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Black charter schools

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Should the state give more latitude to high F&R and minority charter schools before not renewing their charters?

As noted in today's article, representatives from PreEminent Charter and Torchlight Academy, both in Raleigh, are making that case in an attempt to keep their charters. State officials are citing low test scores and other issues for not recommending that their charters be renewed when they expire in June.

"You have to look at more than statistics," said Don McQueen, executive director of Torchlight. "You have to look at the character of the school."

Click here for information on the charter renewals being reviewed by the state.

You'll notice that Raleigh Charter High and Quest Academy are both recommended for 10-year charter renewals.

The leaders of Torchlight and PreEminent say they're dealing with a far different population than Raleigh Charter or Quest.

"We’re a school that's concerned about minority students," McQueen said during a state Board of Education committee meeting on Wednesday. "If you raise the basement, you raise the whole foundation."

McQueen added that they're providing a charter school option for low-income parents.

Torchlight officials said their F&R rate was 85 percent, much higher than the Wake school system's 40 percent goal. Torchlight, like other charter schools, is independent of the school system's they're located in.

After the meeting, McQueen said he's concerned that many black charter schools are closing and are being replaced by predominantly white charter schools.

Roger Gerber, a member of the board of PreEminent and past director of the League of Charter Schools of N.C., said he's also concerned that so many black charter schools are closing.

Gerber said that it will discourage charter school applicants from minority areas from applying. He warned that it could lead to charter schools becoming all white.

Last school year, a majority of charter schools had a white enrollment of more than 70 percent. That's much higher than the percentage in the traditional public schools.


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knightdale parent

If you read my post closely I was not comparing or "inferring" as you put it, Thales Academy with WCPSS. I said that we were diverse with all racial and socio economic students represented. We have white, black, hispanic, asian, greek, affluent, not as affluent..., poor, and if you are like me...eating beenie weenies to give my child this incredible educational opportunity. I am so glad that I have my child out of a system where so much emphasis is put on the "numbers" like you are obsessed with. My point was that it is not an all white affluent school only for the uber rich....

I am not obsessed with the

I am not obsessed with the numbers, but I am interested in facts. It was you who brought up diversity, I was merely asking you to support your statement.

OT- Public hearings online now


Special treatment?

I disagree that you have to look beyond scores for a charter school. There are many worthy individuals who started schools that failed, and just because you have lofty ambitions or great character, you shouldn't get special treatment or a pass on having to follow the rules. That's ridiculous.

Black charter schools are failing because of a lack of parental involvement in their kids' education. You can have the best intentions in the world to teach your kids, but if the parents are absent from the equation, it's not going to matter much.

the parents are involved or

the parents are involved or the kids would not be in a charter school.

Not necessarily - you would be surprised...

how may parents are not involved at some charter schools.  I used to think the same thing, and maybe there are some charters where the majority is involved - but I assure you that is not the case everywhere.

Vouchers would resolve this issue quickly and cheaply

IF one makes an exception for skin color, where does it end? Left-handed people? Those with glasses? Those who sit for hours in a bus each day going to and from school - that surely can't help a child. Evaluation of any child or school should be color-blind.

Schools need to be treated as any other for-pay service. Survival of the fittest, which has always resulted in better products and services for less money in a free-market society such as ours.

Universal vouchers, which allow taxpayers to determine how THEIR taxes are used to educate THEIR children at the schools of THEIR choice, are the solution to this and just about all other education needs in our county, state and country.

What standard?

It seems to me that the standard for determining whether a charter should be pulled is whether the charter school does a worse job at educating its students than the surrounding public school district.  Unfortunately, you cannot measure this directly--you can't go back in time and see how the kids would have performed in the public school system.   So, instead, you have to look at some proxy, which is usually how well those kids perform when compared with their peers in the public system, usually by looking at test scores.

So, what peer group do you use?  For a typical charter school, it makes sense to compare scores with those of the general population of the public system.  But, if a charter school serves, say, a largely poor population, then it makes sense to compare with scores of the poor students in the general population.

I don't know which comparison the state is using here, but if they're only comparing with the general population,  then I think they're doing it wrong.

 In any case, the real problem here is the state cap on the number of charters.  I would be perfectly happy to let the parents, and not the state, decide whether a charter school was doing a good job if keeping that charter school open didn't mean denying a charter to a different school.

survival of the fittest hmmm

survival of the fittest hmmm is that why we just bailed out banks and one of the largest insurance companies?

We? Same tyranny as in WCPSS

"We?"  When were taxpayers asked to approve any of these terrible bailouts, which are sure accelerate our nation's downspiral into a deep economic depression. That's what you get from a public education system that teaches nothing about basic free market capitalism, in fact they vilify it. Our so-called leaders ought to read some Sowell or Friedman, instead they are printing dollars.

I would suggest that you would find few amongst Thales parents who agree with the recent government bailouts. Thales is a 100% private effort, as all schools should be IMHO. Schools, just like any other business, should not fear competition, but embrace it. There will be losers, of course, but the winners will be the customers: children and their parents.  What we have now with government schools is a monopoly for most - our taxes are confiscated and we are told where and how our children will be educated. That's tyranny.  Business should be no different. No one ever offered to bail out the companies I have run in my 30+ year career as an engineer. The fear of failure and competition only made us stronger and our customers happier. Why shouldn't this be the same for schools?

Couldnt agree more!



I couldnt agree more!  You encouraged my family last spring to look at Thales academy in Wake Forest after my son's dismal and falling test scores at Forest Pines Elem.  He tested into Thales but I was told he was very far behind grade level in Math and Reading.  (When we moved to Raleigh from Charlotte he was on grade level...)  After six months with the direct instruction teaching approach he has caught up to his peers and will be on grade level when we return from break.  Needless to say it was the best money my family has ever spent.  We love the school, the administration and the education my son is receiving.  We are a very diverse school with all racial and socio economic levels represented.  Thales teaches the children the basics and then builds on those basics once the children have truly established comprehension of those concepts.  The education methods used are tried and true and they truly work.  No "Math Trailblazers" here....thank God!!!  As a family who paid an enormous tax bill last year, it would be great if some of those tax dollars was used for my sons education....but I guess that will be a debate for the ages.  Keep up the great work in providing families with an affordable and viable educaiton opportunity.  Please encourage Mr. Luddy to build a high school for these children to matriculate into!  We will absolutely support it!!

Thales High School Possible - Depends on Parents

Thales Academy is the private school equivalent of the Franklin Academy K-12 charter school in W-F.  Mr. Luddy and his staff know how to run a world-class high school as a result. See www.franklinacademy.org

Whether there will be a Thales Academy HS depends entirely on the communities that own them, not Mr. Luddy. Parents need to band together and work with the Thales organization on this, and start a few years ahead of time. 

These are "community schools", by and for the citizens of each communty that starts one.  Think of a not-for-profit franchise and that comes close to the concept.

ANY community can have its own Thales Academy, but don't wait for Mr. Luddy to do this for you. Just as we have done in Apex, it takes a handful of advocates and a year or so of effort to make this happen.  Contact Thales's head office in W-F or me if you'd like to start one in your community, kmisegades@bellsouth.net

 Kent Misegades  Thales Academy Apex Trustees



"We are a very diverse school with all racial and socio economic levels represented."

Please supply the source of your statement as I have not seen any data on those attending the Thales Academy.

It sounds like...

It's coming from personal experience.   

See for yourself

I suggest you contact the schools in Wake Forest or Apex and arrange for a tour. Due to its low tuition of $5,000/year (about half what families pay for annual day care costs) and our scholarship program, Thales is very affordable. But diversity is not the school's objective, high academic standards and achievement are.  First public open house at Thales Apex is Thursday, January 15th, 6-7PM. Come see for yourself then organize your neighbors and build one of your own in your community.  www.thalesacademy.org

I do not need to see for

I do not need to see for myself.
I am fully aware that diversity is not the objective, but the inferred comparison that is being presented that diversity at this private school equates to the diversity at WCPSS needs to be justified or corrected.

Please see my response above

I posted a response to your inquiry at the top of the blog

Diversity is irrelevant to learning

I for one do not believe that a school's ethnic diversity plays an important role in an individual child's learning. What he is taught and how is all that matters. Clearly WCPSS has come to the same conclusion since they refuse to perform an accurate assessment of the true effects their socioeconomic assignment schemes are having on children being bused all around the county.  There is however plenty of hard and anecdotal evidence that it is achieving the opposite effects - just look at the dwindling HS graduation rates and widening achievement gaps as evidence.  Children in the first few years simply are not learning their basic skills, derailing any chance for learning in higher grades or success in their adult lives.  Thales therefore focuses on these basic skills, then builds on them. A child's skin color, ethnic background, native land or language is irrelevant.   Americans are Americans - let's get rid of the hyphens.  But if this is still important to you, visit one of our schools and see for yourself. Or look at the diversity statistics of all NC charter schools:



Diversity is irrelevant to learning


Well said.......

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.