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If it is true that KIPP schools had such high scores, I don't see why charters are so bad. Our kids don't have time for the adults to figure out another system. I'm usually right with you Melissa but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only blog reader who will be voting yes. Hoepfully there's space for us yes voters as well on this blog.reluctant yes
http://www.nodropouts.org/blog/research-spotlight-charter-schools-have-more-black-dropouts-their-public-school-counterpartsreluctant yes,Take a closer look at KIPP.
Yes, if you dig deeper, the Kipp reality doesn't match it's reputation. But the message machine keeps messaging the same erroneous claptrap and will probably win. Because people want to believe it. So easy to denigrate the old. There's always greener pastures somewhere else. It's exhausting. How often the public chooses its own path to failure.n...
BTW, this move to privatizing everything? We'll never get our institutionalized democracy back. We will be forever on the road to third world status. Strong government programs and institutions are the things that made us who we were in the world before privatization, Wall Street, and profiteers started taking everything apart. It's tragic.n...
I'm another reluctant yes. I thought we were moving in a direction that, as Charlie says, doesn't need charters, but with the recent overturning of the Creative Approach Schools I've completely lost faith. Every single effort to move forward is crippled by micromanaging fools.You can list all the facts you want about this legislation's lack of oversight. I could care less. I could care less if a charter is run by the Turkish Church (????? What a load of hooey!) We've got schools whose principals are earning $100,000 to sit on their butts and complain about having to evaluate teachers. I'd rather have the Gulun. The biggest school district in our state has no oversight and no ability to enforce accountability. Members of our school board are more interested in examining travel receipts than they are in holding administrators accountable for serving students. Seattle's priorities are NOT the students. I'm ready for new management. You can line numbers up side by side and say these charters don't perform as well as these traditional schools. The reality is that if you look at each school's record for helping students read and write and compute, almost every single school is failing the same population. I'm tired of people who continue to claim that our system is working. Our system is working for children with educated, financially stable families. Our system is creating a criminal and welfare class out of children who don't have access to such privileges. There are two kinds of people who are afraid of charters - educators who don't want to be held up in comparison to a school that succeeds where they fail and parents who are being brainwashed to think charters will chip away at an already fragile system. The system is fragile, but not because of lack of funding, or absent parents, or poverty, and the system won't fall apart because of charter schools in Washington State. The system is fragile because it lacks strong and capable leadership, has refused to make smart choices regarding teacher placement and hiring practices and wastes already insufficient funding on a bloated and mostly useless central administration.Charters don't serve special needs students? What, and Garfield does? Roosevelt does? Ballard does? Please. Go into any big school in our district and, while you'll find some incredibly talented special education teachers, you'll also see classrooms where a long-term sub or a displaced teacher has been put in charge, and the kids aren't being served AT ALL. PLEASE don't pretend Seattle serves its special needs students well. Parents have to fight tooth and nail to get adequate services for their child.I'll be voting yes on charters. I'll also be writing checks for my local traditional schools and continuing to support and advocate for their success. I don't believe charters are going to hurt the good work many schools are doing, and I really hope they provide a kick in the butt for systems that are just plain stupid and continue to fail to serve students of color who live in poverty.Fed Up and Ready to Move Forward
Just because someone (here, a school system) is ill, it does NOT follow that any random medicine prescribed (here, a terribly written charter bill) will fix it. In fact, it stands a far better chance of either not helping, or making the problem worse (here, the CREDO study). You say "the biggest school district in our state has no oversight and no ability to enforce accountability?" Wait, just WAIT until you see the lack of oversight and statutory lack of accountability that we will get with charter schools under this legislation. And to use, as part of the logic for supporting charter schools, a court decision saying that Creative Schools need MORE oversight than the policy provided? Fortunately, you concede. You could care less. You don't even care whether it makes sense. To me, it sounds like you have just decided you are pissed, and so you are going to level the sandbox. Screw everything! Hah, Seattle School District. Take THAT! Nice.Sign me, Appalled
Reluctant, why are you "reluctant"? Do you support charters or not? I'm trying to understand your ambivalent position. It sounds like maybe you need more facts in order to clearly make up your mind.If so, I encourage you to do research on KIPP, Inc. You could start by checking out the right-hand column of the Seattle Education Blog (under "KIPP Charter Franchise").Among other things, what you'll find is the KIPP franchise has a high attrition rate (as high as 60 percent, according to studies in the San Francisco Bay Area), their schools are known for highly punitive treatment of kids (see "shunning"), and extra long schools days plus Saturdays (which may sound great to some people but can also lead to teacher burnout). KIPP, Inc. is also contributing to the re-segregation of American schools. And KIPP, Inc. schools do not serve kids with special needs. Even Robin Lake of the pro-charter Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) indicated that she would not send her child with special needs to a KIPP, Inc. school. (At the PTA-sponsored charter panel at Washington Middle School in January.) I also don't understand your phrase: "Our kids don't have time for the adults to figure out another system."That sounds like an argument against introducing charters ("another system") into Washington State.Or are you saying that we should settle for charters for our kids because there's 'not enough time' to offer them something that's got more than a 17 percent chance of being better than their current schools (and an 83 percent chance of being no better or worse)? If so, I disagree.Privatizing public education via charter schools (and out-of-state franchises like KIPP, Inc.) is not a decision that should be made lightly. Also, despite the political rhetoric surrounding them, charters are not "innovative." They have been around for 20 years or more, and they still have a very spotty and controversial track record.If time is truly of the essence, then why don't we stop wasting time debating and pushing charters on Washington State yet again, when voters have already rejected them three times in the past 16 years, and instead focus our energies and resources on improving our existing system right now?
"If time is truly of the essence, then why don't we stop wasting time debating and pushing charters on Washington State yet again, when voters have already rejected them three times in the past 16 years, and instead focus our energies and resources on improving our existing system right now?"OK, what is that then? What exactly do you propose to dramatically change the schooling situation for families who have no choice but to send their kids to a chronically failing school? Vouchers? I think not. So, what will it be then, that will help those families NOW?
Thank you, Then what?, for your excellent question.First, let's set aside the myth of the "chronically failing school". These schools are no better or worse than any other schools, they just receive more struggling students than other schools.What can be done?Well, everyone says that there are examples of charter schools which have shown success with historically under-performing groups. Let's find out what they doing in the classrooms and do that.Let's implement MTSS. Not just talk about it, but actually do it.Let's do what has been successful at other Seattle Public Schools, which is to set and maintain high expectations for all students and to give struggling students the support they need to meet those high expectations.Let's intentionally create a culture in the schools that values academic pursuits over other efforts.Let's create real inclusive classrooms the way they are supposed to be done.Let's provide early and effective interventions for students who are working below grade level.Let's use technology to introduce and practice skills while using class time to exercise higher cognitive function.Despite the feigned sense that this is all some mystery that no one has ever solved, let's do any of the multiple things that have actually proven effective.We can do all of these things in our current public schools. So why haven't we done them? Because the people who design and maintain the system are reluctant to change. The district bureaucrats and the school administration and, yes, some of the teachers, don't want to venture beyond the traditional practice.The only promise of charter schools is that they are free of state and district level bureaucracies. It's a damn shame that more of them don't take advantage of that freedom to really re-invent education so that it works for students outside the narrow range who have been traditionally served. Unfortunately, most charter schools are essentially no different from traditional schools - except that they use cheaper labor, they discriminate in enrollment, and they funnel money to investors.There is no real reason that public schools can't use all of the same strategies that the good charter schools use to show success.There's no question about what to do - the same things that the charters promise to do.
Say, uh, "reluctant yes":Your opionion is already wrong when it is based on the "only two kinds of people oppose" charters.As Melissa says in another post:"The initiative does NOT allow charter teachers to join the SEA. The initiative does NOT allow charter teachers at different schools to band together as a group and form their own union. Under this initiative, the only thing charter teachers can do is create a charter at their own school. Unions power comes from numbers and this inability to create numbers undermines the whole idea."That applies to all union members who work in schools.So I (and many others like me), am neither of the groups you mention. Yet, I am a public employee, union member, who also has worked in public schools my entire career and see no reason I would work in a school where I couldn't continue my union membership.THAT'S why we oppose charters!Guess again "big giant head".
I will be voting no on charters. The statistics are not promising enough to divert dollars away from existing public schools. I have read too many accounts of charters cherry picking students and sending more difficult kids back to public schools. That does not mean that public schools cannot improve. The math curriculum should be much stronger and I hope the new Seattle superintendent takes immediate steps to improve it. Changes need to be made but we do not need dubious charter schools with inexperienced low wage, high turnover teachers. Vote no a 4th time on charters.S parent
Right "S Parent"And "inexperienced low wage, high turnover" EVERYONE in the school, custodian, lunchlady, truck driver, maintenace guy, everybody!Why would any employee who wants to move up in the world, take a job where they can NEVER go anywhere because they don't have a promotion process that usuaually comes from bargaining?So for example, a lunch lady (most of whom work for income and opportunities to move up the economic ladder); why would any quality employee take a position (non-union) where they could ONLY work their whole career in that one kitchen? Is that how LEV/Stand think they will attract quality classified employees?If they EVER wanted to move up, they would have no option than to quit the charter (after who knows how many years), and start over at entry level like the rest of us. Then you could have benefits, like a pension, etc.Really LEV/Stand?Have you ever even thought about that in the 20 years you've been working this?Wow! They are even more out of touch than their own proposal.
I first want to note that the Times has carefully hidden that AP story (which was on their home page for just a couple of hours) about the costs for getting this thing on the ballot. I guess they don't want to embarrass Bill.Reluctant Yes, I am going to put up an FAQ soon that will explain EXACTLY what is in the initiative. After you read it, you will be more informed and make your vote as you wish.But KIPP won't have any leg up on anyone else especially if there are more than 8 approve charters in a year. They ALL go into a lottery whether they serve at-risk kids or not. Even KIPP can't beat a lottery. You have ZERO guarantee for a charter that will serve these kids. Fed Up, I don't understand your point about Gulan; it's like you don't believe it exists. Go to CBS and60 Minutes and listen to the report. This is seriously how you want your tax money spent?You also used the word "hope" in relation to this initiative. And really, that is all you will get because there is very little specific in here to help at-risk kids. Chris Eide has written yet another not-true, hearts and flowers editorial that is not fact-based.And, in fact, keep listening to the Yes people and see how often they will NOT engage on ANY specifics. You have to ask yourself why.
Appalled, I'm glad for you that you're so superior you can get snarky and tell me I'm a child in a sandbox. I don't care about lack of oversight because I'm not impressed with the oversight our schools have, and so am not concerned that there's not enough of it. The only school in Seattle that broke the pattern and started serving kids well did so because Lutz broke rules, going around district and union policy regarding hiring and curriculum. Schools that have strong administrators and teachers don't need more district oversight, they need less. I'm not taking my toys and going home, I'm supporting educators that would be better able to do their job if they were allowed to do it. I'm not giving SPS the finger, I'm an SPS parent and my child is getting a great education. Because the system is working for my child doesn't mean I'm not willing to support other school models, models that are specifically set up to hire more bilingual staff, to pull families in, to allocate resources so that the students at that school get exactly what they need, and to expect everyone on staff to do their job well or lose it.Inside as Well - our classified staff are hardly being served under our current system. Our janitorial staff does not have access to the same benefits that teachers do, and teachers don't seem too concerned about it. Senator Hobbs proposed a revision to health care that would have improved the inequity, and the WEA went bonkers. Teachers do not have a career path. Teachers can stick around and earn a little more every year - an amount that gets quickly eaten up by increased costs of living. Oppose charters if you want, but don't argue that they're not a good choice because teachers have a great career path now. We've traded a lucrative career ladder for inpenetrable career security.Paul, if you don't want to work in a charter and lose your SEA membership, then don't. I'm assuming, of course, that your school is working really hard to implement many of the practices that successful charters have used to help academically disadvantaged kids succeed, or are you at one of the schools where 90% of the white kids can pass the HSPE but about 5% of the Black kids pass it? I'm glad your SEA membership is helping you. How is it helping those students? I pay taxes to educate those students. If it's not happening with your powerful SEA bargaining, then I'm ready for an alternative.Suep., and Charlie both point out that we can take what we've learned from successful charters and implement those practices in our schools. Well, we haven't. Charlie lists the reasons why. The closest we came was the CAS idea, but now all the parents and educators that invested time and energy into working toward that are being told no, you can't have more control over serving your students. We know what's best for your students. This from a district that prescribes inferior math curriculum, can't get its enrollment numbers right until September 30th (Paul, I'm guessing you've had 40 kids until that October 1st deadline, right?), and seems to think the best way to organize central office personnel is to play musical chairs with assignments and titles. Ready to Move Forward
Thank you, Ready to Move Forward, for a cogent, balanced, and well-supported explanation of your position. It was a pleasure to read.
It has been my observation that stress is the result of conflicting loyalties.When it comes to the question of charter schools, I have a lot of divided loyalties.On one side, I owe well-earned loyalty to teachers. Charters (and Education Reform in general) are trying to blame them for all of society's failings and de-professionalize their work. I oppose that.I also owe well-earned loyalty to the idea of public resources managed for the public good in an publicly accountable way.On the other hand, I'm very committed to providing children with an appropriate academic opportunity and it's pretty clear to me that a lot of them aren't getting that.Also on that hand is the fact that the state and district level leadership and bureaucracies have not earned any loyalty or trust from me at all.Isn't there some way to serve the students better without making democratic control of public resources and the hard-working teachers bear the cost of the change?
The CAS ruling simply said the School Board couldn't abdicate oversight. Seems like if they revise it by adding in Peaslee's Amendment, or something similar to it, then it's back in business. That doesn't mean the School Board will intervene unneccesarily, simply that they CAN if they NEED to.Don't cry foul that the CAS has been tossed out, and our only hope on the innovative schools ship has sailed. It's fixable, and fairly easily.-another no vote on charters
Ready to Move - looks like you've fallen for the hype. The only time charters truly help academically disadvantaged kids succeed is when they implement something like the Harlem Children's Zone, which is full of wrap-around services and completely unsustainable as a model. They estimate they spend $20K per child per year. KIPP schools have high attrition rates. Basically they start with some, then slowly skim off the froth until all they have left are the highest achievers - and no special ed kids. They also spend significantly more on their students (though they like to hide this fact and say they do it cheaper than public schools) and have massive teacher turnover. Lots of research out there on that. The vast majority of charters do nothing instructionally that is any different from public schools, oftentimes using outdated curriculum and unqualified teachers who only know the direct instruction mode. They can also limit the number of kids they take - which public schools cannot do - thus even an unqualified "teacher" can appear more effective because there are fewer kids to teach and manage. Parents of special ed kids in public schools have multiple avenues of recourse that they don't have in charters.So here's what we can learn from successful charters:1) if you spend more (aka wrap around services) you can (usually) get better test scores2) if you cherry pick your students, you can get better test scores3) if you have small class sizes, you can get better test scores4) if you keep out the special ed kids, you can have better test scores5) if you run your teachers to the bone so that they quit after 2 years (i.e. be available via cell phone every night until 10 to answer student phone calls and work on Saturdays), you can have better test scoresHow many of these are feasible in the public schools? I'd love to see #1, but it won't happen because it would require $$. I'd love to see #3, but it won't happen either for the same reason.2,4 and 5 are utterly abhorrent to me, and not something I want in PUBLIC education. Diane Ravitch's - The myth of charter schools:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/?pagination=falseCT
Ready to Move ForwardWe may disagree on the charter question, but, like Charlie, I too respect how you have expressed your views.We do agree on some things, like:"This from a district that prescribes inferior math curriculum, can't get its enrollment numbers right until September 30th (Paul, I'm guessing you've had 40 kids until that October 1st deadline, right?), and seems to think the best way to organize central office personnel is to play musical chairs with assignments and titles."However, I have NO faith that charter management organizations will place our kids first or manage better. I believe they're are in it for the money. As education isn't, and shouldn't be, a moneymaker, we see so many fly-by-night charters crash and burn, taking their students with them. Those that succeed are propped by $Ms in outside cash, or run an industrialized approach of drill and test. No thanks. I'll just continue to prod SPS mgmt to do better.
"I don't care about lack of oversight because I'm not impressed with the oversight our schools have, and so am not concerned that there's not enough of it."Honestly? C'mon, you want for the sake of change but not make sure you are getting better?
In his Op Ed, Chris Eide says: The new initiative, however, is specifically designed to create conditions for high-performing charter schools — schools with a proven track record of student achievement . I've seen this stated by other charter proponents. My (admittedly not very careful) reading of the initiative was that the overseeing bodies have to approve a charter application (no particular requirements there) and then, if there are eight or more applicants, they all go into a lottery and eight are chosen randomly. Can a charter proponent (Fed up? Someone from Teachers United? Ms. Lake?) explain where the language is that assures only high performing charters are approved and entered into the lottery?
No, Maureen, they can't because it's not there. (Any more than the AP reporting that districts can turn over low-performing schools to charters but now that's out there in the ether.) As I said, the proponents do NOT want the text of the initiative widely read and understood. And that is why time is on the side of the NO people. Whether you like the idea of charters or no, this is a terrible initiative.
Anonymous said... Thank you, CT, for a real response. Even Charlie (whom I admire greatly) listed a lot of reasonable qualities and yet no evidence any school has managed to accomplish them and succeed. Easy to list what normal people would think would work. But, education is complex. There is no easy fit for all kids. CT's list is exactly on point. It is not magic and may not even be possible given the numbers of kids we educate. Vouchers will never bring parity in funding for all kids.n...
I can't find that language either, Maureen. And I agree with Melissa. Even if you are amenable to the idea of trying charters -- this is terrible legislation.Here is what I think. I think the proponents of this bill are counting on two things. First, they are counting on the frustration and anger of folks like Fed Up -- people who are so mad that they admit frankly that they don't care about any lack of oversight in the legislation. People who frankly admit they would rather have the Gulun running schools than current building management. If you can count on people to be mad enough to "throw out the bums," then it doesn't really matter how bad the new legislation is. You still win. I lay LOTS of the blame for this on the current governance/management system -- pushing people to this extreme is no small feat. But there is plenty of responsibility to be laid at the feet of people who respond to crisis with rashness as well. My response to those folks is -- you don't get a pass on responsibility for how you vote just because you were "really mad" when you cast your ballot. And no -- it is not ALL the fault of the past administrations that behaved so badly. They failed their part. You failed yours.Second, while they have the rabidly ed reform people in their camp, along with the "really angry," they need more. For the rest, they are counting on their ability (helped by a complicit or clueless media) to spin and lie their way past enough of the bad stuff to get to yes. These are the people who need to be informed about the actual content (and possible effects) of this legislation. If they then want to go back to Olympia and try for a charter bill that really DOES do all the things that people like Chris Eide claim for THIS bill -- they should. What they shouldn't do is reward what is either deviousness or terrible drafting in this legislation by voting for it.
I'm not mad, mindless, or reactionary. I used to be against charters, but now I think there's a place for them in Washington. I think the best of them have proven to be successful in areas most of Washington's schools have failed. I like the idea of a school that is free from district control, where the staff, parents and students can do what's necessary. Since our districts are too tangled up in existing structures to make that happen, I'm ready to see what charters can do.Our schools are doing great things for most kids. There's no reason to throw out what we have that's working, but there is a reason to bring in a different model that will serve kids we are unable or unwilling to serve. Charters have attrition, but so do our current schools. They triage to serve kids who show up and are willing to work, but who does that more unapologetically than our current schools? It's not spin, hype, drinking the Kool-Aid or being anti-public education, it's that Washington's protected our current system for a long time and it hasn't changed. Maybe it can't, because parents like me like how it serves our children. My point about Gulun is that these kinds of reasons against something that could be part of the solution, like people who said the CAS situation had to be halted because without board oversight, schools "could allow guns," are just so far fetched. It's like saying, "Don't go to India. You'll be kidnapped by your cabbie and taken to the hills and enslaved!" I mean, it happens, but is that a good reason to avoid India? This is what I think is going to happen. I think Washington voters will vote yes on charters in November. Most of the signature signers were in Seattle, and I would have thought Seattle was predominantly against charters. Apparently not.I think the big players - KIPP, Greendot, and other CMOs with a successful track record, will open some schools. Why? Because this is an excellent proving ground for them to show their stuff. They will want to succeed here.Maybe Seattle will get a charter. Maybe not. We're not the center of the educational landscape. If we do, it will be a school filled with children whose families want what's best for them. It will be filled with teachers who care about kids, and administrators who want to fight the cycle of poverty. I hope that if it happens we can all work together to make it work well.Will my child's school suffer? No. As a taxpayer, will my money be wasted? I don't think so. As a teacher, might I want to go tour that school and see what they're doing with kids I'm working my butt off trying to help? Yes. As a teacher, I'd like a few different models in town that I can go see and learn from. I don't care if the teachers aren't union. I don't care if they answer their cell phone at 10pm on a Saturday to help a kid with homework. In fact, I know a Nova teacher who does that regularly, AND pays SEA dues. That's their choice, and my tax money would be going to teacher who has to teach well to keep his job. That's money better spent than I feel much of my money is spent right now.Ready to Move Forward
I'm a Dem, and I'm voting yes. Can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
Ready - Where have charters proven to be so successful? I'd like peer -reviewed data to show that - data that includes the correct demographic info and attrition rate - compared to a public school in that area with the same demographics. I've observed classrooms in 19 charter schools in 3 states (it would have been 20, but one closed down juat before I arrived). Not a one has shown any innovative instruction that I would want to learn from - in fact, I've seen more scripted curriculum/test prep in charter schools than I've ever seen in public schools - and many people teaching in charter schools because they couldn't get hired in public schools. Contrary to the myth of charters as innovative, most charter schools teach in the same mode as most public schools, though a few take the rote learning/repeat after me to the extreme. No - most of the charter schools who do get better results do so because they have small homogenous classes, and higher income families, or invest much more money than they claim to. Plus I have seen that many of the parents push their kids educationally a bit more because they had to do a bit more work to get their child in (or in some cases - pay to get their child in) rather than just go down and register their child at the neighborhood school - when you have the perception of attaining something not available to everyone, then you tend to value it a bit more, regardless of the quality.As for answering the cell phone - this is required by KIPP. If you are not available, you can be fired. So much for family life. This is why so many of the KIPP teachers are young, new teachers. Once they decide to have a family, it's an either-or situation. Yes, many public school teachers opt to answer emails and phone calls well beyond the work day now, but the key word is opt. They have a choice. If they have something going on like a child's recital or family night, they don't have to answer/respond. With KIPP, there is no choice. CT(more below)
You think your child's school won't suffer? I watched as my neighborhood school in Phoenix - a successful, diverse k-8 school with a large special education population (both gifted and developmentally delayed) became the victim of a charter school draining funds. I watched as they eliminated art, computer lab, cut back , eliminated most of the teacher aides, and the librarian slowly had her hours cut until she was there maybe 2 days a week. The charter school spent public tax dollars on advertising -much of it false- and relied on the nasty neighborhood rumor mill to spread mistruths about the K-8 (spearheaded by the wife of the charter operator -who lived 3 doors down). They would put out the test scores of the k-8 and compare them to their own (no SpEd) and soon had drained most of the gifted kids from the public school. When special Ed parents tried to apply, they were told that the school didn't have services (or room) for their child at that moment, but to check back later. Enrollment at the charter increased, funding increased, and the once successful elementary school was left with the SpEd kids, the non English speaking kids, and the kids who couldn't get into/had been kicked out of the charter for some reason. It went from an exemplary school to a school in need of improvement, and no Safe Harbor provision in NCLB would help since it had so many different subgroups. In the neighborhood, the kids attending the charter school (and their parents) would intimate that they were better than the kids (and their parents) who attended the public school. What was once a friendly neighborhood with a yearly summer block/swim party became cliquish and divided. The charter parents made it seem as if they cared more about their kids and were better parents than the ones who had their kids in public school. Ironically, I found that the charter parents there were quick to make a distinction between charter schools and public schools (making it clear that public schools were the lowest of the low), so this whole "charter schools are public schools" crap just makes me laugh. I was glad to leave. CT
BTW - think charters aren't all about the money? When I last visited my old neighborhood in PHX and talked to some of my old neighbors, the scuttlebutt was that charter school operator and his wife had moved and purchased a very expensive home out in the Scottsdale/Carefree area. She didn't work, and he was the "administrator" of the charter school. So how did this couple manage to move out of their middle class neighborhood to the land of $600K + houses? (in PHX, housing prices are much lower and $600K buys one hell of a house, unlike here.)Gee, I wonder how much public money he used to buy his house....CT
Some things to ponder -According to KIPP, about 33% of their teachers are TFA alumni. http://www.kipp.org/teachers/teacher-faqIn the Houston KIPP info, it states the school day is 7:25-5:00 M-Th and 7:25-4:00 on F, with 4 hrs every other Sat and one month of summer school. For the middle school, students have 2-3 hours of homework a night. By my rough calculations, that's equivalent to an extra 100 days in school, compared to Seattle's 180 day year (assuming a 6.5 hour day). Students (and teachers) are spending about 50% more time in school. How many families in Seattle are actually seeking this type of school? http://www.tcer.org/research/charter_schools/high_perf_charter/documents/kipp.pdfWhat's interesting is that they report a 0% dropout rate, yet the enrollment goes down from 5th to 6th grade and from 6th to 7th grade.-skeptic
"Enrollment at the charter increased, funding increased, and the once successful elementary school was left with the SpEd kids, the non English speaking kids, and the kids who couldn't get into/had been kicked out of the charter for some reason. It went from an exemplary school to a school in need of improvement, and no Safe Harbor provision in NCLB would help since it had so many different subgroups."This. This is why I'm voting no. Thank you for your articulate observations, CT. I fear this very scenario would happen here as well, and actually increase the opportunity gap.
I'm voting yes as well. Cite all the studies you want, I've seen the good that KIPP has done for kids first hand. That's why I'm voting for charters. You can argue data and stats forever, and I suspect you will. Enjoy!
Ready to move forward;You are absolutely wrong about the benefits issue you write in your post and I DON"T respect your right to spread misinformation on this blog.I AM a custodian at Seattle Public Schools and we have had the same benefits as they for the last 30 years I know of.Better check those other "facts" as well.And I double dog dare you to tell me any way they are different or inferior.
"they" being teachers.Didn't say I could write.All plans, equal funding, all employees.
Ready,"I think the best of them have proven to be successful in areas most of Washington's schools have failed."You base that on what data?If this passes, I guarantee most of the charters will be in Puget Sound area/Seattle. I'll even bet. "As a taxpayer, will my money be wasted? I don't think so." Well, if you don't mind public buildings being sold for less than they are worth or charters just taking over a building (and school) with just a petition, no I guess that's not money wasted.
It seems to me that any estimate of the impact charters have on the opportunity gap in a District or state should compare the results for all kids in the catchment area for the charter, not just those who enroll. If charters are good for a District, they should (by example or by teaching the kids who need them the most) reduce the gap for all of the kids not just their own.If their kids scores are higher, but the kids left behind do worse, the District as a whole loses. At the state level, the overall impact should be what matters, not just positive results for some subset of kids. In practice, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that charters increase the gap overall, not necessarily by their teaching methods but by segregating the kids who have support and are better able to focus, and leaving behind the less supported kids who end up with more chaos and fewer positive peer roll models.I wonder if anyone has examined the data on this level?Knowing, but what if you knew for sure that KIPP wouldn't get a charter in WA? Would you still vote yes? Based on what? And how do you know they would have the same impact here as they did where you saw them? (Administrators can make or break a school-we know that.) Data is the closest thing we have to being able to see the future. Faith works great for some things. I don't see how it applies here.
I'm with Knowing Me Knowing You.Don't bother me with the facts. My personal experience tells me all I need to know.
Ready to Move Forward: I wish the legislation that is the subject of the initiative was crafted to result in the schools you describe. But I don't think it is. Assuming it passes, maybe we will luck out and our tax dollars will end up financing 40 wonderful, creative, innovative community-based charter schools, filled with administrators and staffs who leave no stone unturned in their efforts to accommodate gifted, SPED and ELL kids. Because the stifling burden of mind-numbing bureaucracy from "downtown" is indeed dreadful. But this legislation has not been crafted to, in any way, weed out weak applications, guard against abusive enrollment practices, maintain any racial or ethnic balance, or provide for the removal of unsupervised, unaccountable schools that promise the moon and deliver nothing. Could someone draft legislation that accomplishes what you describe? Yes, but this isn't it. When you read it, it is apparent that this legislation was designed to facilitate the removal of schools from public to charter status with as few barriers and obstacles, as many tax dollars, and as little accountability as possible. It specifically prohibits the preference of schools that want to serve struggling or economically deprived students. It requires that applications be accepted based upon when they are submitted, with lotteries to determine competing claims if submissions are simultaneous -- meaning that there is no ability to evaluate or rank applications in terms of curricular creativity, population served, effective use of district assets, or any other criteria. Why would we vote for legislation that would for example, permit Garfield, Franklin, and Rainier Beach, (or Bryant, View Ridge, and Wedgwood) to all become charter schools at once? With no ability to step in and prevent catastrophic disruption to the school system? Your vision is pretty compelling. But this legislation is not a road that has any reasonable likelihood of getting there. And the sad thing is -- it could be done. You COULD draft charter legislation that basically does what you describe. But those aren't the charter schools that the financiers of this legislation want to see. And so, that is not the legislation that they drafted.
DataCharter school attritionStudentshttp://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2012-04-27/study-dropout-rates-for-blacks-higher-in-charters/Teachershttp://www.vanderbilt.edu/schoolchoice/blog/?p=94Achievement gaphttp://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2011/11/california-charter-schools-don’t-narrow-black-white-achievement-gapCherry-picking/skimming (comments are interesting)http://gothamschools.org/2011/07/21/bronx-charter-school-accused-of-skimming-placed-on-probation/Draining Resources (I only have a print based copy of this, but here is the abstract - it's an older study)Do charter schools skim students or drain resources?Thomas S. Dee Helen FuAbstractTwo critical concerns with the rapid and ongoing expansion of charter schools are that they will segregate students and reduce the per-pupil resources available to conventional public schools. The contradictory prior evidence on such questions is based on potentially misleading cross-sectional comparisons. This study provides new evidence on these issues by conducting panel-based evaluations using school-level data from Arizona and neighboring states. These results suggest that the introduction of charter schools in Arizona has increased pupil–teacher ratios in traditional public schools by 6 percent and reduced the proportion of white non-Hispanic students by 2 percent.CT
Teacher/Parent says:Ready to move forward - Please do you homework. I KNOW you are making false claims regarding Seattle district unions and sped. I certainly don't mind hearing views from multiple sides of an issue, but I strongly object to your comments simply making stuff up about my school district.
Very interesting paper on KIPP, full of statistics on student makeup, attrition and funding sources:What Makes KIPP Work? by Gary Miron, Jessica L. Urschel, and Nicholas Saxton, March 2011http://www.scribd.com/doc/51998560/What-Makes-KIPP-Work-A-Study-of-Student-Characteristics-Attrition-and-School-FinanceThe Executive Summary alone is worth a read. Some surprises: 1) the amount of private funding not reported on NCES (National Center for Education Statistics?) finance surveys, yet shown on districts' 990 tax forms, 2) the increased amount of federal funding per student compared to traditional public schools, 3) the practice of not enrolling students mid-year, yet keeping funding dollars for those that leave, 4) the high attrition rate, especially for single site schools (compared to established regions with more schools), and 5) the list goes on...-skeptic
More commentary on the failed KIPP takeover of an existing middle school in Denver, as referenced in the What Makes KIPP Work paper (they're now sticking to starting new schools, not turning around existing ones):http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/do-self-selection-and-attrition-matter-in-kipp-schools/2011/06/13/AG1sQeTH_blog.htmlhttp://a-teachers-view.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-kipp-charter-motivation.html-skeptic
I would vote for charter if the legislation was tightened (less loopholes and more accountability) and we had better funding of basic ed. My fear is with the passing of this charter bill, it provides an easy out for our politicians, civic leaders, and philanthropists. It gives them a pass to avoid addressing full funding of basic ed and tackle the behemoth inept bureaucracy and management which rule so many of our school districts. As it is, the benefits of charter are iffy and to spend all that money and attention to oversee and implement a new law/bureaucracy that may help a few thousand kids while we struggle to educate nearly a million kids in this state is unsupportable. That's why my vote for BEX is up in the air and will be based on the charter outcome and SLU school proposal. The liberal conversion and trigger rules will have a major ripple effect on BEX and overcapacity problems. It's hard to believe that people who drafted this legislation did not foresee the potential disruption and adverse effect this will have. This is not a bill that envision the public good in mind and even if its vision is to provide better education, it falls short as it helps only a few kids while leaving out nearly a million others to flounder. That's not innovation, but a creation of another elite subset. It doesn't really level the playing field, but reinforce the increasing inequity of our society.voter
Voter, beautifully put.I do believe out-of-state people wrote this initiative. It is hard to believe that anyone who cares about public education in Washington State would do this to districts and taxpayers. If this initiative was what it truly SAYS it is - modest, reasonable and tightly written - me and a lot of other opponents would have a lot less to work with.As it is, time is somewhat on our side to educate people and have them make a FULLY-informed decision based on what THIS initiative would do in OUR state. The other side wants to run as fast as it can from the facts. Eide's op-ed shows that. He didn't answer repeated requests to show where his central thesis of help for at-risk kids is in I-1240. If he can't explain, who can?As well, Lynne Varner got very middle-school snippy at me and another person on Twitter yesterday "LOL and puleeze" for challenging that op-ed. She said we were "bullying" her and we should unfollow her.I'm sure she wishes we would but as she's the lead editorial writer on education at the Times, I am somewhat forced to follow her.
On those earlier comments about employees other than teachers......my dad was a school custodian when we were kids. He started at the bottom working nites when I was really small and by the time he retired years later, he was the head guy in a Jr. High school.Makes me wonder what quality of employee would be content to stay at entry level (in a non-union school) for an entire career.(Many) Teachers train to teach one grade for their whole career but sweeping the same floors and never moving up and never even having an opportunity to move up because your schools "sponsors" insisted on it? Does that value anyone?You think that won't show?Thats crazy talk. And so condescending to working people.
Until our schools are fully funded, I won't consider charter schools.There is a slim to no chance that charter schools would help a small number of students. However, I believe a greater number of students will be put at risk due to declining revenue.Voting No
Ready to move forward wrote about "The only school in Seattle that broke the pattern and started serving kids well ..."Really, RTMF? You believe that a) schools (not individuals in the schools) move children forward? How they're bricks and mortar; and b) only ONE school, under that view, actually moves students forward?You have an appalling lack of knowledge about all the many good things happening in every Seattle school every day.
http://www.inewsnetwork.org/special-reports/online-k-12- schools/http://mothercrusader.blogspot.com/2012/07/benjamin-rayer-new-jerseys-king-of.htmlPublic School Parent
By the way, Green Dot schools skim for motivated students and still have low test scores. Just a point of information to dispel a lot of flying lies. KIPP schools do indeed have high scores. They employ a combination of factors:-- An enrollment system using hurdles that select for motivated, compliant students from supportive families.-- A sky-high attrition rate as the less successful students leave and are not replace.-- Unsustainable demands on teachers requiring a level of commitment and energy that leads to furious teacher turnover.-- Vastly more money than public schools get, due to huge amounts of philanthropy poured into them.Even charter advocates admit that this is not "scalable" and only works for a small subset of schools and students. And that the struggling public school down the street from the shining miracle KIPP paradise could also have high scores if it had all those advantages and used all those practices.So, is that a real solution or not? Discuss among yourselves.
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