Charter School Bubble to Burst?

hands-982121_1280Are charter schools an emotional response by inner city low income families to long standing state funding inequities?  A University of Virginia Law Review article  addresses concerns that school funding inequities in Black urban areas lead to a tolerance of unfettered growth in charter schools. 

The federal government support for charters also feeds the expansion without sufficient regulation.  The net result may be a bubble and crash much like the recent financial crisis.  What should be done to avoid a cataclysmic fall that could destroy communities?

Mother Jones summarizes the three practices that lead to serious mismanagement.  I add a summary of the status Florida’s legislation to address these concerns.

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Charter ‘Got to Go’ Lists in New York Success Schools

http://www.prwatch.org/files/new_charter_school_black_hole_report_oct_21_2015.pdf

Since expelling students is difficult in New York City, Success charters drive parents to withdraw their children.  The suspension rates are reported to be between 4 and 23 percent at least once.  Most schools suspend at least ten percent while public schools have a three percent suspension rate within a school year.  Suspensions start as early as kindergarten.

The charters use other strategies to encourage some parents to withdraw children who find it difficult to adapt to rigid rules.  Schools repeatedly call parents  to pick up their children early.  They may be counseled that the school is not a ‘good fit’ for their child.  Staff may tell parents that students needed special education that the school could not provide.  Some schools use 911 calls as a threat for children who misbehaves.  One mother whose child was on the list said she did not know about it.  She said, “He doesn’t hit kids, he doesn’t  knock kids over, he doesn’t scream, he just talks too much.”

This whole notion that parents should be able to choose schools that ‘fit their children’ has serious consequences.  The whole idea of a school where some children do not belong does not sound like a ‘public’ school.  When schools become exclusionary communities, the sense of community is lost.  With that loss, the problem is not contained just in a school.

 

Failure Factories: The Children Tell Their Stories

whistle-149678_1280The latest feature on the Pinellas County Schools neglect of low-income minority schools lets the children tell their stories.  Anyone who thinks that these children do not know better and can not do better should listen carefully to what these children say.  Promises for help from the district were not kept.  Teachers gave up.  

What will be done to fix a problem the district helped create.  Charters are not to blame; they are nowhere near.

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Schools Within School: Approaches to Discipline

whistle-149678_1280No excuses discipline policies create as many problems as they solve.  Students are suspended, hit the streets and create more trouble.  When they return to school, it is a downward cycle.

School districts are adopting new strategies for managing bad behavior management strategies.  Just as in law enforcement, schools are reevaluating who is being targeted and why.

The Miami Herald reports that a new approach to discipline in Miami-Dade schools will require extensive retraining and a massive culture change.  The district has 36,000 suspensions.  They have taken a multi-pronged strategy.

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