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Reports offer different perspectives on charter schools

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North Carolina charter schools made the news last week with a pair of reports with vastly different viewpoints.

A report from the John Locke Foundation, a conservative Raleigh think tank, said that 150 traditional schools across the state would be forced to close if the State Board of Education extended new charter school performance standards to all public schools. In the Wake County school system, that would include three regular schools and one alternative school.

The Locke Foundation argues that it's unfair to hold charter schools to stricter standards than traditional public schools. New standards for charter schools say they can be shut down if for two of three consecutive years they don't meet or exceed 'expected growth' in test scores and have an overall performance composite score of less than 60 percent.

On the flip side of the Locke Foundation report, is one from a liberal group that's critical of charter schools.

The report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA "found that charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and possibly language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country."

The UCLA report called charter schools "a civil rights failure."

While the pattern wasn't as severe as in the Midwest, the report found that charter schools in North Carolina and the Triangle are more racially stratified than traditional public schools.

Schools like Raleigh Charter High and Magellan Charter have far lower percentages of minority students than the Wake school system. Charters like Hope Elementary and Torchlight Academy have far higher percentages of minority students than the Wake school system.

In the middle of all this is a new Wake County school board majority that's more sympathetic toward charter schools than its predecessors.

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Try this one on for size

You know, I am unhappy with the way my local fire department provides protection for my home. I would like to join together with other citizens of a like mind and petition the government to form a charter fire department. We will create a fire station and we will allow anyone who wants to join to be part of our new fire department, but when we fill up we will only admit new members on a lottery basis. We want to be free of a lot of the rules and red tape that fire departments usually go through. Oh, and we will need you to pay us the equivalent amount that is normally budgeted for each citizen in our charter fire department to pay for our protection, and yes, we understand that money comes out of the budget of the other local and county fire departments, but this is how we choose to protect our homes from fire. We are simply voting with our feet and choosing how our tax dollars are spent. If our charter fire department does well, then the municipal and county fire departments will logically get better to keep up because this is the free market at work.

Or better yet, I am also unhappy with the police protection at my home. My house has been broken into before and the crime rate in my town is simply too high. Therefore I want the government to give me a voucher to pay for private security for my home. Private security obviously does a better job than local police in protecting my home, so I want the freedom to spend my tax dollars how I want. So what if it comes from the local police department budget - it's my money and I want to spend it how I want, because the local police are failing. And if enough people leave, the local police will have to get better to match the private security force.

And yet, this is what people choose to believe about schools.

Your flawed analogy

Your flawed analogy concludes with "the local police will have to get better to match the private security force." That is not the case, the local police force does not have an incentive to get better to match private offerings because their continued funding does not depend on providing high quality services. Charter schools, on the other hand, do. If they do not provide educational services of sufficient quality, parents will stop applying for their childs enrollment in them.

Your hypothesis is that

Your hypothesis is that differentiators should not be allowed and everyone subscribe to the same set of services. That can be applied to many other facets of life from healthcare to transportation to employment. Why stop at ruining only education.

No, that's not my hypothesis at all

What I am saying is that if you want to hire private security or contract for additional fire protection, you are free to do so at your own expense.  But when it comes to schools, there is this notion that the government should give an allocation to taxpayers to pay for private education when it would never be considered in any other aspect of public services.

If the police and

If the police and firefighters took their own sweet time to arrive and render assistance, I bet you would be doing a whole lot more than just blogging. Similarly, there is no reason why the delivery of educational services cannot be modeled and executed to a better standard.

How does this differ from magnet schools

Those of us who are deprived of getting into a magnet school feel the same way too about magnet schools being free private schools for the ITB neighborhood.

All the folks I know who go

All the folks I know who go to magnets live OTB ?? Are they just unusual?

There are lots of middle

There are lots of middle class base students at those ITB magnets and I know several people who live ITB who send their kids to magnets. 

Jenman ... looking at Enloe

Jenman ... looking at Enloe a magnet school, 80% of the kids live more than 5 miles from the school which puts them OTB ... ITB is a very small part of Wake ... I don't know why people envy them so much ...

 

...http://www.wcpss.net/demographics/distance/images_h06/high06_distance_tables.pdf#page=10

Enloe is only one of the ITB

Enloe is only one of the ITB magnet schools.   Joyner, Daniels, Broughton, Underwood, Wiley, Martin, Conn, Combs, & Centennial all have middle to upper income base nodes.  Just outside of the beltline, Brooks & Douglas also have middle to upper income base nodes.

 

Who gets schooled at these

Who gets schooled at these well endowed schools doesn't change the fact they are in ITB neighborhoods. Further, going by your observation on Rolesville wanting a HS, it can be deduced that you are not opposed to WW putting an end to ITB schools monopolizing resources.

Why the ITB envy?  There

"Who gets schooled at these well endowed schools doesn't change the fact they are in ITB neighborhoods"

Why the ITB envy?  There are not that many kids from ITB families ... most of the magnets seem to be filled with OTB families which makes sense since that is where most of the kids in Wake live.  It is amazing all the ways people  find to hate other .... by skin color, sexual preference, political leaning and now which side of a highway a person lives on ... really sad ...

...

What is sad is that education has been neglected while social engineering has thrived. What is even more sad is that people find more time to define the divisiveness and lament about the sorry state of affairs than focus on a unifying goal. For a school system, the unifying goal is education. Not social engineering.

You haven't answered as to why WW shouldn't cut funding to ITB based on
your Rolesville logic.

Red you are messed up

Red you are messed up ...

"For a school system, the unifying goal is education. Not social engineering. "

The schools goal should be performance and educating all children.  Part of that process is avoiding schools with high concentration of poor kids ... I am not sure why you think that is "social engineering"  that is just good business sense ... it costs more to have high concentrations of poverty in money, performance and teacher attrition.

"You haven't answered as to why WW shouldn't cut funding to ITB based on our Rolesville logic"

Again, messed up ... why all the "us vs. them"? why the hatred against ITB?  Why not increase funding to all the places that need it?   ITB funding should be based on the needs of those schools and those students ... Roleville schools placement should be where it benefits WCPSS and Wake taxpayers .....

I think you could think through these problems more clearly if you did not always gravitate to "us vs. them",black vs. white, or ITB vs. OTB .....

 

I can't help it if you want

I can't help it if you want to picture everything in terms of hate. If that emotion is common in your experiences, you should really reach out to the other side and build bridges to a solution. As for parents like me, I wish you would find another petri dish for your social engineering goals. Messing up an entire education system for thousands of kids simply because you and others like you lack the ability to educate poor kids is a crying shame.

What's sad is

What's sad is how Wake County pick and choose who gets to go to magnets, and who has to deal with basic education.

What's sad is how Wake

What's sad is how Wake County pick and choose who gets to go to magnets, and who has to deal with basic education.

Mom ... why would you envy the magnets schools ... they have some of the lowerst ratings in the county ... all the schools of distinction and excellence are non-magnets OTB ...

School Name Magnet Program NC ABC Results Performance Recognition
 2007-08
Brooks Elementary Museums School of Progress
Broughton High International Baccalaureate No Recognition
Bugg Elementary Creative Arts & Science Priority School
Carnage Middle Gifted & Talented (AG Basics) School of Progress
Combs Elementary Leadership School of Progress
Conn Elementary Active Learning and Technology Priority School
Daniels Middle IB Middle Years Programme School of Progress
Douglas Elementary Creative Arts & Science School of Progress
East Garner Middle IB Middle Years Programme Priority School
East Millbrook Middle Creative Arts & Science/IB MYP Priority School
Enloe High GT/IB Center for Humanities, Sciences & the Arts No Recognition
Farmington Woods Elementary IB Primary Years Programme School of Progress
Fuller Elementary Gifted & Talented (AG Basics) School of Progress
Garner High  International Baccalaureate No Recognition
Hunter Elementary Gifted & Talented (AG Basics) School of Progress
Joyner Elementary Center for Spanish Language/IB PYP School of Progress
Ligon Middle Gifted & Talented (AG Basics) School of Progress
Martin Middle Gifted & Talented School of Progress
Millbrook Elementary IB Primary Years Programme School of Progress
Moore Square Middle Museums Priority School
Poe Elementary Montessori Priority School
Powell Elementary Gifted & Talented School of Progress
Southeast Raleigh High Center for Leadership and Technology No Recognition
Underwood Elementary Gifted & Talented School of Progress
Wake Early College of Health and Science Early College No Recognition
Washington Elementary Gifted & Talented School of Progress
Wendell Elementary Gifted & Talented Priority School
Wiley Elementary International Studies School of Progress
Zebulon Elementary Gifted & Talented School of Progress
Zebulon Middle Gifted & Talented Priority School

You just don't get it

Parents of AG kids don't look at the ratings, we look at how the robust electives offered at these elite schools will challenge our kids.  If you're happy with your school's offerings then so be it, stop bugging us.

user!!!!!!!  Why do you

user!!!!!!!

 Why do you keep throwing out these "whole" school numbers?  Who do you think you are fooling!  Hasn't it been established time and again that the magnets are two schools? 

I know you are smart enough to get that.  Why then do you keep trying these same old tricks?

shearetw: Unfortunately, it

shearetw: Unfortunately, it works. That's how I got suckered i.e., by looking at the WCPSS statistics. : (

As for user1-5, I too would like to know why he acts like a bot doing a plug for WEP/ WCPSS.

So, you are envious of a

So, you are envious of a school on the other side of town which has been judged by the state to be on the lowest rung because there is a single class of AG students getting an elective like band your child is not getting ... sad

Its like 2 steps forward, 20

Its like 2 steps forward, 20 steps back with you.  Why must you throw out crap like this instead of making legitmate arguments and having meaningful dialogue?  And your argument isn't even correct--at least make a real argument and not hyperbole.

 

I'm with loriac--I don't

I'm with loriac--I don't look at those designations or at the scores.  You've already said that you don't either so I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up.  I've asked you this before and you've mentioned that some people do look at this or that you're just trying to find a way to compare schools.  Unless you're responding to a person who is actually using scores as a way to determine a school's worth than this argument is pointless.

You said elsewhere that you're happy that your church friends' kids who are interested in arts are able to thrive at Enloe.  I agree.  But how do you reconcile that with your dismissal of the quality of arts courses at magnets.  

"You said elsewhere that

"You said elsewhere that you're happy that your church friends' kids who are interested in arts are able to thrive at Enloe.  I agree.  But how do you reconcile that with your dismissal of the quality of arts courses at magnets."

Hey it is public issued education ... you really can not expect much from anything public (reason people go private) ... all the government needs to do is meet minimal standards ... so I am excited when ever they do better like at Enloe and look for opportunities to grow the success not move it around to another school .... I would love all kids to have a great arts program from E to HS but I would start first by making sure they all can read, write  and do math first and than worry about art, dance and drama ...

I would love all kids to

I would love all kids to have a great arts program from E to HS but I
would start first by making sure they all can read, write  and do math
first and than worry about art, dance and drama ...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I agree that being able to read, write and do math is most important, but  I believe that the arts are an integral part of a good education.  For example, music is very much linked with math. And for some kids, the arts and other electives is the thing that saves them in school. 

That's a legitimate question

That's a legitimate question for one unacquainted with WCPSS. To anyone outside of Wake county reading your post:

i) WCPSS magnets appear worse at the aggregate level because these are partial site magnets where the better half is pulled down by the neglected half. In other words, there is segregation based upon race/ SES and opportunities. Incidentally, this dichotomy in performance is not uncommon to partial site magnets.

ii) WCPSS non-magnets appear to do better but the reality is that the standard is so low that top notch performance in these non-magnets will amount to nothing much if you want your ward to gain a quality education and be able to compete outside of WCPSS.

Two schools...

I suspect the performance at many of those schools is driven down by the base students.  I pulled Conn Elementary as an example -- the EOG passing rate for ED students is only 32.3%.  Poe is even worse, at 27.4%. 

Now, there are probably some NED students among the base students or vice-versa, so that doesn't tell you the whole story.  But, it could easily be that those schools do a great job with magnet students and a lousy job with others.  We have a friend whose magnet students at Powell are thriving.  If they weren't, those kids would be pulled in an instant.

 

These are interesting, but I

These are interesting, but I never look at those.  As you pointed out, LRMS has some of the highest scores - but they have ZERO electives.

 

How my son does has no relation to these performance results above - those are for the administrators.  However - I do know that IF my son went to LRMS, he would have far fewer opportunities than the kids at magnets.  Why is that fair? 

"How my son does has no

"How my son does has no relation to these performance results above - those are for the administrators.  However - I do know that IF my son went to LRMS, he would have far fewer opportunities than the kids at magnets.  Why is that fair? 

Personally, it would take a lot of electives to pry me out of suburbia to travel downtown  ... it is just too far for me to want to go ... now if they had a track record of sending all their kids to the top colleges, I would drive across the county (26 miles) to get that kind of education .... but I just don't see what is to envy about magnets ... they have some good stuff but not enough for me ... I think the emphasis should not be about destroy the magnet program but building up the non-magnets ... ulitimately, we may need something extra to fill under capacity schools but I just don't see that as a big deal ...

Personally, it would take a

Personally, it would take a lot of electives to pry me out of suburbia
to travel downtown  ... it is just too far for me to want to go ... now
if they had a track record of sending all their kids to the top
colleges, I would drive across the county (26 miles) to get that kind
of education .... but I just don't see what is to envy about magnets
... they have some good stuff but not enough for me .

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

You are entitled to that opinion--it is a perfectly valid one.  But can you not see the validity of the opinion that you reject?  It sounds like you do not value the arts as much as I do and I don't value a school that sends all  its kids to the top colleges as much as you do.  That's ok in my world and I feel no need to denigrate your views.  Why do you feel the need to denigrate mine?

" It sounds like you do not

" It sounds like you do not value the arts as much as I do and I don't value a school that sends all  its kids to the top colleges as much as you do.  That's ok in my world and I feel no need to denigrate your views.  Why do you feel the need to denigrate mine? "

I love the arts and they make up a big part of my kids' lives ... I just never expected public school to fill that void ... I would love to have great art programs at all schools but taxpayers have said that is not important and driven for the lowest cost per student that still meets minimal legal requirements ... that is the thing that needs to be changed ... not raiding other schools for things you want but expanding the offerings for all schools ....

... now if they had a track

... now if they
had a track record of sending all their kids to the top colleges, I
would drive across the county (26 miles) to get that kind of education
....

You must be kidding. I bet you would want to compare pay stubs than college rankings. Or have you changed your position about the importance of going to a good college regardless of payoff?

but I just don't see what is to envy about magnets ...

It speaks volumes for WCPSS "excellence" that you speak thus of the only schools endowed with additional resources.

... ulitimately, we may need something extra to fill under capacity
schools but I just don't see that as a big deal ...

Nor do I. But if that "something" includes denial of resources to non-magnets, one would have to be a member of the diversity or magnet parade to state it's not a big deal.

" But if that "something"

" But if that "something" includes denial of resources to non-magnets, one would have to be a member of the diversity or magnet parade to state it's not a big deal. "

Well if that is your beef that your local school has been denied teaching Chinese than work on that problem ...

Chinese? I am sure mocking

Chinese? I am sure mocking the other side will earn support for your cause.

This would involve

This would involve overhauling the current magnet system. 

And ending the magnet

And ending the magnet program is not an overhaul?

Its not "magnet envy", its

Its not "magnet envy", its "we're sick of sending extra resources to a select few while the rest of us are not even allowed to improve our own local schools". 

How much more resources

How much more resources would your OTB school get if we closed Poe?  A couple of pencils and a ream of paper ... come on ...

I have contributed more than

I have contributed more than that and will step it up if the non-magnets are allowed to offer electives.

Mom ... not sure why the

Mom ... not sure why the magnet envy ... public education is not all the good in the first place and magnet education is not a huge step up in my opinion ... it seems you are fighting over the scraps ... a few extra music classes, etc. don't define an education ....

Middle school magnets

Middle school magnets differentiate all 4 core subjects, have math competitiions and other academically challenging electives.  Only parents of AG kids will understand how all this will make a difference in their kids' life.  If you're sending your kids just for basic education, you're welcome to be happy about it.  Let us fight our fight.

This gets better. So if the

This gets better. So if the magnets are being dissed thus, I wonder how you would excoriate the non-magnets.

It's easier to ignore

It's easier to ignore education and instead magnify differences, real and imagined. Without panicking the masses, zealots find a support base elusive.

Actually...

What?  There are lots of examples. Consider Medicare and Food Stamps.  How about transportation or rent vouchers for the poor and elderly that some municipalities have?  In lots of places, special education is done with direct grants to the parents. 

Most of the examples that you're thinking of are true only because they're public goods and not really capable of being privatized.

What is the difference between RHS and a private school?

None, other than the fact that the taxpayer pays. This is my personal dilemma with charter schools... they have the trappings of private schools, without any of the baggage of public schools.

Uh....

Uh....  Lots.  First of all, Private schools get to decide who they'll  accept, and can do on practically any basis that they want.  Charters have to accept people by lottery and can only impose a very small set of restrictions, all of which have to be approved by the state.

Private schools can offer whatever curriculum they want.  Charter schools have to go by the NCSCOS.

Charter schools have to stay within the bounds of their state-granted charter.  Privates have no such restriction.

Private schools can charge whatever tuition they want.  Charter schools have to make do with the $5,000 or so that the state gives them per student.

I suggest that if you're worried about the 'trappings of private schools,' look at the magnet schools.

Bob ... why aren't charters

Bob ... why aren't charters playing a role in educating the other 95% of the kids ....they "cherry pick the cream" (except for Torchlight which are less common) who would do the same as if they attended public school  ... do you think given the same kids they would do any better? ... that is the real test ... until charter schools are given the same starting material and do better with it they don't have much value  ...

they "cherry pick the

they "cherry pick the cream" (except for Torchlight which are less
common) who would do the same as if they attended public school  ... do
you think given the same kids they would do any better?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't agree that all the kids would be doing well in public school.  They probably would not be failing in public school, but some parents choose charters because their children are falling through the cracks in WCPSS.  THey aren't the super motivated, high achieving AG types, they aren't failing and they aren't behavior problems, so they often don't receive enough attention or push to strive for more.  

Huh?

So, first of all, I don't know what you're referring to by your 95% number.  Charter capacities are capped, so they cannot physically serve more than a few percent of the students at any one time.

Have you looked at the Wake County charters?  I don't think East Wake Academy is going after the same students as RCHS, nor is Casa Eseranza or Sterling Montessori.   They all have different missions. 

 

What is the difference between RHS and a private school?

None, other than the fact that the taxpayer pays. This is my personal dilemma with charter schools... they have the trappings of private schools, without any of the baggage of public schools.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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