Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Charter Schools Ed News Roundup

Great National Education Policy Center (NEPC) paper called "Wait, wait. Don't Mislead Me!  Nine Reasons to be skeptical about charter waitlist numbers." So the next time you hear some huge number of kids are on charter school waitlists, remember these.

In brief:
  • Students apply to multiple charter schools
  • Waitlist numbers cannot be confirmed
  • Waitlist record-keeping is slipshot and unreliable
  • Many charter applications are for non-admissible greades
  • It's likely that most charters aren't very oversubscribed
  • NAPCS's (National Association of Public Charter Schools)Methods aren't available for independent verification
  • NAPCS numbers are inexplicably precise
  • What are we comparing charter waitlist numbers to?
  • charter waitlists can be trimmed by requiring "backfill"
From the Seattle Education blog, a good explanation of the bills in Congress to give a big boost to charters (seemingly in the name of accountability).

To note, over in Spokane, there was an editorial in the Spokesman-Review about how our lawmakers should be be helping charters. It's pretty funny.

The claim is that those poor charters that aren't part of a chain get no money until after October 1.  They also say regular schools "have no startup costs."  Well, as many of you know, our schools are funded by projected enrollments (which may or may not be correct) and that many of our schools WILL be underfunded.  As well, every time a district opens a new school?  Yes, start-up costs.

Then they suggest that Amazon and Microsoft give the charter schools for these costs.  These companies don't even pay their own fair share of taxes to support existing public schools and this newspaper wants them to give to those poor charters?

Do you know who Reed Hastings is?  He owns Netflix and he loves charters (and isn't afraid to talk about them).  In this blog thread from the Dad Gone Wild blog, there's this quote from Hastings about school boards:

And so the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault, the fundamental problem is that they don’t get to control their boards and the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long term planning to a system of large non-profits…The most important thing is that they constantly get better every year they’re getting better because they have stable governance — they don’t have an elected school board. And that’s a real tough issue. Now if we go to the general public and we say, “Here’s an argument why you should get rid of school boards” of course no one’s going to go for that. School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years. So what we have to do is to work with school districts to grow steadily, and the work ahead is really hard because we’re at 8% of students in California, whereas in New Orleans they’re at 90%, so we have a lot of catchup to do…So what we have to do is continue to grow and grow… It’s going to take 20-30 years to get to 90% of charter kids….And if we succeed over the next 20 or 30 years, that will be one of the fastest rates of change ever seen around the world for a large system, it’s hard. [applause]


What's this?  FBI agents in Cleveland raid company headquarters that manages a local charter chain and several others in the Mid-West.

FBI agents in Cleveland, along with the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission, searched 19 locations, including three in Northern Ohio, regarding Concept Schools, according to interviews and published reports.

And guess who this charter chain is connected with?  The Gulen movement.  (I'm still glad the Gulen-connected charter application here is Washington State got turned down.)

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