The Center for Popular Democracy is calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools. Their report “Florida Charters fall short on State Assessments was just released. This is a report to which the LWVF contributed. The data indicate:
An employee at the McKeel Academy has been arrested for stealing $100,000 from the charter school. The former Assistant Director for Academy faces seven felony charges relating to her creation of fake companies to hide purchases, travel expenses and other illegal activities.
McKeel Academy’s three charter schools have had other serious management problems. When will the legislature address the charter management oversight issue? These McKeel charter schools have seen problems before. But, then, its board members are in the legislature.
In Florida, charters are generally authorized by local school boards. In some states, charters are authorized by local districts, universities, state boards or even cities. This is part of the continuing struggle over control of public schools. Florida’s legislature has tried to create state charter review boards, but the resistance is strong.
North Carolina has just elected a new governor; will it mean a better direction for public schools? In this article, Jeff Bryant from Alter Net takes on the scramble for cash to fund public schools. A shortage of funding is only part of the puzzle. The impact of charters on the efficiency of funding for schools is looming large. The open enrollment policies states are enacting cause a financial planning crisis for public schools. Not only is it difficult to estimate how many students may shift from one school to another within a district, students now are moving across district lines to charters. Districts have to send tax dollars to charters whose students may come from somewhere else.
The issue gets more complicated as charters managed by out of state private companies grows. Many of these are for-profit companies seeking to expand into lucrative markets. Making money is important to these folks. Bryant cites work done by Pat Hall and Sue Legg of the Florida League of Women Voters to explain were the profits come from. Think real estate. Then Bryant goes on to summarize work by University of North Carolina law professor Tom Kelley who questions the legal and tax implications of these practices.
It is time that we the people take notice. As my colleague Pat Drago says, ‘School Choice is a diversion, not a solution.’
LWVNM Charter School Regulation Position
Adopted by the LWVNM Board, November 12, 2016
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that every student should have access to a high quality, publicly funded education regardless of race, ethnicity, family income, or geographical location. The League believes in accountability, transparency, and equity in the use of public funds for education.
Charter schools are discretionary programs intended to fill unmet needs and/or to test innovative instructional strategies to produce quality educational outcomes. Policy makers must ensure that adequate funds are available for traditional public schools and define how charter schools fill unmet needs. Appropriate instructional and support services must be provided to meet the diverse needs of individual students in both traditional public and charter schools.
Regarding the mission of charter schools, the LWVNM believes the following:
its mission would serve a need the traditional schools cannot;
funds are available;
there is a demonstrated need based on student population projections.
For the sake of assuring accountability and transparency and minimizing the fiscal impact, LWVNM recommends the following:
LWVNM believes that public funding for virtual schools should be less per student since the schools do not require brick and mortar facilities.
For more information about the League’s formal two-year comprehensive Charter School Regulation Study and how this position was determined through research and member consensus, please contact email@example.com. This position will be incorporated into LWVNM’s complete Education position available at http://lwvnm.org/positions.html#education.
Duval County has four single gender charter schools; two for boys and two for girls. Evidently, there are just not enough parents to make them viable. Total enrollment for the four schools is 349 middle and high school students. It is not enough, the schools are $333,000 in debt. Staff cuts are being made and donors are being sought.
Superintendent Vitti doubts the non-profit management company, Profectus Learning Systems, operating the schools can survive. He said that even with cuts in staff, debts are likely to grow. The schools may not be able to provide the required academic programs.
Many people like the idea of small schools. Some children simply do better with more personal attention and less distraction. Others thrive on the diversity and opportunities larger schools provide. Providing an affordable balance is difficult. Similar problems are occurring in other communities where charters and private schools siphon off students from local public schools. Soon, all schools are small and underfunded.
by Carole Hentscel
Subtle and direct violations of law have been documented in charter admissions policies. Empty seats are supposed to be filled by lottery. Yet, which student applications make it into the lottery is frequently questioned. For example, some parents and/or students are required to submit essays. Or, parents may be required to certify they will contribute a certain number of hours or donate money to cover school fees. If all else fails, charters may counsel parents that their child may not fit ‘the mission of the school’ and practice constant suspension for trivial offenses to discourage unwanted children.
In this article released by the ACLU in California, and reported by Education Justice, an expose of wide spread civil rights violations is reported.