Understanding 1240 Thru the Lens of Other States' Experiences
So let's run through the experience of other states with charter schools.
Now the proponents of 1240 will say the word "trigger" isn't in there (it's called "conversion"). But if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck - it's a trigger.
But wait, other states have trigger laws, right? Correct. But none have been able to legally use them. Here's a great wrap-up of the history of the charter trigger. Also, here's a chart of all the trigger laws. You can see that nowhere else can teachers alone takeover a non-failing public school.
This article explains some of who is pushing the trigger for charters. It's people like Michelle Rhee, Rupert Murdoch and right-wing extremist, Philip Anschutz. That's a nice group of people to be taking marching orders from.
Also, keep in mind that the one in 1240 would be the harshest trigger in the country. Not only is it NOT just for failing schools (like ALL the others), it allows parents OR teachers to sign a petition (as part of a charter proposal) to flip a school.
Again, 18 teachers in an elementary and 10 sign a petition and the whole school community is upended. Without any required public notice.
I would like someone, anyone, to explain how turning over a non-failing school to a private entity with the signatures of 10 people is good public policy.
Here's what happens to a small or rural district if even a single charter comes in. They bankrupt the district and take it over. Here's another article from The Rural School and Community Trust.
Here's what happened in New Hampshire as their districts have become overwhelmed by the number of new charters pushing in. The State Board of Education put a moratorium on any new charters...
... arguing that the legislature has not adequately funded them and that their costs are poised to balloon in the years ahead.
In a letter explaining the decision, board Chairman Tom Raffio said the panel "continues to be supportive of charter schools." But he noted that the board has approved eight new charter schools over the past two years, increasing the state's costs by $5 million. Without additional funding, he said, "it would be inappropriate to approve any new charters schools at this time."
The state is obligated to pay a per-pupil cost for the charters it authorizes, Leather said. Presumably, as those costs rise, other costs would fall as students leave regular public schools for charters. But that budgetary trade-off is not occurring to the extent needed to keep costs in check, for a variety of reasons, Leather said. The reduction in regular public school expenses, based on student enrollment, does not occur quickly enough to offset state costs, he said. And even when regular public schools lose students, some of their costs, such as those covering operations and personnel, are fixed.
Top suspension rates for Massachusetts districts? Charter schools - up over 50% at a couple. Sixteen out of the top twenty. (Note: that each charter in MA is considered its own district just as charters would be under 1240.)
In Chicago, one network of charters charges "discipline" fees and has racked up nearly $400K in fees.
Chicago is buzzing over a controversial practice aimed at forcing inner-city school kids to follow rules. The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which has received high praise from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is charging its mostly low-income students five bucks for violating certain rules, which reportedly include bringing “flaming hot” potato chips to school, chewing gum and falling asleep in class.
Some parents also allege the practice is used to push out kids the schools would rather not have. The Tribune has a chart showing the charter’s graduation rates but also its high rate of non-returning students.
What's interesting is that the League of Education Voters, who supports 1240, are very against suspensions because of the unevenness of who gets suspended and the documented impacts to those students. If LEV is worried about the suspensions in our CURRENT system AND they support 1240, I have news for them.
Every charter creates its own discipline plan and it seems apparent that state-to-state charters tend to suspend at higher rates.