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Scary Reading in Charter School Bill - INSANE!

Posted by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 9:18 AM
  • 15 Replies
Scary reading in charter school bill
By Valerie Strauss, Published: MARCH 28, 12:30 PM ET



A bill in the North Carolina Senate is highly revealing about how much concern its Republican sponsors really have for accountability in education.
Short answer: apparently none.

Longer answer: A bill titled “NC Public Charter School Board,” introduced by two Republicans, calls for a new board to approve and oversee charters. The State Board of Education would no longer have the job of overseeing charter schools, and charter school applicants would no longer have to get permission to open from local school boards or local education agencies. They could go straight to the new board, whose members would be appointed by the governor.

If anyone is worried that members of the new board might have conflicts of interest with the schools they are overseeing, the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Jerry Tillman and Sen. Dan Soucek, are not; their legislation doesn’t have any language ensuring that there are no conflicts.

What’s more, local school boards would be forced to lease open buildings or land to charter school operators for $1 annually unless they could prove that wasn’t feasible, according to the Progressive Pulse. If a charter school closes, its assets won’t go the local school agency or school board but to the state’s general fund.

And there’s more. The Pulse reports that the legislation says:

Charter schools shall "make efforts to reasonably reflect" the racial and ethnic composition of the LEA in which they are located.

That actually weakens the current requirement on diversity and reveals a lack of interest in such issues.

And there’s this: Charter schools would no longer have to have at least half of their teachers officially certified to teach, nor would they be legally required to conduct criminal background checks on their teachers and other staff members. Why? Well, during a legislative committee hearing on the bill, this is what happened, the Pulse reported:

Senators [Republican Austin] Allran and [Democrat Gladys] Robinson raised concerns about why the bill would make it optional for charter schools to conduct criminal background checks for prospective employees. "You're talking about children. Seems like something that would be the minimum you would do," said Allran. Tillman dismissed his concerns, effectively saying that he didn't want to micromanage the schools and that many would do the background checks anyway.

The bypassing of local school boards is not unique to North Carolina; Tennessee has a bill to do the same thing and, in fact, more than half of the states with charter-school laws allow state bodies to overrule charter decisions by other authorizers, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

The North Carolina legislation may, however, be in a class by itself when it comes to removing any notion of accountability from charter schools.

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JCB911
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM
1 mom liked this

IMO this isn't really scary - it's a step forward.  (With the exception of background checks, but really they all would anyway).

We need to give our parents, communities and schools control over the kids' education.  The public school system is failing our kids - this is unacceptable. Allow charter schools, private schools, homeschoolers to freedom to teach kids the way those kids need to be taught, the things the kids need to be taught (to be determined by the educators, the parents, the local community).  No child is the same, not community is the same - we need to stop treating them the same. 

As far as accountabliity goes - any education system, any curriculum is going to have gaps.  There is no child that go through any system, school, curriculum and knows it all - not possible.  One kid might graduate and not know Edger Allan Poe, another may lack knowledg about the Korean War - but they'll both probably do fine in life without having taken a test on something they would have forgotten anyway.  There will be gaps so the goal of parents, educators, commmunitites etc should be to teach what the kids NEED to know, what is helpful to them later in life, let them learn about what interests them, show them how to learn on their own.  The most important thing our kids should leave school with every day, and graduate with, is a love for learning. No matter what grade a child gets and how well a school is doing on standardized tests I think every school is failing at helping kids LOVE learning.    And they have an interest in literature they'll find out about Poe on their own, and retain much much more.

And accountability goes much further than charter schools. IMO if a parent is choosing a charter school over another that school is accountable to the parents - who obviously care about thier kids' education.  Accountability concerns should be pushed on the public school system where 25-30% or even as much as 50% of kids in urban areas don't graduate. FIFTY percent.  Don't worry about schools that might do something a little different worry about the schools that focus on maintaining the status quo when the status quo is failing. 

Kris_PBG
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM
1 mom liked this
I definitely disagree , but we are both free to do that.

I fail to see how having no background checks and uncertified teachers is in any way a step forward.

This bill is not about kids - it is about clearing the way for businesses to profit off if our children through our tax dollars.

This is school DEform - not reform.

As long as we allow our dollars turned over to hedge fund managers and put our children in buildings with no background checks and uncertified teachers, we are getting much further from any improvements we can make, not closer.

There is a lot we could do to improve aspects of education, but public schools are definitely not failing my kids. They are in a great district and go to a great school. I am very happy with their education and schooling. While the schools do play part of the role in graduation rates, we can't pretend that is the only influencing factor in those numbers.


Quoting JCB911:

IMO this isn't really scary - it's a step forward.  (With the exception of background checks, but really they all would anyway).

We need to give our parents, communities and schools control over the kids' education.  The public school system is failing our kids - this is unacceptable. Allow charter schools, private schools, homeschoolers to freedom to teach kids the way those kids need to be taught, the things the kids need to be taught (to be determined by the educators, the parents, the local community).  No child is the same, not community is the same - we need to stop treating them the same. 

As far as accountabliity goes - any education system, any curriculum is going to have gaps.  There is no child that go through any system, school, curriculum and knows it all - not possible.  One kid might graduate and not know Edger Allan Poe, another may lack knowledg about the Korean War - but they'll both probably do fine in life without having taken a test on something they would have forgotten anyway.  There will be gaps so the goal of parents, educators, commmunitites etc should be to teach what the kids NEED to know, what is helpful to them later in life, let them learn about what interests them, show them how to learn on their own.  The most important thing our kids should leave school with every day, and graduate with, is a love for learning. No matter what grade a child gets and how well a school is doing on standardized tests I think every school is failing at helping kids LOVE learning.    And they have an interest in literature they'll find out about Poe on their own, and retain much much more.

And accountability goes much further than charter schools. IMO if a parent is choosing a charter school over another that school is accountable to the parents - who obviously care about thier kids' education.  Accountability concerns should be pushed on the public school system where 25-30% or even as much as 50% of kids in urban areas don't graduate. FIFTY percent.  Don't worry about schools that might do something a little different worry about the schools that focus on maintaining the status quo when the status quo is failing. 


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maxswolfsuit
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:33 AM
1 mom liked this

This might look a little familiar. I just copied my answer from the other post. 

The thing is, in a perfect world charters would police themselves. Parents should be researching school and involved enough to know what's going on. So poorly run charters shouldn't have a big enough enrollment to stay open. 

But unfortunately that's not how it works. So many people have such a deep routed disdain for the public school system they think any alternative is an improvement. So many crappy charters stay open even though their public school competitors offer a better education. 

So as much as the bill bothers me, I think the bigger issue is that parents would send their child to a school that didn't have certified teachers or require background checks. 

maxswolfsuit
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting JCB911:

IMO this isn't really scary - it's a step forward.  (With the exception of background checks, but really they all would anyway).

If they would anyway, why include it in the bill. Obviously someone wants to exempt from it or it wouldn't be in the bill. 

We need to give our parents, communities and schools control over the kids' education.  The public school system is failing our kids - this is unacceptable. Allow charter schools, private schools, homeschoolers to freedom to teach kids the way those kids need to be taught, the things the kids need to be taught (to be determined by the educators, the parents, the local community).  No child is the same, not community is the same - we need to stop treating them the same. 

As far as accountabliity goes - any education system, any curriculum is going to have gaps.  There is no child that go through any system, school, curriculum and knows it all - not possible.  One kid might graduate and not know Edger Allan Poe, another may lack knowledg about the Korean War - but they'll both probably do fine in life without having taken a test on something they would have forgotten anyway.  There will be gaps so the goal of parents, educators, commmunitites etc should be to teach what the kids NEED to know, what is helpful to them later in life, let them learn about what interests them, show them how to learn on their own.  The most important thing our kids should leave school with every day, and graduate with, is a love for learning. No matter what grade a child gets and how well a school is doing on standardized tests I think every school is failing at helping kids LOVE learning.    And they have an interest in literature they'll find out about Poe on their own, and retain much much more.

And accountability goes much further than charter schools. IMO if a parent is choosing a charter school over another that school is accountable to the parents - who obviously care about thier kids' education.  Accountability concerns should be pushed on the public school system where 25-30% or even as much as 50% of kids in urban areas don't graduate. FIFTY percent.  Don't worry about schools that might do something a little different worry about the schools that focus on maintaining the status quo when the status quo is failing. 

If parents always held the charter schools accountable I would agree that there's no need for government regulations. In theory, a poorly run school wouldn't have the enrollment to stay open. 

But that's just not the reality. So many people are so convinced  any option is better than public school they send their child to any alternative without doing the research or being involved enough to really know what's going on in the school. 

There wouldn't be so many poorly performing charter school open if parents were more involved and informed. I agree that most parents who send their children to charter school are probably concerned about their education. But that doesn't mean they have the background or do what's needed to assess the quality of education their child is getting. 

mjande4
by Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 2:28 AM

VERY scary!!

celticdragon77
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM


Quoting Kris_PBG:

 public schools are definitely not failing my kids. 

This is not related to the above article, only this portion of your comment.

They might not be failing your children, but they are failing mine!

I have a 3rd grade (end of year) whose dra is 20 (should be near 40) and 4th grader (end of year) whose dra is 34 (should be close to 50). They are a year and a half behind in reading.

We are a middle class family, and they go to a "good school district". We have a weekly habit of going to the library and we keep a lot of books in the house. 

I was told by the school not to interfere with the kids reading. To only allow them to read the stuff they are sent home with.

The school year ends in about a month. I just found out by my son that he has not had science or social studies all year. I got in touch with the school as soon as possible. Turns out they made this decision without consulting me. Sorry, but as a parent this something I would like to be informed about. they warned me that it will happen to my daughter as well when she gets to 4th grade. It is due to their reading being so far behind. They do English all day - except math and lunch time. My son now hates school! 

I am now in the process of seeking private help with tutoring my kids in reading. As well as an alternative to the school they now attend.

"live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air..." Emerson 

Kris_PBG
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM
I'm very sorry to hear you are having a rough year. I hope things get better for your kiddos.


Quoting celticdragon77:


Quoting Kris_PBG:

 public schools are definitely not failing my kids. 


This is not related to the above article, only this portion of your comment.

They might not be failing your children, but they are failing mine!

I have a 3rd grade (end of year) whose dra is 20 (should be near 40) and 4th grader (end of year) whose dra is 34 (should be close to 50). They are a year and a half behind in reading.

We are a middle class family, and they go to a "good school district". We have a weekly habit of going to the library and we keep a lot of books in the house. 

I was told by the school not to interfere with the kids reading. To only allow them to read the stuff they are sent home with.

The school year ends in about a month. I just found out by my son that he has not had science or social studies all year. I got in touch with the school as soon as possible. Turns out they made this decision without consulting me. Sorry, but as a parent this something I would like to be informed about. they warned me that it will happen to my daughter as well when she gets to 4th grade. It is due to their reading being so far behind. They do English all day - except math and lunch time. My son now hates school! 

I am now in the process of seeking private help with tutoring my kids in reading. As well as an alternative to the school they now attend.


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sally310
by on May. 8, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Just because a teacher is "certified" does not make them  a good teacher.  We left NJ, where teachers are all highly qualifed, all that means is they have a degree and a teaching certificate!!!!

My kids now go to a Waldorf school.  The teachers there may not be what you think of a certified, but they are highly educated, passionate, and really have to Teach.  NO workbooks, work sheets, technology in the rooms,  its great to see them using the black boards in the room to actually instruct the students.  They do not have text books so are able to select their own high quality materials.  The kids have to create their own books to and write whole sentences, not just fill in the blanks on a work sheet.  The teachers can also tweak the work to each individual child, to their current level.  They also communicate with parents as often as necessary, I talk to them every day.  That alone makes a world of difference. 

Its not a typical system, but does an excellent job because the teachers really care, they don't get paid anything like PS teachers do.   So my point is alternatives to the PS system are possible, can work and do not have to be a one size fits all situation.  Just because you are happy with PS does not mean others are.  Many, many thousands of kids all over the country are not having their needs served by the PS system and deserve the chance for something else.   The education system needs to have choices and alternatives that offer different methods and approaches.  Those of us with kids outside the PS box need options too.

Kris_PBG
by on May. 8, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Answers should include our children being safe. I already addressed a lot of your points in regards to certification in an earlier response, so I won't bore anyone with repeating myself.

PS is not really always the one dimensional way you paint things either. I know it is not where I teach.

I am glad you found something that works for you.


Quoting sally310:

Just because a teacher is "certified" does not make them  a good teacher.  We left NJ, where teachers are all highly qualifed, all that means is they have a degree and a teaching certificate!!!!


My kids now go to a Waldorf school.  The teachers there may not be what you think of a certified, but they are highly educated, passionate, and really have to Teach.  NO workbooks, work sheets, technology in the rooms,  its great to see them using the black boards in the room to actually instruct the students.  They do not have text books so are able to select their own high quality materials.  The kids have to create their own books to and write whole sentences, not just fill in the blanks on a work sheet.  The teachers can also tweak the work to each individual child, to their current level.  They also communicate with parents as often as necessary, I talk to them every day.  That alone makes a world of difference. 


Its not a typical system, but does an excellent job because the teachers really care, they don't get paid anything like PS teachers do.   So my point is alternatives to the PS system are possible, can work and do not have to be a one size fits all situation.  Just because you are happy with PS does not mean others are.  Many, many thousands of kids all over the country are not having their needs served by the PS system and deserve the chance for something else.   The education system needs to have choices and alternatives that offer different methods and approaches.  Those of us with kids outside the PS box need options too.


sally310
by on May. 9, 2013 at 12:57 PM

No one situation is perfect, choice is what really matters.  Having different options to look at and find out what works best for the individual child.

As to safety, in our current PS system there are of course background checks.  But sadly to say that does not seem to be protecting our kids!   Simply saying that everyone who works there will have a mandatory background check and all will be fine is just too naive for words!!!

Even in my kids very small private school there are rules about back ground checks.  So i think that most institutions would have them anyway, just to cover themselves in the event of an incident or problem.

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