Charter vs. public schools: New models or more money?


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  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    April 8, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Charter schools are ok, as long as they are funded by and accountable to the state so we can maintain a fair educational system. The downside of charter schools is the slow disintegration of neighborhood schools and the gradual undermining of community that results.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 8, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    And yet in States where the average per pupil spending far exceeds States like Utah and Idaho, we have not seen anything like the innovation and across the board success taking place in private and charter schools. Why is that?

    The answer is simple – public school monopoly.

    As long as we leave the “your kids attend the school closest to your house” geographic monopoly in place, our children will continue to fall behind the rest of the world.

    Ironically (based on the silly “Left/Right” politics of this debate in our country), many European countries have already figured this out (e.g., Sweden & France) and have moved to a voucher system with very positive results.

    Money of course is a factor, and no question we should fund a voucher program adequately, but based on how competitive vs. monopolistic markets function, a voucher system will likely provide much more bang-for-the-buck than our current system.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    April 8, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    Problem with charter schools: Those students who leave the charter school after a short time are funded at the charter school for the entire year. If they return to public ed, the money still stays with the charter school. Many leave part way through the year because of higher expectations for parent involvement. Many leave part way through the year because they don't meet the behavior expectations of the Charter School.

    Few students are permitted by charter schools to attend charter schools after the school year has begun, so the money flow in the reverse direction is almost none. Public schools must accept everyone -- even those who parents refuse to be involved and those whose behavior is not appropriate.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 8, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    School choice already exists. However, one thing that repubs hate is to actually be held accountable for your choices! I want to go on a vacation to Hawaii instead of Vernal. I demand CHOICE! Should taxpayers then finance my choice to go to Hawaii?

    Same thing here. Want choice? Cool. Then pay for it! Don't ask taxpayers to pay for your private decisions.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 8, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    @ The Real Maverick – “Should taxpayers then finance my choice to go to Hawaii?”

    What an amazingly poor analogy…

    First – educating our children is one of the few things all people agree is a (maybe “the”) necessary component of a civil, not to mention prosperous society.

    Second – the evidence for this fact is that virtually every State constitution in the country asserts this as one of the primary purposes of State/Local government.

    Finally – for the poor and many middle class there is no choice since they are effectively priced out of the private education market. And even for those who can afford it, they are essentially paying for their child’s education twice – first through property taxes that only support public schools, and second every time they write a check (using after-tax income) to pay the private school tuition.

    This system is undeniably monopolistic and perhaps even crazy, but it is most certainly not a system built on choice.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    April 8, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    The tax payers need to see how much money is spent on charter schools vs. public schools. Sadly that bill didn't make it out of committee this year. And the swing votes spouse worked at a charter school. Interesting.

    Come on Utah, charter schools are bleeding the state education system dry. More money is going to buildings, utilites and administration with little up side. This money could be used for students in the public schools. If you want your kid to have a private school experience, then pay for it.

    We should also look in to how many legislators have money invested in charter school buildings. I think the number would shock many.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    April 9, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    Putting our son into a Charter School was the BEST educational decision that my wife and I made for our son, bar none. I got a distasteful lesson in civics when I realized that the public school district used "constructivist new math". My wife (math major and instructor at local college) and I (physics major) spoke to the elementary ed curriculum coordinator to explain why "Math Investigations" is an inadequate elementary math curriculum for future engineers and scientists. We showed her peer reviewed studies from the US Department of Education showing her math curricula put kids 9 percentage points on standardized tests behind other traditional curricula. She wouldn't even look at the paper.

    "Public servants" are right because they say they are right, and they are the experts so you MUST trust what they say. The principal at the charter school said, "Oh, so that is why all the kids coming from the public school don't know fractions or how to multiply."

    Between the studies I've seen and my personal experience, Charter Schools are a lifeline out of academic mediocrity. Shame on "Educators" more concerned with their paycheck than the real education of children.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    April 9, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    "The Real Maverick"

    "However, one thing that repubs hate is to actually be held accountable for your choices!"

    I believe I should be held accountable for my choices, but that I should not be held accountable for your choices.

    "I want to go on a vacation to Hawaii instead of Vernal. I demand CHOICE! Should taxpayers then finance my choice to go to Hawaii?"

    This is a bizarre analogy. Does the government pay for your vacation to Vernal? If not, then your analogy fails. A truer analogy is that somehow in order to do business you have to travel to LA. You are given two options. One is to take Amtrak. Slow, always asking for more government subsidies and government run. Or take Southwest, which offers more options and is faster. If they don't provide a good service, then they go out of business. If the primary concern is cost, if the cost is roughly the same, then why should it matter to the person paying for the trip which option is used? A superior product is a superior product. Corporations have to compete, GOVERNMENT ALWAYS DEMANDS MORE MONEY and never has to show results.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    April 9, 2013 11:08 p.m.

    Education is not a school. Education is a semi-complex system that involves the student, parents, teachers and school. If any of those components are lacking it adversely affects student performance.

    You can have a high expectation, high parental involvement area like Utah that does more with less but if you counted all the time the parents are involved you would see the cost is the same as where they have to pay aides and additional teachers to make up for lack of parental involvement.

    And where a child is unmotivated and frustrated with learning there is additional cost of time and skill whether it's paid for in money or volunteerism. It's all basically the same of education = what we put into it.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 10, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    The advantage of charter schools is that teachers answer to the parents. District officials in my experience ignore parent concerns. I asked my district officials to offer a non dumbed down honors level mathematics such as used to be prevalent in Utah schools once again. They ignored me.

    The advantage of neighborhood schools is they are close by.

    Why not combine the two advantages. Make neighborhood schools into charter schools. This will decrease costs and increase school responsiveness to parental concerns.

  • KFox Boston, MA
    April 10, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    There is no silver bullet to education, but as the article mentions, one of the things that charter schools are doing well is adding more time.

    And more time is something that doesn't need to be limited to charter schools. Over 1,000 schools in the country including public, charter and private, have expanded learning time. Especially for low income areas where students don't necessarily have the after school activities or a safe/supervised home environment.

    There are a lot of moving parts in education. We have been keeping time as a constant at 180 days a year for 6.5 hours a day on average. Let's be flexible and use time as a resource to close the achievement gap. It is worth the cost. www.timetosucceed.com