Charter school discipline story at Crosscut

Crosscut is featuring this story: Charter schools suspending black students at high rates. It's full of accusations and denials.

I'll just add two stories to Charlie's thread that may be of use in this discussion.  As the study says, fairly, many charters don't have these issues; it tends to be the "no excuses" charters like KIPP. 

From the Edushyster blog: Holding Back to Get Ahead

From Dewey to Delpit: the No-Excuses Charter School Movement


I had previously report on this study from the UCLA Civil Rights Projects. I think it strange that the CRPE whines about "apples to apples" data when one reason it isn't is that charter schools don't all report their data or their data doesn't match with what other government entities have. (For example, they report no suspensions but somehow the local public school gets kids sent to their school.)

The author is right, though, on a couple of points. Children of color are disproportionately disciplined and that needs examination and action. As well, if charters are public schools, why don't they report their data in a complete and timely manner?
Anonymous said…
Let's assume you are correct, Melissa, regarding your point that charter schools don't report their data or, if they do at all, report them inaccurately. If the data are not comparing like criteria, why draw conclusions and release the report at all?

The undeniable answer is that the UCLA Civil Rights Project has always had an axe to grind. This is not a legitimate research study, but a report by a policy organization. Until their findings can be replicated by one or more legitimate research studies, this report is nothing more than a political document.

But I assume you just think I'm whining.

--- aka
Because, if you read the study, last year WAS the first year that charters released any data. And how long have they been around? And aren't they "public" schools? Hmmm

As for the UCLA Civil Rights Project, two things.

I never knew that civil rights could be classified as "an axe to grind."

And, ditto on CRPE. Just a Gates charter think-tank.
Anonymous said…
Here is the link to discipline data for school districts in WA state (2012-2015):

Student discipline task force final report (2015):

All public schools/districts in WA state report their discipline data to OSPI monthly via the Comprehensive Education Data and Research System (CEDARS). This includes charter schools as well.
--Veteran Educator
Anonymous said…
Gimme a break. I never said that civil rights is an axe to grind. Sheesh.

Many people come at civil rights through different avenues and different lenses. How the UCLA Civil Rights Project comes at this topic constitutes their axe.

As for CRPE --- to you they're whiners. But the UCLA group is righteous. Depends on perspectives, I guess. And you make your perspectives crystal clear.

--- aka
VE,that may be true in Washington State, but that has not happened nationally and that's what the study is about.

As do you, AKA.
Anonymous said…
Touche. ;-)

--- aka
So when civil rights concerns are raised by people about what goes on at charter schools, ed reformers attack the messenger and try to explain away the situation, rather than admit there's a problem and pledge to correct it as soon as possible.

Yet those same ed reformers are the ones who don't hesitate for a second to call defenders of public education racists and blind to civil rights concerns when those folks advocate the opt out movement or voice opposition to charters.

From what I can tell, the attitude from corporate education reformers is that civil rights concerns exist only at public schools, and not at charter schools, which are apparently above reproach.
No 1240 said…
Robert Cruickshank gets it right.

I also note that Washington state charter schools are exempt from complying with laws related to discipline. The state's lower court was not able to rule on the issue of discipline because case law has not been brought to court. I believe the legal term is "ripe".
Anonymous said…
The "civil rights concerns" exist at SPS. What was the SPS response to the
Dept. of Justice inquiry? The elimination of suspensions. In other
words--elimination of the paper trail. It's rather stunning that this
thread was even posted about discipline disparity in charters given
the track record of this issue in SPS.

I am entirely opposed to charter schools. I am also through with the uppity
attitude among "liberals" in Seattle who use jargon and convenient random
self-righteous statistics to avoid dealing with the blatant inequities in this district. Cast blame on charters while bathing in complacency. BTW, Diane Ravitch would be appalled if she examined the manifestations of privilege in this district.

Here's a sampling of the ugliness in your own backyard:

PTA funding in the $100,000s in some schools and others with none, segregated schools and neighborhoods, warehousing of high numbers of FRL students, HCC demographics that violate state law (and ethics), SPED placements based on district convenience rather than student needs and rights--to name a few.

Before having the credibility to condemn charters, the "messengers" need to face the glaring inequities under their own noses.

Instead, locals are debating the Peters/Blandford exchange as a proxy for protecting
privilege and fiefdoms. Isn't that extra special (and telling)?

--about time
Anonymous said…
Speaking for myself, Robert, I would work to address issues that have some basis in fact. The point is that this UCLA "report" is not evidence of a problem because there was no comparable control over the data that they used --- as even Melissa acknowledges.

Their report is not a conclusion of fact but merely an indication that there might be a problem. That's why I suggested that legitimate studies be done to replicate the findings of their "report." Let's verify there's an actual problem before we rush in with solutions, shall we?

If there is a basis in fact, I know that I will work to correct it.

--- aka
About Time,what would you do differently with PTA? They are a separate org from the district. We've often talked here about if the PTA would be willing to help schools who don't have a PTA/have one but no resources. Soup for Teachers talks about this all the time. So you cannot say there is no one who is copping to the disparities in fundraising.

How is PTA fundraising any different from the private funds that charters get (and not even raise themselves thru parents?)

I do have credibility to criticize charters as does every single taxpayer. They are "public" schools, right? As well, the data not being available is the charters fault.

The debate seems to be not "protecting a fiefdom"; there was nothing of the sort. I brought it up as reporting what happened (you're welcome) and that it was two elected officials talking about their viewpoints and one telling the other one basically to keep quiet.

Anonymous said…
Let's be clear, Melissa, that there's a difference between a right and credibility. You have a right as a taxpayer and a citizen to criticize charter schools or any other thing you please, but that doesn't mean your criticism is credible.

And your statement that "the data not being available is the charters fault" calls into question your credibility.

--- aka
Teacher Greg said…
This line, from the CRPE, struck me "“What they don’t need are more reports like UCLA’s that serve only to fuel political battles and grab headlines.” Isn't that basically the CRPE's mission statement -- generating reports to fuel political battles and grab headlines? Maybe they just don't like the competition from another Pac 12 school...
Eric B said…
About Time, I 100% agree with you that the issue of disproportionate discipline is in SPS as well as in charters. I'd be curious at the level of disproportionality.

When you look at PTA funding, it also helps to look at actual total school funding. Several years back (the last time I looked at it), the elementary school with the largest PTA contribution had the second lowest per-student funding after grants of elementary schools in the district. #1 was near the top of the fundraising ladder too.

The difference is that less affluent schools get more money for a wide variety of services than affluent schools do. I'm not pulling a "poor little rich kid" card, or saying that less affluent schools don't need more funding. But it's not as black and white as "rich PTAs give so much money that all problems are solved there."
Anonymous said…
Thank you Soup for Teachers! As I have stated other times,
they are (along with Rita Green and numerous unsung heroes)
carrying the torch for justice in this district.

--about time
Well, given my longevity in public ed in Seattle (and there many more activists like Dr. Carol Simmons who have been around longer) and creating an open forum for discussion about public education, getting an award for it, helping to push SPS to be more transparent and seeing it happen, supporting school board candidates and other elected officials who seek my endorsement, yes, I think I do have credibility.

And, of course, I don't hide behind my computer.

Aka, the study says that data has not previously been available from charter schools. If you have the data, you should send it to UCLA because they couldn't get it.

Anonymous said…
Let me ask you, Melissa, why you don't ban me rather than calling me or inferring that I am a coward? I don't swear, I don't call people names, I tend to stick to the topics at hand. But you find it necessary to call me out for using a pseudonym but no one else. Why don't you call out the countless others who comment here anonymously?

Is it because I challenge you? Is it because I call into question your biases/prejudices and your lack of journalistic ethics? Is it because my opinions run counter to the prevailing ideologies espoused here? You yourself refer to this as an "open forum" but you single me out as hiding behind my computer. Why is that? When will you call out others for hiding behind their computers?

You can ignore these questions or even delete this post. It's your "open forum." I would simply request some answers to these questions.

--- aka
Aka, I have frequently pointed out that most people here don't sign their names. I understand this especially for SPS staff. I'm sorry you have missed me saying that to others.

You infer I'm calling you a coward. Not really but I'm saying that I'm a fairly easy target because I put myself out there.

Fair enough, aka. You can start with Success Academy, which now has two federal civil rights complaints filed against it (one back in January, and another this week). Their practices are quite clearly racist, as well as abusive. Are you and other charter school promoters working to change Success Academy's horrible practices, and prevent them from being used in other charter schools?

There are also problems in public schools and many people are already working hard to address them. Those who point out discrimination and other inequities that exist in public schools are usually taken at their word - and rightly so! Yet when the same claims are made of charter schools, suddenly, everyone (usually white people) push back hard and refuse to acknowledge there might be any problems at all.

And in the case of the parents at Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz went to the media to try and smear the good name of the parents who raised concerns. That's indefensible, yet to my knowledge, charter school advocates have not called her out for that terrible behavior.
Anonymous said…
Robert, to be really honest, I couldn't care less about what happens in NYC or elsewhere --- other than those instances in which people use things that happen there to disparage things that happen here (or could happen here).

I've worked my entire adult life to improve the education of all kids here in OUR state. I care about this state's public education system, including charter public schools. If there are abuses in our state's charter public schools, I will work to correct them.

So, to answer your question: No. I'm not focused on Success Academy in any way.

--- aka
Wait, so charter schools in Washington state start with a clean slate and there is nothing to learn from what happens in other states?

Well, actually, not such a clean slate. My narrative of the last year of charter schools in Washington state is going to get longer with more information from public disclosure documents. It currently is not a pretty picture.

As well, the amount of time to get these public disclosure requests is just silly. I know they are putting me off. SPS never made me wait this long and the charter schools were only open for mere months.

Anonymous said…
Yes, a clean slate. And why shouldn't they? We have our own laws and our own accountability system and our own governance system. Again, why shouldn't they have a clean slate?

Plus, we know you'll always be here to disparage them and call out every misstep, however minor. It's not like they're actually going to get an opportunity to prove their worth on their own merits, am I right? You're not really going to let that happen. You'll always work to destroy them, regardless of their worth to the families who choose them.

But that wasn't my point. Robert asked if I was going to work to correct Success Academy. I said no. They're not my concern.

--- aka
Eric B said…
AKA, you can't have it both ways. You want charters to start with a clean slate in WA? Great. Then don't talk about any success any other charter school has had anywhere else in the country. Clean slate. You want Washington charters to look good because of any successes elsewhere? Then you have to take the warts, too. That doesn't mean you have to assume that every bad thing that has happened anywhere else has happened in WA, but you have to assume it could.

Now that I think about it, have you ever posted anything good about charter schools in WA or anywhere else? Or do you just make them look good by tearing down anyone who questions them and the regular public schools? It's an honest question, I can't remember and I'd like to be educated.
What I want and what I try to do is tell ALL sides of the story. I find that those on the ed reform side just won't do that and that's one reason why I am so suspicious. Nothing is all good and it seems odd to try to present charters in that way.
seattle citizen said…
aka, as a taxpayer I want to know more about charters than "their worth to the families who choose them."
They are (according to you) PUBLIC schools, so of course one looks to see if they work for ALL students in the area and for the taxpayers you ask to fund them.
In that view, of course we would look at the record of charters around the country, as well as their legality here.
"Clean slate"? Then start with charters that aren't connected to major "non-profit" corporations. Green Dot, Summit...Those have histories, histories connected to the larger picture of the (de)evolution of the charter idea in this country. Of course it makes sense to look at the big charter picture and call out BS when we see it. Forewarned is forearmed.
The charters don't belong to the families that choose them, if you want them to be "public" schools. They would, then (if it turns out they're even legal), belong to us all.
Omnia extares: let it all hang out. Let them be transparent and own their failures.
Po3 said…
"But you find it necessary to call me out for using a pseudonym but no one else. Why don't you call out the countless others who comment here anonymously?"

AKA, you call out and judge people by name, while hiding behind an alias. Few threads back you challenged Robert's commitment to education because he doesn't attend the meetings that you think he should attend, that you yourself say you attend. But because you are just AKA, we have no idea what kind of advocacy you do IRL, if any.

People like Robert, Melissa, Carol and others don't hide, they are visible publicly.

People like me, using Po3, don't personally attack people for not attending meetings, for example. You do. And that, in my mind, is the difference.
Anonymous said…
Po3, in the immortal words of Jules Winnfield, "I don't remember asking you a g-d thing"

--- aka
seattle citizen said…
aka - A few comments back you acknowledge that this is an open forum. It's a blog. Where people comment and discuss. No need to cuss out Po3.
Aka, maybe time to leave. First you believe you are the only one I've ever called out for being anonymous which is totally untrue (and long-time readers know it.). Then you get unpleasant with a reader who compared what you said in one place with what you said here.

If you can't disagree without being disagreeable, please don't comment.
Anonymous said…
That's probably for the best. And you're lying to yourself (again), Melissa, if you're telling yourself that you haven't called out others for being anonymous. While you acknowledge that the majority of your commenters are anonymous, you don't question the "courage of their convictions." You reserve that criticism only for those whom you disagree.

And there are numerous commenters here, micmac at the top, who are WAY more disagreeable and unpleasant that I. But, you've never asked them to leave. And why is that? You tend to agree with the opinions of those folks. You disagree with me on a regular basis and, therefore, you ask that I leave.

You're extremely biased. You're a blogger, not a reporter. You can tell yourself that you're simply reporting the news. That again is a lie.

But it's time that I do go. For disagreement with you folks turns out simply to be trolling. There's no changing minds here. It's time that I exit the echo chamber.

--- aka
Aka seems quite confused on this issue. First, it's "I'm the only one you call out" and now I'm lying because "you haven't called out others for being anonymous."

I'll note that I know some people who post personally and I do call them out on what they comment on.

I do have a POV and it's pretty clear on most threads when I am stating on and when I am reporting (and then giving commentary.)

This is nearly the least echo chamber blog I can think of but maybe others have not read other blogs.

Finally, when someone gets unpleasant and then tried to deflect their behavior back on me, it says more about them than me.

On that note, I'll end this thread.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools