Almost every study shows a similar conclusion... that charter schools give
substantially more bank for the buck and with its students learn much more
quickly... especially compared to inner city public schools.It's both sad and pathetic that the Obama administration is still denying
the reality of the situation and fighting against charter schools and allowing
student vouchers. There is no longer any doubt that Obama is putting
his allegiance to teachers unions ahead of the best interest of students.
That's the one of the evils of accepting campaign funds from special
I think we are comparing oranges to apples here. Charter schools benefit from
the same characteristic that private schools do, involved (and usually wealthier
and more educated) parents who care about their child's education. Studies
show that students from the same socio-economic environment will succeed equally
well in any kind of school, be it public, private, or charter.
Public schools are required to accept every child that applies, regardless of
his or her culture, legal status or ability, because we believe in universal
education. Because of this, public school teachers face large classes with a
wide spectrum and variety of kids. It's difficult to customize an
educational plan for each individual student. That's why parents are so
incredibly important. On the other hand, students benefit from
this wide variety of kids and cultures and develop social and coping skills that
will benefit them throughout the rest of their lives. Strangely enough, some
studies show that if public schools were allowed to force (gasp!) their students
to wear uniforms (as private and some charter schools do), their scores would
rise significantly and violence and bullying would drop.
This study fails to account for parent initiative. The study says it controls
for social economic issues, but it takes a specially motivated poor parent to
jump through all the hoops to get their students in a charter school. In some
locations, it takes years to get into one of the elite charters. You fail then
to compare apples and oranges. Poor parent A who is actually goes
through the hoops to get their student in a charter school is a much more
engaged parent than poor parent B who doesn't go through the hoops. Parent A likely interacts with their child and has different standards
at home than parent B. This study could very well be measuring the impact of
engaged parents more than anything.
Sociological studies and test effectiveness are very complex and involve many
variables that are easy to manipulate. Until more research is conducted it is
way too early to allow just one study to be a basis for any drastic policy
changes. Statistics can be a very sticky thing. It will take years to
establish and confirm the validity of any simple statements regarding Charter
Schools. In the meantime, students and parents will just have to make their own
informed decisions on less than reliable information.
Public schools have been spared the realities of economics for too long and
studies like this are a welcome addition in the fact & evidence based effort
to reform our education system. That both the Gates Foundation and
the Obama Administration are generally supportive of reform efforts should tell
us everything we need to know about this glaringly obvious problem, something
that both France and Sweden (hardly hotbeds of right-wing ideology) figured out
more than a decade ago (i.e., they both have voucher systems).And
I'm sorry, but it is insane to spend three times as much (or more) per
pupil on special needs kids than on everyone else. There are tradeoffs to every
economic decision in life and faced with this reality other kids (especially low
income high achievers) are being short changed.
I am OK with school choice, but let's tell the whole story. If public
neighborhood schools were allowed to be as selective as charters as far as who
gets in, limit class size to reasonable numbers, and demand parent involvement,
you would naturally see even better results than what public schools remarkably
do now. Public neighborhood schools accept all students of all ability levels
and provide an excellent education regardless of what kind of support they have
at home. That is a pretty high return for society as a whole.
I've done research on this matter as well. Charters do get more money than
people realize (at least in Utah), especially at start-up and now with property
tax revenue sharing with local school districts (according the White Report). In
Utah charters were shown to not be on par with traditional public schools with 2
of 5 charters performing worse, 2 of 5 performing on par, and only 1 of 5
performing better (2 of 5 public schools perform better than charters).
Services offered need to also be considered. Charters may provide more bang for
the buck for your most basic education, but if the public expects more choices
offered to students such as sports programs, class offerings, special ed.
support, hot school lunches, etc, then the prices rise considerably and is why
public schools require more money. Charters tend to offer more of your basic
services because they cannot take federal dollars. For instance, they
aren't required to provide resource support to students because that is
federally mandated if you take federal money. Like I always say, the Devil is
in the details and this article really didn't get down to the nitty gritty.
Charter schools do take federal monies, and they are required to provide for
special needs students. They are not exempt from any of the requirement
regarding special education. Charter schools receive federal money for special
education, and federal money for at-risk children through Title 1. We also
receive federal funds for English language acquisition if we have a high
population of ESL students.
It should be noted that chartered public schools in Utah cannot select students.
They, like other public schools must take all comers. As for demographics of
charter students - they are not all white, rich kids. Go into any charter
school in West Valley. Go into any charter school in New Orleans. The NO
public school system was decimated by Katrina. Most of the damage was in the
9th Ward which remains a very poor area in NO. Charter schools were started
because they could get up and running faster and they have done such a good job
with challenging students that there has been no rush to rebuild the traditional
public school system. That is why nearly half the students are in charter
schools in the New Orleans area. Contrary to many commenters here, poor people
care about their kids and want a better life for them. They get involved in
their kids lives and they get involved in their charter schools. Parents feel
welcome and invited to participate in charter schools and people listen to them.
Try to talk to your district school board. You will get two minutes at the
begninng of a meeting and then summarily ignored.
@Carolyn SharetteYes, it is true that charter schools are required to meet
the special education needs of the students that are in their school. But with
that said, I have worked at charter schools and they are not required to take
students with special needs that are beyond the ability of the schools to meet.
I worked in a charter school in Utah that was designed to develop
students interest in biotechnology. When parents of children with moderate to
severe autism, the counselors and principal simply told the parents that they
could not accommodate their specific disabilities and they were turned away. Charter schools are not required to take students with special needs.
Schools that are a part of the public school system, as opposed to the Public
charter schools of choice, ARE required to take ALL students that live within
the boundaries of their geographic area, as defined by the state and the
district.The difference between regular public schools and charter
public schools is mainly one of choice. So my question is...if public schools
are done away with, as many libertarians and right-winged republicans would
like, what will happen to those that have special needs?
The problem I have with articles like this, is that the headline and 1st three
paragraphs (the part of the article that is usually read by most people), they
don't really inform the reader of the balancing views, such as that this
"research article" was not peer reviewed, nor that the research was
funded by the Walton Family foundation, which is a big financial supporter of
charter school start-up.When it is said that the article is not
peer-reviewed, that means that no one other than the publisher (read: Walton
Family Foundation supporter of charter schools) is checking their methods of
accounting for their comparison between regular public schools and charter
public school, as is alluded to in the article as follows, "Nonetheless, the
authors argue, this new study does control for both student poverty levels and
special education enrollment, removing both from the equations."The big question of whether the study actually does completely control for
both variables, is not addressed in the article. This is lazy journalism and it
could be suggested that this article is really just a charter school
By the way, I don't have a problem with Charter schools. I believe they
play an important role in our society today, I don't want to do away with
charter schools or private schools. But there are a number of individuals that
have political and financial power, that do want to do away with public
education, even if they don't actually say it on the record. The scary
thing to me, is that they continually promote charter and private schools over
regular public schools, and they continually promote bills that would spend
public monies for private schools, even though the public has consistently voted
Public schools in Utah are a great bargain. We get average or above average
results with just over half the average investment per student. That must be
one of the most cost effective systems in the country.
Verbatim quote from the study:This work was made possible by a
research grant fromthe Walton Family Foundation. We thank them fortheir support and acknowledge that the content ofthe report is entirely
the responsibility of the researchteam and does not necessarily reflect
the positions ofthe Foundation or the University of Arkansas.Does not necessarily reflect the positions of the Foundation?The
Walton Family Foundation supports Charter Schools.The study promotes
Charter Schools.How is my comment off topic or disruptive?
Carolyn:Charters have lotteries. My daughter won the lottery, my
son did not. My son had special needs so I hope that was not part of that
equation. But even if it wasn't a factor, a lottery is a lottery. Public
schools have to accept ALL students in their boundaries. Charters, because of
these lotteries, are exclusionary. With that said, everything you say Carolyn
must be taken with a grain of salt.
Howard I am not sure what you mean about the lotteries. If we select out 25
students via a lottery for the seats we have open, because a lottery is by
definition random, over time our numbers of special needs students should be
pretty close to the public schools around us. We have found this to be the case
in actuality. We have very close to the same percentage of special needs kids
at our schools as do the public schools that surround us (which you would expect
using a random drawing for admission). A lottery does not create an
exclusionary school - in fact, it prevents them.You have implied
many times on these boards that your daughter's charter purposely did not
accept your son. If you believed that to be true, you could have called the
USOE and they would have done an investigation and if they found a charter was
doing that, they would require them to enroll the student.Charter
schools are not allowed to turn any student away because of a disability. I
don't know any that do. If a parent believes this has happened, they
should contact the USOE.
@bill in afI just wanted to point out that you said charters can be
selective on who gets in. Other than Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming and
Wisconsin, all other states (Utah included) have laws that require charters to
admit students based on a lottery system. All who apply have an equal chance.
These were setup so that charter's couldn't be selective.
To "Monsieur le prof" you are wrong, at least about the charter schools
in Utah. I have seen the families that send their kids to charter schools, and
they are not just rich parents. The schools have lotteries, so they cannot pick
and choose the families that go there without violating state law and losing
their charter.What I have seen at the charter schools is that they
attract the parents that care about their child's education, regardless of
income level. That is a large reason why they do better. In the charter
schools I have visited, they have more special needs kids there because the
parents care and don't want their kids treated well.
Redshirt 1701You are 33% correct. The correct part charter schools
do have parents that are more involved in their children's education. You
are incorrect in your assertion that charter schools score better than
traditional public schools, and you are incorrect in your assertion that charter
schools have more special needs students than do neighborhood schools. Yes
charter schools specific to special needs such as autism have more special needs
students. But a regular charter school, no not true. Carolyn so am
I to understand that ALL charter schools must take ALL special needs students
regardless of the disability and the amount of care that individual student may
require? Am I to understand that by law they must provide the exact same
services to those children that a traditional public school must provide? There
are individual students in my school that require a multiple adults full time
for individual children, as well as specialists that come in and provide these
students services. Those same laws are in place for charter schools?
“We have very close to the same percentage of special needs kids at our
schools as do the public schools that surround us”Respectfully—that statement really needs some differentiation. As you
are aware, there are several classifications for special needs students. What is
the number of severe/profound students that are served by your schools? That is
where the funding issue is a real data changer.For example, at my
traditional public school, we have two separate programs serving 22 wonderful
students who are classified as severe/profound. We have two full and four part
time teachers and four full time aides for those programs. Last year, three of
the students required their own full time aide. These two programs are amazing
but are extremely expensive. Yes, federal funding of about 21% helps, but the
rest comes from regular sources. “Charter schools are not
allowed to turn any student away because of a disability. I don't know any
that do.”The four charter schools surrounding my school have
special education programs for students who are classified as mild/moderate
only. They are not spending the huge amounts of money to provide an education
for those who require the most funding.
Seems to me if you send your child to a charter school you are serious about
them having a good education. If they do not do well in the charter school you
will take them out and send them elsewhere.
Carolyn:I sincerely appreciate your concern. However, my son ended
up going to a public school elementary where he did well. My daughter also did
just fine at the charter, I have no complaints about her education there. My
only point was that there was a selection process. We could have got our son in
the charter in the second year my daughter attended but since he had a great
experience at his public school, we continued there. I also had my daughter and
son in a private school, again daughter did well and the school loved her, we
were asked to take son out of same private school in about three weeks. So much
for the wonders of private education. If you fit in the box, it's
great.So my point is this, only public schools have to accept all
their students. Yes, you throw out some data but as long as charters have
lotteries or selection process, this means they are not open to all.
Carolyn I would respectfully ask as a tax payer for you to disclose the amount
of money which you are receiving as an administrator of multiple charter
schools. I find it interesting that your compensation is not available on any
website. Could you please put this to rest and reveal your compensation package
please? Thank you from a concerned tax payer.