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Scary reading in charter school bill - PIOG. RIDICULOUS new laws proposed.

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Scary reading in charter school bill
By Valerie Strauss, Published: MARCH 28, 12:30 PM ET
Aa


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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by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM
Replies (11-20):
JasonsMom2007
by Silver Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Not all charter schools are bad though. We love our charter.
This bill is scary :(


Quoting kameka:

We looked into a new charter school for my oldest for next year. As soon as we looked beyond the surface we immediately changed course and are staying far away from charter schools.

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maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Yup

We have a couple of charter and private schools that seem to give every single student straight As. Parents think high grades mean lots of learning. That couldn't be farther than the truth. 

I actually think the private schools in my area are worse than the local charter. The charter does state testing so at least they have some accountability to teach the standards.  One of the private schools closed a few years ago so we got an influx of students. The parents were amazed at how good our school was and how far behind their kids were. All that money on tuition every year for nothing!

Quoting Kris_PBG:

I totally agree.

The reality is, many parents simply assume those type of things are "standard" and won't look into them - assuming all is well and good. Then those people DO send their kids there and the school keeps their doors open longer than it should.

I know at our school, we get quite a few kids every year back who left the charters to return to public school. These kids are known to typically be behind academically when they come in. What is also alarming is these kids come with their reading assessments done incorrectly, placed on reading levels they have no business in, etc... So the parents have no clue just how behind their kids really are...

But so many assume "new" = "better" and don't do their hw. :(


Quoting maxswolfsuit:

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. 



Kris_PBG
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Yes - we have a very prestigious private school in our area that we have been getting more and more kids from... They are shocked at how wonderful our school is and what they receive without private tuition. Those parents talk to their friends and a couple more switch each year. Between the economy and word if mouth, we have wound up with a good number of their kids...


Quoting maxswolfsuit:

Yup

We have a couple of charter and private schools that seem to give every single student straight As. Parents think high grades mean lots of learning. That couldn't be farther than the truth. 

I actually think the private schools in my area are worse than the local charter. The charter does state testing so at least they have some accountability to teach the standards.  One of the private schools closed a few years ago so we got an influx of students. The parents were amazed at how good our school was and how far behind their kids were. All that money on tuition every year for nothing!

Quoting Kris_PBG:

I totally agree.



The reality is, many parents simply assume those type of things are "standard" and won't look into them - assuming all is well and good. Then those people DO send their kids there and the school keeps their doors open longer than it should.



I know at our school, we get quite a few kids every year back who left the charters to return to public school. These kids are known to typically be behind academically when they come in. What is also alarming is these kids come with their reading assessments done incorrectly, placed on reading levels they have no business in, etc... So the parents have no clue just how behind their kids really are...



But so many assume "new" = "better" and don't do their hw. :(





Quoting maxswolfsuit:

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. 





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maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:11 AM

The only thing we could figure these kids were learning was cursive. Every one of them had awesome cursive writing. And it seemed like they did OK with reading. 

But the math skills were so far behind. All the kids had basic computation down, but NO geometry, no idea of how to solve situational problems, and they had never worked with any kind of manipulative's. 

The kids knew nothing about social studies or science. They had no text books and none of the kids could remember ever doing any lessons or taking any tests in those subjects.  But they had grades in them starting in Kindergarten. LOL

Quoting Kris_PBG:

Yes - we have a very prestigious private school in our area that we have been getting more and more kids from... They are shocked at how wonderful our school is and what they receive without private tuition. Those parents talk to their friends and a couple more switch each year. Between the economy and word if mouth, we have wound up with a good number of their kids...


Quoting maxswolfsuit:

Yup

We have a couple of charter and private schools that seem to give every single student straight As. Parents think high grades mean lots of learning. That couldn't be farther than the truth. 

I actually think the private schools in my area are worse than the local charter. The charter does state testing so at least they have some accountability to teach the standards.  One of the private schools closed a few years ago so we got an influx of students. The parents were amazed at how good our school was and how far behind their kids were. All that money on tuition every year for nothing!

Quoting Kris_PBG:

I totally agree.



The reality is, many parents simply assume those type of things are "standard" and won't look into them - assuming all is well and good. Then those people DO send their kids there and the school keeps their doors open longer than it should.



I know at our school, we get quite a few kids every year back who left the charters to return to public school. These kids are known to typically be behind academically when they come in. What is also alarming is these kids come with their reading assessments done incorrectly, placed on reading levels they have no business in, etc... So the parents have no clue just how behind their kids really are...



But so many assume "new" = "better" and don't do their hw. :(





Quoting maxswolfsuit:

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. 






GwenMB
by Gwen on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:11 AM

But you won't know that until you read about this law & what everyone is saying from a different source - that may have a different slant.  Everyone has a biased, few articles aren't biased in some way. The key is knowing the bias & either accounting for that or finding another source with a different bias.  

You clearly have your own bias against charter schools since you say its about getting public money into private hands & not education reform.  I know that it is about education reform & providing different options for students & why shouldn't they have access to public money when its their tax money as well?

Quoting Kris_PBG:

I'm not sure there really "is" another side. It is a response to open proposed legislation.

Personally, I don't see how any politician can look someone in the eye and say, yes, possible increased corruption, no background checks and reducing the amount of certified teachers teaching is good for ANY child.

Sadly, I've been closely following charter legislation for years... The trend in legislation is for TONS more charter schools, easing rules and the process to open them, reduced accountability, reduced standards, etc... Bc it is about getting public education money into private hands - not education reform.


Quoting GwenMB:

I wonder what the other side of the story is.  This article sounds very biased.

I do agree with Max, though, that parents should be researching schools & be involved enough to know what's going on.  If all parents did that, and acted upon their info, we wouldn't have nearly as many bad schools.  I realize this isn't easy for all parents, I'm talking about what would happen in an ideal world.



Kris_PBG
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Lol - you "know" this? Ok.....

I don't need to hear what everyone is saying - all I need is to read the legislation.

People can put whatever spin they want on it - but the law is the law - and if it is a law that reduces corruption, does not mandate background checks and says minimal teachers in a campus need to be certified, it is a potential law I have a big problem with...


Quoting GwenMB:

But you won't know that until you read about this law & what everyone is saying from a different source - that may have a different slant.  Everyone has a biased, few articles aren't biased in some way. The key is knowing the bias & either accounting for that or finding another source with a different bias.  

You clearly have your own bias against charter schools since you say its about getting public money into private hands & not education reform.  I know that it is about education reform & providing different options for students & why shouldn't they have access to public money when its their tax money as well?

Quoting Kris_PBG:

I'm not sure there really "is" another side. It is a response to open proposed legislation.



Personally, I don't see how any politician can look someone in the eye and say, yes, possible increased corruption, no background checks and reducing the amount of certified teachers teaching is good for ANY child.



Sadly, I've been closely following charter legislation for years... The trend in legislation is for TONS more charter schools, easing rules and the process to open them, reduced accountability, reduced standards, etc... Bc it is about getting public education money into private hands - not education reform.





Quoting GwenMB:

I wonder what the other side of the story is.  This article sounds very biased.

I do agree with Max, though, that parents should be researching schools & be involved enough to know what's going on.  If all parents did that, and acted upon their info, we wouldn't have nearly as many bad schools.  I realize this isn't easy for all parents, I'm talking about what would happen in an ideal world.





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wakymom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 11:19 AM
1 mom liked this

That bit about not requiring certification for teachers and no background checks is, imo, the scariest part. . . 






iansusie
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 1:25 PM
1 mom liked this

the scariest part is the background check in my opinion. I personally do not have a teaching certification but I know when I was teaching (granted in another country) I did a damn good job. Even the certified teachers at the school, admitted that I did a damn good job with the children I taught. I have an Engineering degree but honestly, I should have gone into teaching because that is what I always wanted to do. My grandmother was a teacher and she is who taught me what a devoted teacher is. My best friend, also has an Engineering Degree, she has been teaching for the past 10yrs. ALL her students get into the Universities of their first choice, including Stanford, Harvard and Princeton, with Scholarships, she doesn't have a teaching certification, either. To me certification is not as important as the devotion and as long as the "teacher" just didn't come out of High School and has some sort of college education is more important. 

Kris_PBG
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM
A teacher certification sets a basic minimum as to a knowledge base. There are alternate pathways other than teaching degrees to obtain a certificate, so it is not even saying all teacher need to have teaching degrees - but you SHOULD be able and willing to show you have the basic knowledge to be in the field. A teaching certificate is not "magic" that makes the person a gifted teacher, but it certainly is the industry "standard" as proof you have the prerequisite knowledge to be in the classroom. If a person wants to teach in the US, they should first go through the steps of obtaining the basic entry place into the profession.
Quoting iansusie:

the scariest part is the background check in my opinion. I personally do not have a teaching certification but I know when I was teaching (granted in another country) I did a damn good job. Even the certified teachers at the school, admitted that I did a damn good job with the children I taught. I have an Engineering degree but honestly, I should have gone into teaching because that is what I always wanted to do. My grandmother was a teacher and she is who taught me what a devoted teacher is. My best friend, also has an Engineering Degree, she has been teaching for the past 10yrs. ALL her students get into the Universities of their first choice, including Stanford, Harvard and Princeton, with Scholarships, she doesn't have a teaching certification, either. To me certification is not as important as the devotion and as long as the "teacher" just didn't come out of High School and has some sort of college education is more important. 


iansusie
by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I still stand by my words. Yes, a teaching certification would be great BUT like you said doesn't mean that the person will be a good teacher. Now, I'd agree that if you want to teach, you can get certified and if you are good and like you say have the basic knowledge, no one should be scared of getting certified BUT again, to me, that is NOT the scariest part of this bill. The no background check and basically NO one overseeing that the Charter meets at least minimum Curriculum Standards is scarier than whether or not the have certified teachers. That is my opinion.


Quoting Kris_PBG:

A teacher certification sets a basic minimum as to a knowledge base. There are alternate pathways other than teaching degrees to obtain a certificate, so it is not even saying all teacher need to have teaching degrees - but you SHOULD be able and willing to show you have the basic knowledge to be in the field. A teaching certificate is not "magic" that makes the person a gifted teacher, but it certainly is the industry "standard" as proof you have the prerequisite knowledge to be in the classroom. If a person wants to teach in the US, they should first go through the steps of obtaining the basic entry place into the profession.
Quoting iansusie:

the scariest part is the background check in my opinion. I personally do not have a teaching certification but I know when I was teaching (granted in another country) I did a damn good job. Even the certified teachers at the school, admitted that I did a damn good job with the children I taught. I have an Engineering degree but honestly, I should have gone into teaching because that is what I always wanted to do. My grandmother was a teacher and she is who taught me what a devoted teacher is. My best friend, also has an Engineering Degree, she has been teaching for the past 10yrs. ALL her students get into the Universities of their first choice, including Stanford, Harvard and Princeton, with Scholarships, she doesn't have a teaching certification, either. To me certification is not as important as the devotion and as long as the "teacher" just didn't come out of High School and has some sort of college education is more important. 




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