most crime is happening.

[-] -3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I am an OWS supporter. I cannot speak for OWS. However, the head of the snake is Wall Street. The problems begin and end with Wall Street. That said, it depends on the area that you are in. I think that the Occupiers in Wisconsin have been very involved in Occupying the government.

The first trend that I noticed n the forum was that there are two groups that are desperate to occupy the government. One is the Tea Party and the other is the Ron Paul groups. Occupy has held that they are not a political movement.

My personal opinion is the most crime that is happening on both sides and I would like to point out that there is a revolving door between some elected officials, their staff and lobbying groups. Then there is ALEC.

[-] 2 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

I am not trying to start an arguement but don't you think this movement could get alot more done if we pushed government directly to fix the problem?

Just an example, protest government to pass legislation to dis-allow banks from loaning more money than they physicaly have.

Yes, protesting wallstreet brings awareness, but not to offend this movement, alot of people were already aware. And I don't see banks regulating themselves when they are expoliting every current loop-hole.

I understand you do not speak for OWS, and I am not trying to start an arguement.

[-] 2 points by Puzzlin (2898) 2 years ago

Thanks GirlFriday, I added my name!!!

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[-] 1 points by Puzzlin (2898) 2 years ago

Yeah, me and the other 200,000 people who signed.

How many have signed yours?

[-] 1 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

Similar yes, im not saying ows is not putting pressure on the government, but why are we not fully supporting things like this? Why is that petition not on the homepage?

[+] -5 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Dunno. Maybe because it would be deemed as choosing a political stance.

What do you want to do or rather what ideas do you have?

[-] 1 points by TheGreedyCapitalist (47) from Long Beach, CA 2 years ago

I will make a post about it later so everyone can comment and discuss it.

But just some;

Banks cannot loan more money than they physicaly have

Politicians cannot take campaign donations of any kind (solves the loophole in the "corporations cannot give campain donations" idea)

Congress and Senate members cannot be elected for life, they must serve a set term then run for election again.

Government cannot give money to anyone in the form of bailouts, ect.

Just a few.

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[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I think competition is a good thing. Why should the government have a monopoly on education?

So here is how it works... The government takes money from me every year of my life to finance the schools. They give it to the local school, tell me that is my only choice and my kids have to go there. If the school sucks too bad.

Does that sound fair?

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

They don't. You can always send your child to a private school. You can home school.

It is public education, not a can of beans. Why should I stand there with my wallet open and allow them to take money to hand over to a for profit agency that is there not to educate children but .............for profit.
They have continuously sold this to the public as parents having more input, and local control when in reality there is a great deal of fraud you can read more of that here: http://occupywallst.org/forum/indiana-charter-school-problems/

Statistic wise they are equal to or worse than public schools which you may look at the stats provided below.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I read the post in your link about Imagine Schools and it just talks about not being able to vote on busing and how they are for profit. What is does not mention is that they spend less per student than other schools in the district AND

Students at 69 of 71 Imagine Schools campuses achieved average learning gains greater than one grade in the 2009-10 school year.

In the 2009-10 school year, two-thirds of Imagine Schools students demonstrated average reading and math learning gains of one year or more (vs. 50% students nationwide based on Stanford 10 norms).

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Statewide, a lot of money is spent. Taxpayers will spend more than $3.2 million in rent this year on just four Indiana charter schools. Most of the dollars are flowing to a Kansas City, Mo., real estate company that earned $84.7 million in profits last year. And while the Allen County board is scrutinizing the property tax exemption sought for the company’s property on North Wells Street, Entertainment Properties Trust can’t lose: Its triple net lease agreement makes the tenant – Indiana taxpayers – responsible for maintenance costs, utilities, insurance and taxes. www.journalgazette.net/article/20110417/EDIT/.../1147/EDIT07

You missed that? How the hell did you miss that?

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

That is cleverly worded. The real estate company made profit on selling real estate. Yes the also took rent money but I am OK with that too. In fact our local school might have made out better renting space instead of spending $29 million on a new school for 700 7th and 8th graders. The construction company that built the school Turner Construction made $5.17 Billion last year,.

What I care about is spending per pupil. I do not care if a school is making a profit or someone makes money renting space. If they are getting better results AND we are spending less per student I am ALL for it!

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

This isn't about cleverly wording. This is about sham operations that are taking place that cost tax payers far more. So, there goes the local control argument and the costs less argument. You are pretty much left with a "because" kick rock argument.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

Why is it a sham for a school system to pay rent?

Statewide a lot of money is spent. The PUBLIC (non charter) school system in the state of New Jersey spent over $29 BILLION last year!

The city of Newark NJ spent $18,580 per pupil and 70% do not graduate with a "proficient" rating.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2011/09/once-promising_charter_schools.html http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-13/news/30135249_1_charter-schools-business-administrator-investigators http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/10/nj_considering_42_new_charter.html

LOL. Joe.........do some research. They aren't even held to the same standards as public education system and they are still not doing well.

But, you have no interest in the actual education of kids. You are just in it for the cash!!! Corporations that bank on kids rock!!!

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

Actually there are hundreds of NJ school administrator making more as much as the woman in that article.

http://tinyurl.com/7az8vtp

However you are missing my point. It should be up to the parent to decide where to educate their child. If the school sucks I will not send my child there.

It is really pretty simple. Freedom of choice is always better.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

It is not your money or wallet it is mine. I cannot use the money they take from me to send my child to private school. I would have to pay for school twice.

I have my wallet open by been paying $11,500/yr in property tax for the past 20 years and 75% goes to the public school according the the statements on the township web site. I will be paying those taxes for another 20 years when my kids are out of school.

I am not asking them to hand it over to a private school. They spend $10,700/yr per student in our town. I would like them to give a voucher to each parent so they can select the school of their choice public or private. In fact the tuition at private schools in average is $7,000 so we would be saving money since the average in NJ is $14,730.

With the current system only the rich (the 1%) can afford private school.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

How unfortunate!!!!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (22101) 2 years ago

I'm with you GirlFriday. I think Charter Schools are one of the worst things to ever happen to this country. It is an attempt to blindside the American people into privatizing education.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I agree. They just want to steal from the people.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (22101) 2 years ago

And turn all the children into business majors so they can be corporate drones.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

and without critical thinking skills.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (22101) 2 years ago

Bingo.

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[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

How are these schools doing? Because in the end isn't that all that matters? If Charter schools do better than public schools then those principles could be applied to other schools.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

The vast majority of them operate the same or worse than public schools. The ones that do well usually find ways of getting around those with disabilities.

[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

Can I have Stats?

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

http://credo.stanford.edu/research-reports.html

There is a new one that is out "Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts." that I cannot pull up for the life of me and I don't know if it is just me. http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/education/

Then there is more information found in studies like this http://www.irpumn.org/uls/resources/projects/2_Charter_Report_Final.pdf

Michigan recently did one. I can look that up for you if you like.

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[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Point?

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

Interesting. Parents in NYC are begging for more Charter Schools. See Waiting For Superman.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

The makers of "Waiting for Superman" have, after learning more about the subject, disavowed their conclusions from the documentary.

It is a scurrilous movie, full of half-truths and innuendo, with only "facts" found that supported a pre-existing agenda of the producers. Those producers admit to that now, and currently say that the teacher's union is the best route for education reform. As to charter schools in New York, since they perform, on average, worse that the public schools, parents are far from unanimous in wanting more of them. New York is at the beginning of a process to close down a slew of them.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

how about the Union not allowing the vote? was that fact or fiction? Did you see the film?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

You want to cherry pick as the movie does? The filmmakers themselves recanted their conclusions. They regret their cherry-picking.

There are some problems with the union, but they are far less severe than the problems of the charters, which are recently coming to light.

The main problems, however, are the issues of funding and problems of the Board itself. The teachers union has waged a battle for decades, against huge odds, for not only protecting teachers from politically motivated attacks, but also for improrving education for the kids. Only the unions have consistently pressed for smaller class sizes, mainstreaming children with disabilities, for teaching in the way that individual students learn best instead of one-size-fits-all testing, and allowing teachers to teach UP, instead of dumbing down classes as Albany would have them do.

So, yes, there are some problems inherent in a union that represents over 80,000 beleaguered, assaulted, overworked teachers, and serves over 1.1 million students. But the bigger problems, by far, rest in the political manipulation of the schools by politicians and administrators who have never spent one single day in front of students in a classroom, yet who dictate how teachers do their jobs..

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

you didn't answer the question. did you see the film?

[+] -5 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I have seen it and that is the most unbalanced propaganda piece that I have seen in a great while.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

hahahahaha! then you must also think Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is the same propaganda as the same director/producer made both films.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Again, let me repeat this for you. Waiting for Superman is one of the biggest pieces of propaganda that I have ever seen.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

hahaha! ok - propaganda is only the things that disagree with your world view . Gotcha !

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Be careful of wanting charter schools. They will inevitably end up with our kids being schooled at Walmart.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

that would be great compared to the public schools we have today.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

On average, charter schools perform worse than public ones. I used to be a supporter of them. No more. Their overall track record is abysmal.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

then why are parents asking for them?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Because they are misinformed. Unless you follow the statistics or are an educational professional, you are not likely to know about it.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

ah yes - they talk to their neighbors who are thrilled their kids are in a Charter school and they must be ignorant. Did you watch the film?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I watched as much of it as I could before getting nauseated by the mountains of distortions, misrepresentations, and sheer propaganda. Apparently, the filmmakers themselves have decided it was too much, since they no longer stand by its conclusions.

Since when is talking to a few select neighbors a way of gauging comparative schools objectively? The numbers are in. Charter schools tend to do worse than public ones. Reading and math scores tend to be lower at charters.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

show me the filmmaker rebuke of their own work. show me some backup from a think tank. no leftist newspaper like Huffington or WP.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Reply to your post below.

It's about performance. Charter's underperform. They do so while also siphoning off money from public schools, which perform better.

(BTW, rubber rooms no longer exist. At their most crowded, they accounted for less than one tenth of one percent of teachers, and most of those teachers were found innocent of any wrongdoing and went back to work in the classroom., As to top-heavy administration, NY city schools have on average 1 guidance counselor per 1500 students, an impossible workload for anyone, administrator or not. Keep putting up straw men, troll)

Do you have evidence charters perform better? No, I didn't think so. Just declarations, totally unfounded.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

I just saw not but a few months ago a news piece about NYC rubber rooms. give me a break are you kidding!?

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/pdk-charter-schools-finally-as-popular-as-education-tax-credits-have-been-since-before-clintons-impeachment/

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Still no evidence from you, either. You asserted that Charters are better than public schools. Were is YOUR backup? Or is an overheard conversation between neighbors what you consider evidence?

Why should I provide you with links to studies that support my contention? You have NEVER, EVER acknowledged anyone's evidence. Nevertheless, Here are a couple. I have NO doubt you will either ignore or distort them,and maintain you singular consistency of evasion and mendacity:

http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10896:a-charter-schools-performance-questioned-in-new-study&catid=155:nonprofit-newswire&Itemid=986

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/17/us/charter-schools-trail-in-results-us-data-reveals.html?scp=2&sq=education+reform&st=nyt

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/16/education/16charter.html?scp=5&sq=education+reform&st=nyt

[-] -1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

typical - it's about money. It is not about money - the public schools are top heavy with administration & bottom heavy with loser teachers sitting in rubber rooms pending investigation with full pay. in any case - go ahead - keep supporting the same failed government - non choice dictator schools.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

And of course he fails to acknowledge it again. He is a troll. His job is to deny, deny, deny.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Reply to post below.

My recollection is pretty damned good. But nothing is preventing you from finding verification. I doubt you'll find it on Fux News, however. I would try to find the interview myself, but I don't really want to bother. You have never backed down from a position here regardless of what you have been shown. So what's the point?

In terms of charter school numbers, I actually do have multiple sources. The problems with Charters began surfacing as early as 2004, and those problems were documented. But again, why should I put up those sources? You have demonstrated so far, in virtually every one of your posts, that you operate from emotion and mythology, not evidence, and whatever evidence you do come across, you choose to cherry pick and distort. Your agenda to troll (defined as going to a site dedicated to OWS support and doing the opposite) has consistently overridden all other concerns.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

still - no backup lol!

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Frankly, it was in an interview they gave about a year ago, and I hae no memory of the publication it was in.

Regardless, charter schools are not doing as well as public schools on the whole. Those numbers are readily available. You cited no numbers for their alleged success, but only the declaration that neighbors who talk about them like them.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

so you have no backup. Just your recollection from some passing article you read a year ago.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

aries = outed as a T R O L L ages ago!

[-] -1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

I love Trolling you people.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Get a REAL JOB, make an HONEST living for a change. You are a HUMAN BEING, created in God's image and likeness, trolling is beneath your dignity.

[-] -1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

I have a real good job. This is just for fun lol!

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Paid or unpaid, trolling is beneath your dignity as a human being and an American:

"I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

(The American's Creed is the national creed of the United States of America. It was written in 1917 by William Tyler Page as an entry into a patriotic contest. It was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives April 3, 1918.)

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

You're such a worthless piece of shit.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

thanks for revealing yourself. It shows your character.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

We have seen several of yours. You get to act like a douche and then you think there are no repercussions. Fuck you.

Have a blessed day!!!

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

the cursing - I just love when people resort to cursing lol! The agony of defeat !

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I am not defeated. You have failed on an epic scale to provide an argument. Again. You are the one that looks like a douche.

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I disagree. aries is a HUMAN BEING, not "a worthless piece of shit"... That's precisely the point: trolling is beneath his dignity, even if he is "doing it just for fun" as he claims.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

No, he's pretty worthless.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

He's certainly BEHAVING in a very objectionable way - he's a self-confessed troll, as he confirms above - but that does not make the PERSON that he is worthless.

Give him a few years and he could become a completely different person - just like George Wallace. As Audrey Hepbun wrote in her testament: "Never throw people away".

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

You mean........someday he will realize that black people vote and he won't be able to run for president if he doesn't make a public apology which should magically erase his past associations with the KKK and known pattern of douchiness?

Well can we at least just wrap him up in toilet paper and put him on the side until he attempts to run for ..........I mean redeems himself?

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I know some people think George Wallace changed out of pure political opportunism. But not everyone sees it that way. Some of the best biographies argue that the man really did change.

Anyway, Wallace was just an example. MANY people who do great harm eventually do change and redeem themselves.

Don't misunderstand me : I emphatically disagree with aries's ACTIONS - namely TROLLING - and strongly urge the Mod Team to BAN him immediately as he openly confesses to trolling. But I refuse to see him as worthless... just as I refuse to see a 16-year-old condemned to death for "terrorism".

[Removed]

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I'll tell you what: Meet me down on the beach and we'll sing a little round of Kumbaya.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

yea - left wing publication who wants to support the communist public ed.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

yea - of course - your source is a liberal newspaper

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

That is your excuse? So, predictable, aries. You're not interested in the actual discussion. Merely the recitation of right wing talking points.

Yeah, LULZ.

[-] 2 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

your article doesn't mention why the Teachers union refused to even let the membership vote to have merit pay in exchange for eliminating tenure so they could weed out the bad eggs. What am I talking about - you didnt even see the movie lol! I read your article

[-] 2 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

All I know is in NYC parents are begging for Charter Schools. That whole lottery system is the most degrading thing there is. The Teachers Union has completely corrupted the whole system. The kids don't come first - they come last! I dont need to hear from the WP - I see it every day.

[-] -1 points by themuppetmaster (12) 2 years ago

If the kids are learning more and better, then so what. Public schools are dumbing down today's kids. No cursive writing? Wth?

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Actually you have it right. From what my dad has told me about his educational experiences, there may have been students that did not grasp the subjects like math and science as much but were never truly stupid.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (23961) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Take action. See samples of how below.

183,361 signatures so far for Bernie Sanders petition as of 10:15am central time 01/15/2012

http://sanders.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?mailaction=clickthru&gpiv=2100081904.557411.411&gen=1&mailing_linkid=34578

The petition to save abandoned houses has 15 signatures. We picked one up at around 9:50pm 01/13/2012. Were just rolling right along.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Savingpeople-savinghomes-payingdowntheNationaldeficit/

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb

Sierra Club has some good things to take part in as well. Set-up and ready for you to take part in. http://sierraclub.org/

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (23961) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb