Seven new charter schools on their way. Is this a good thing?

The Georgia Charter Schools Commission – the body empowered by the Legislature to overrule local school boards and approve charter schools – gave its blessing to seven new schools, according to the AJC.

That pushes the total of state commission approved charter schools to nine. (Whether the state can legally approve charters and apportion them local monies – by a legislative sleight of hand – will be thrashed out in a pending lawsuit by miffed school districts. If the local systems win in court, it will be interesting to see what happens to these state approved charters if and when their local money disappears.)

However, the commission denied 21 other petitioners because their applications failed to meet standards, present a viable academic plan or because commissioners worried there was insufficient expertise or community support for the school.

The latest approvals went to: Atlanta Heights Charter School, which would draw Atlanta Public Schools; Peachtree Hope Charter School in DeKalb County; Fulton Leadership Academy; Coweta Charter Academy at Senoia; The Museum School of Avondale Estates; Heron Bay Academy, which would draw students from Henry and Griffin-Spaulding school districts; and Pataula Charter Academy, which would attract students in Calhoun, Clay, Early, Randolph and Baker counties.

While in Atlanta today, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for more charter schools, but cautioned that the schools should only be approved if they meet a high bar, saying, “Good charters are part of the answer. Bad charters are part of the problem.  We have both now and everything in-between.”

I also read an interesting paper today from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education about the high teacher turnover at charter schools.

The study by David A. Stuit and Thomas M. Smith of Vanderbilt University  found that charter schools experience higher rates of turnover and are more likely to have teachers report that they voluntarily moved or left the school system, as opposed to being removed involuntarily for inadequate performance.

The study clearly sounds an alarm that ought to concern charter school proponents:

Collectively, the findings from this study illuminate a critical challenge facing charter schools and may explain part of the reason why charter schools are not systematically outperforming their traditional public school counterparts. Charter schools are experiencing rates of both attrition and mobility that are high by any standard. The evidence presented herein suggests charter schools may be leveraging their flexibility in personnel policies to get rid of underperforming teachers. Nevertheless, most of the turnover charter schools are experiencing appears to be dysfunctional. Compared to traditional public school teachers, charter school teachers are more likely to voluntarily leave the profession or move to a new school because they are dissatisfied with the school and its working conditions. The organizational disruption caused by this high level of dysfunctional turnover likely makes it difficult for the charter schools to maintain a level of instructional quality from year to year.

I know that the charters add depth to the school choice landscape in the communities where they will open, but still wonder about the precarious funding issues and what an adverse court ruling would mean.

What do you think?

50 comments Add your comment

public school parent

December 14th, 2009
5:28 pm

Yes, it is a very good thing!

GA Teacher

December 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

I wish we had some charter schools here in Macon/Bibb County. I would apply to work there. I know that charters are not the second coming or anything, but it would have to be a good thing for the Bibb County School District to have some competition. Urban districts in this country are so overrun with incompetent administrators that even the best teachers succeed in spite of leadership and not because of their help.

oldtimer

December 14th, 2009
5:46 pm

People leave charters because many expect much more. Charters, properly organized are a very good thing. Most public schools would improve with competition.

jay

December 14th, 2009
6:23 pm

charter schools do not have to hire certified teachers.

what??

December 14th, 2009
6:28 pm

What amazes me is this: the LEA (Local Education Agancy) has no say-so over the staff, hiring practices or procedures within the charter schools, yet when a parent files a complaint and wins….guess who has to represent them in due process and pay the fines?? You guessed it, the public school that services the area. Fair? I say if they want to charter, they should provide their own related special education services, their own certified teachers, and pay for their own mistakes. You can’t have it both ways!!!!!

Singing to the Choir

December 14th, 2009
6:34 pm

I think the beauty of most charters is that they think outside the box and don’t try the one size fits all approach to education. I have found the teachers every bit as hardworking and dedicated and sometimes more so. They do all of that, increase scores, and for much less funding than the traditional public school.

EducationCEOn

December 14th, 2009
6:40 pm

I think you forgot one crucial point: All of the charters will be managed/run by non-minorities, some of them are ‘non-profit’ management companies charging $1 million+ in management fees each year.

Happy Teacher

December 14th, 2009
6:53 pm

Charter schools are not the solution, but they are definitely part of it…

Like anything else that is competition based, the highest performers win out, which is great for students. And if parents are ill-informed enough to send their student to a school that doesn’t hire certified teachers, well, that’s on them.

Public schools work for a lot of students, but not all, that’s where charters can step in…

Lynn43

December 14th, 2009
7:20 pm

If charter schools are so wonderful, then why are not public schools allowed the flexibility that charter schools have. Charter schools can pick and choose which students they want to enroll. They do not have to provide a lunchroom or transportation. Teachers do not have to be certified, and a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree can make more than a teacher with a Doctor’s degree. An employee can be hired one day and fired the next for no good reason.

For those of you who think it is great, what if your child is not one of the chosen to attend, and because of loss of funding, your school has to eliminate the gifted program, art program, music program, or not buy new textbooks? Would you then think the charter school was so wonderful? Consider the “powers that be” might consider that you are not the kind of parent they want to be associated with their school. Parents usually have to sign forms to volunteer, but what if your job or home situation prevents your volunteering? Will your child be denied?

They, also, can suspend a child for any reason, and he/she will have to go back to public schools. By then, the charter school has already received funding for your child, and it will NOT be returned to the public school to educate your child. Charter schools are not public schools, but they are private schools paid for with your tax money with no oversite on how your money is spent. Since they are “charter”, they can do as they please.

In the case of 2 of the latest applications, they were exactly alike. Both public schools systems involved are among the finest anywhere. One charter was not approved and one was approved. If charters were denied because they were not good charters, then why was one approved and one denied when they were both the same. The school system where the one was approved is a large system where all schools and the system passed AYP and the SAT scores are above the national average. There is one difference. One of the men pushing this charter school lives in this county and has a financial interest (but no children) in seeing it passed. I understand he was at the Commission meeting today.

I recently read a vent in the Washington Post which states: “Charter Schools=Keeping GOP children from attending school with minorities.” In this case, I think it is not necessarily minorities, but “class”. I had one mom who thinks her child will be going to this school state to me that she did not want her child to go to school with free and reduced students which was her reason for supporting this charter school.

There are too many questions left unanswered, and public schools are endangered by the legislators who have no idea what education is all about and are now in power.

Gerald Ball

December 14th, 2009
7:31 pm

Yawn. Charter schools are a dodge. Anything to avoid the fact that our educational system needs to be completely and totally reinvented to meet our new economy and society. The Democrats won’t do it because they want to use the existing public schools to brainwash your kids. The Republicans won’t do it because they don’t want to pay for it. Look, a hard working 14 year old of average intelligence can pass the GED. Why not let him, and send him off to community college? Most people will never go to college and have no interest in it. So, after they have mastered reading, writing, arithmetic and logic, why not give them vocational training? And why not fully exploit online learning and distance education? The “Move On When Ready” Act was a nice start, but it was just that … a start. The amazing thing is that for years we have had kids in junior high doing object-oriented programming. Why not give them a couple of years of online training and then let companies hire them? But no, we would rather keep on outsourcing those jobs, or giving visas to foreign high tech workers. And why can’t we have apprentice programs for trades … plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, nursing etc. Now there is an idea that worked for hundreds of years before we decided that kids absolutely have to sit in public school until 12th grade learning “social studies.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-liberal arts or classics education. But that’s the problem: we aren’t doing true liberal arts or classics education anymore. Most UNIVERSITIES don’t even do it, let alone high schools. Even the top private schools and the International Baccalaureate programs are just things to get your kids into “elite colleges” where classes on “deconstructing oppressive heteronormal gender images in country music videos” have taken the place of Plato and Shakespeare.

So why not stop the sham and just start giving our kids what they need?

Tracy

December 14th, 2009
7:35 pm

I don’t care how many charter schools are created. As long as there are apathetic parents, there will always be problems in public schools. What is wrong with the parents in Clayton County? Ten years ago, this county had good schools, but now…. must be CTRAN’s fault.

Tony

December 14th, 2009
7:42 pm

When you get right down to the bare facts of schooling, any school is only as effective as its partnership with the community it serves. Whether public, private, charter or home school, the relationships are what generate successful learning environments. Turnover is a good thing as long as it is not too high. Successful schools move out poor quality teachers. However, high turnover is an indicator of a toxic culture within a school. Toxic cultures can exist in any type of school.

Charter School Parent

December 14th, 2009
8:29 pm

I think that Charters are the best option for those of us who want the next best thing for our children, but can’t afford the $12,000 annual tuition, eespecially since I live in the embattled Clayton county school system. My children attend the wonderful charter school in Clayton, that AJC did an article on a couple of weeks ago. This school is top notch because of top notch leadership, the CEO of the school insists that all teachers are certified and she enforces the rules that she has set out and isn’t tolerate of foolishness, which begins to exclude people, but this is what keeps me bringing my children back and telling others about it. So in my opinion Charter Schools are the best option for parents who happen to live in bad schools systems and I am glad this option.

Ray

December 14th, 2009
8:59 pm

The charter debate only distracts from the real issues.

Schools need funding. The elected leadership in Georgia is against funding, as they are panderers – not leaders.

Communities fostering good education recognize the institution as a moral responsibility. The South knows nothing of this, thus the crappy schools down here.

Fat, stupid, and lazy.

concerned

December 14th, 2009
9:08 pm

Is it true Gwinnett, Atlanta and DeKalb are attempting to close down a very strong public charter school teaching minority girls? What is wrong with those people? Why go after the things that are working? Isn’t time we shaked things up in education?

Retired Manager

December 14th, 2009
9:36 pm

I have served on a Charter School Board in Dekalb County for the past five years and I enjoy it very much. I am impressed with the motivation of the students and how this translate into good academic achievements. Charter Schools give students and their parents choice, which is what all citizens of Dekalb County deserve. Some students can excel in almost any environment and therefore the setting has very little impact on the outcome of their success. Others maybe impacted negatively in different settings and this could result in lower grades and possible failure.
.

Teaching at a Charter

December 14th, 2009
10:32 pm

I was quite the critic of charter schools before I began working at one. I moved to Tx and with my Az teaching certification it wasnt *easy* to find a job teaching in Tx. I ended up at a charter school. I have debated back and forth as to whether or not I agree with my school.

We are considered to be one of the best charters. We have some *amazing* programs. We have a problem with over involve parents as opposed to underinvolved. We have very diverse classrooms and our students benefit from learning about their peers cultures. In the end, I must admit my school is growing on me.

I knew the students would grow on me. However, I never guessed I would become so fond of the school in general. I am free to teach however I want to teach as long as I give my students their tests and stick with the scope and sequence. As long as I follow their rules and my students prove successful on their benchmarks and other exams my administration is happy.

I know there are mixed feelings on charters all around. However, from this former critic – I can say I am enjoying my school.

Happy Teacher

December 14th, 2009
10:32 pm

Schools need funding is the issue? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHA!!!!

Good one, I needed that.

Ed Johnson

December 14th, 2009
10:37 pm

Charter schools as competition for regular public schools will contribute to sustaining poverty and other seemingly intractable social ills. How? Being competitive hence striving to win out over regular public schools, charter schools will be selective of students served and so contribute to concentrating too many underserved kids in too many underserved public schools. This includes directing “bad” kids to for-profit alternative schools and ultimately through the criminal just system and into the prison industry to benefit profit-motivated, free market corporatists.

And then there is the idea of charter schools for decentralizing slow-to-change, bureaucratic public school systems. An essential question here is, why are they slow-to-change and bureaucratic? Well, that is simply the prevailing style of school leadership and administration needing transformation. And that is also the key reason charter schools cannot make an overall difference: their administration is not, indeed, cannot be, fundamentally different than regular public school administration, just a smaller scale of it, and some better than others. So, isn’t the transformation of the prevailing style of administration a high, if not the highest, leverage point for improving public education systems?

Allowing a regular public schools system a very limited number of charter schools for testing unconventional theory is reasonable, provided the prime directive would be that lessons learned must go to the regular public schools in the system. This would be a win-win proposition.

But win-win isn’t why charter schools are coming online. Charter schools are coming online for competitive, selfish, Wall Street-like, win-lose purposes and even for self-segregating purposes, as by Rep. Alishia Morgan (D-Austell). For example, her “Close the Achievement Gap” is a rather obvious front for attracting to “choice” especially certain citizens suffering victimization, real or imagined. Hence “anglerfish” is a fitting tag for Morgan’s behavior.

(Anglerfish: “Their most distinctive feature, worn only by females, is a piece of dorsal spine that protrudes above their mouths like a fishing pole–hence their name. Tipped with a lure of luminous flesh this built-in rod baits prey close enough to be snatched. Their mouths are so big and their bodies so pliable, they can actually swallow prey up to twice their own size.”)

Too, Obama’s charter schools push and “Race to the Top” competition are deeply disappointing.

CharterStarter, too

December 14th, 2009
11:24 pm

Please note that charter schools CAN NOT SELECT STUDENTS. It is an open enrollment for ALL students – NOT based on zip codes. Districts frequently zone around neighborhoods for various political reasons, fostering and perpetuating racial and class segregation. Charters are open to all. It should be noted (prominently) that charters enroll a higher population of at-risk minority students, AND they are STILL out performing many district schools. They succeed where districts sometimes do not.

Districts have the option now to transform themselves into charters. There’s nothing magical about the word charter that leads to the successes charters are having. It’s really in the innovation, the teacher autonomy, the student focus, the parent and community buy-in, the local governance, the unique school culture that is developed. These are the characteristics of TRUE charters that bring about TRUE reform. Districts can now exercise some of this if they choose. Or, they can turn charter or covert existing schools and maintain the status quo as always and continue to make few gains with students…it’s entirely up to them. They now have the privilege of chartering, and I’m anxious to see what many do with it.

Public school funding, by law, is earned by the student count (FTE), thus, the “money” does not belong to any particular school or district, and particularly not to a board (they are merely stewards). The money is earned by the student. Although I understand that current schools have operational costs, schools also have other privileges charters do not (i.e., levying taxes for SPLOST for buildings, bonds, etc.) The charters ensure the money follows the child and then ensures proper stewardship (i.e., spent wisely and ensure learning takes place…return on investment).

Charters, unlike traditional public schools, can be shut down PDQ if they do not perform. They are accountable to their market. Parents, who are taxpayers, actually have a say-so in the school and this say-so directly impacts the school’s sustainability. Imagine if parents actually had a say-so in the public schools that are chronically underperforming. Strong charter schools raise the bar for all…and they still have to meet the bar themselves in order to stay open.

Do your research on charter school leaders if you’re going to criticize them as status quo. Charter schools boards and leaders are often highly effective teachers with larger vision, and often highly successful business people wanting to make a difference. They manage not only a public school, but also a non-profit business. They handle the jobs of SEVERAL county office (LEA) people….and yes, they need training and support, too, but they are hard working, dedicated, mission driven people who do it for the love of the kids and the desire to have impact on education.

LEAs who authorize schools, by law are responsible for FAPE, so you’re right about that. However, they also get to keep a portion of the FTE earnings for their trouble. Note that the charters authorized today will be their own LEA, so they will retain these responsibilities.

I believe, like most charter proponents, that all charters should not be authorized – some lack fully or comprehensively developed plans or lack founding boards ready to establish an institution and handle the full responsibilitt; however,the ones who have a solid plan and a board with capacity to do it and do it well should be supported in their efforts….just like high performing traditional schools should be supported in theirs. If they are able to ensure kids grow and excel, who could anyone be against them…unless it’s about money and power? It’s about the kids…and the fact that these kids will be leaders one day.

North Fulton Mom

December 14th, 2009
11:25 pm

I agree with those on here in that I’m skeptical of all the attention put on charter schools. I looked through the applications on the commission website today and was intrigued to find charter schools with seemingly similar applications receive inconsistent decisions (I am referring to Coweta and Cherokee charters here). In the commission recommendation, both were urged denial because as they put it, the two schools are virtually the same in terms of the districts they are serving (’relatively high performing”) and the model they propose to use. Yet, Coweta’s somehow was approved by the commission while Cherokee’s was not.

In another confusing case, a Clayton county school was denied a charter and urged to go to the county to get one. So if a charter doesn’t meet the purported high standards of the state, the state can then turn around and urge a school to go for lower standards?? Help me out here because this mother is confused…

I have been vocal about my concern with a state commission applying inconsistent standards on different local communities. It is disappointing to see the commission reinforce my fear with today’s decisions.

B. Killebrew

December 14th, 2009
11:36 pm

Great post, Ed Johnson.

Parent

December 15th, 2009
12:23 am

concerned – You are thinking about Ivy Prep Academy in Gwinnett. It is one of the most highly performing schools in the county and it serves mostly minority girls — Gwinnett school system is suing Ivy Prep as unconstitutional. AJC had an article on it awhile back: http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/lawsuit-spurs-charter-school-158266.html

Lynn43 – What about teacher certification? The local schools in my district are chock full of certified teachers (as required) and are some of the worst-performing schools in the state (and consequently, the nation). Certification *may* be a good idea, but it apparently doesn’t have much of an impact on the quality of education provided in my school district – hence the need for a local public charter alternative.

Bill

December 15th, 2009
4:19 am

Sorry, charters are started by wannabe educators and often have non certified teachers. What good are they really. And please certification don’t me anything. Trying going to an unqualfied medical Doctor. Some Y’all are not thinking strait. How can you compare a school that has to takes everyone (public school) and one that doesn’t (charter). Charters are not providing a better education. They are actually take advantage of urban parents. Overall, charters are just way to get uncertified teachers and principals jobs and pay them less and make them work 80 hour weeks. It is like slavery in some charter schools. Charters are really just a new way of doing the same thing.

[...] rest is here:  Seven new charter schools on their way. Is this a good thing … By admin | category: private schools | tags: governance, money, not-public, osaka, [...]

Dan

December 15th, 2009
7:07 am

Charter schools are just like other public schools. They don’t “pick and choose” what kids go there.

lynn

December 15th, 2009
7:18 am

In GA, charters are required to not discriminate against students for any reason. They may have narrowly defined attendance zones, as is the case for the Museum Charter School of Avondale, or they may have large attendance zones (multiple districts or even state wide) as is the case for many of the schools approved by the commission. If they have more students than spaces, they are required to have a lottery.

The reality, though, is that students (especially at the elementary level) are at the mercy of their parents to exercise their right for a choice. In many households, the parents aren’t really paying attention. In fact, the parent(s) only involvement with the education of their child(ren) is if (not necessarily when) they respond to any negatives from the school about behaviors or academics. This is true at all socio-economic levels.

But, all across the country, at risk students are succeeding because someone made a choice. Bill, some of the highest performing schools across the country are charter schools that serve mostly poor or an economically diverse group of students. Yes, there are some bad charters, but there are some dreadful traditional public schools as well.

In this discussion, it is essential to remember that nationally, something like 50 percent of all high school drop outs come from about 5 percent of high schools. This is shocking and yet, those high schools are allowed to receive taxpayers monies year in and year out.

What is most disappointing about the decisions yesterday is that almost all the schools will serve elementary students and not high school students. It appears that only one, Peachtree Hope, aspires to include high schoolers eventually.

lynn

December 15th, 2009
7:25 am

This is a quote from the Commission illustrating one of the reasons they were rejecting a proposed charter:
“The petition further states that “[s]tudents who fail to demonstrate adequate and appropriate progress toward the student standards, as determined by the professional judgment of the Academic Advisor assigned to that student, will be subject to expulsion.” These provisions do not comport with the provisions of the Charter Schools Act. O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2066.”

SmallBusinessOwner

December 15th, 2009
8:45 am

I’m all for competition and high standards. But I was dismayed to look through the list of schools and application decisions and find that the voting members are only half-heartedly considering the opinions of the expert panels that made the initial recommendations.

In addition to the Cherokee/Coweta case, Blue Heron ES was approved by the commission after a recommendation for rejection by the expert panel. Reading through the application, I get the sense that this school (with a primary mission to serve the students of Blue Heron Country Club) was envisioned with the goal being exclusion rather than access. The school may be forced to accept students from elsewhere, but in cases like this, I seriously doubt the charter school administration and leadership have the same goals most parents would want to see in charters. That the state commission still approved the school after the expert panel recommendation rejection is a sign that this is not a system that is viable on a larger scale.

There are several other inconsistencies in the charter school decisions. As much as I want to, I cannot support this state commission in its current form.

¤ Affording School ¤

December 15th, 2009
8:46 am

[...] Seven new charter schools on their way. Is this a good thing … [...]

whoknowz

December 15th, 2009
8:49 am

Charters can’t discriminate in enrollment, it’s true, BUT they can establish rules limiting who stays unlike the other public schools. They can require students and parents to agree to certain rules before enrollment and failure to comply means compulsion. That creates a whole different atmosphere than the entitlement one found too often in the other public schools.

Our funding formula is not per FTE — the count is which “program” the student is in for each of the 6 segments of the day. Our method is classified as a teacher allocation model because it determines how many teachers and other professionals are “earned” for each program. 92% of the total generated by the QBE formula is for salaries.

[...] — Seven new charter schools approved by state commission (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Ga. — Seven new charter schools: Is this a good thing? (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Ga. — Mondays with Arne: Consensus & conversation with Ga. [...]

jim d

December 15th, 2009
9:24 am

Lynn,

“Charter schools can pick and choose which students they want to enroll.”

WRONG!!!

jim d

December 15th, 2009
9:25 am

lynn,

“Charter schools are not public schools”

WRONG AGAIN!!

Happy Teacher

December 15th, 2009
12:09 pm

As someone in the charter movement, it is clear that we need to put out a marketing cmpaign to counter all the misconceptions about what a charter is! It is clear that much of the public has no idea what a true charter school is in Georgia and how they run, so the movement has to take the blame for that!

Thanks for the heads up! I will definitely propose a PR campaign to my regional director so people can get up to speed, so that we can have an informed debate.

CharterStarter

December 15th, 2009
1:33 pm

EducationCEOn is wrong – not all the charters approved yesterday will be run by “non-minorities.” Fulton Leadership Academy has a mostly minority board, a minority school leader/founder, and the vast majority of students expressing interest in attending are minorities. The school will primarily serve residents in south Fulton. And on EducationCEOn’s other objection: what’s wrong with for-profit management if it’s affordable, efficient and (in fact) better?

CharterStarter

December 15th, 2009
1:42 pm

And for the group – you think Ms. Downey has an ax to grind? I know this is a blog and not “news,” but…

“the body empowered by the Legislature to overrule local school boards and approve charter schools…”

AND

“apportion them local monies – by a legislative sleight of hand…”

If the Constitution and law permit the existence of the Commission (they do), and Commission charters will benefit students and parents (they will), why not have a Commission?

The point of public education is NOT to preserve the ability of local boards and systems to exist; it is to educate students. The Constitution clearly gives that responsibility FIRST to the state. The state is merely exercising its Constitutional authority. The lawsuits are proper to test and forever settle that question, but even a quick reading of the state Constitution can leave no other interpretation.

Bill

December 15th, 2009
10:03 pm

If they don’t pick thier students why do so many of them interview students before school starts. And why can they send back to public schools.

Lynn43

December 15th, 2009
11:49 pm

Jim, I know how the admission policy is SUPPOSED to work, but these people have made too many promises to too many people. There are many ways to manipulate the admissions in order for their chosen ones to get into the school, and I know they will. Proponents would like people to think that charter schools are public schools, but they are not. When the government steals homeowners local property tax and sends it to another state for a private “for profit” company to run a school which is not open to everyone then it is not public, it is private. Only those who are pushing these schools will call them “public”. I recently read a vent in the Washington Post which stated: Charter Schools=Making sure GOP children do not have to attend school with minorities.” In this case, it is not necessarily minorities, but poor children in general. One mom stated that she supported the school because she did not want her children to go to school with free and reduced lunch children. This is part of the mentality in this case.

Parent

December 15th, 2009
11:59 pm

Bill – you seem to be confusing charter schools with magnet and/or private schools. They are not the same thing. A charter school is a public school that has to accept anyone in their attendance zone. From the GA Department of Education FAQ About Charter Schools: “A charter school is a public school that must as a condition of its charter have an open enrollment policy.”, “A charter school cannot have admissions criteria or charge tuition”, “Private schools may have admissions criteria and charge tuition.” and “Some magnet schools have admission criteria.”

Patrick Crabtree

December 16th, 2009
6:30 am

Remember……..THE CONSTITUTION………states free PUBLIC schools for ALL its citizens. WHY????? England only provided for the ELITE, not the common. We educators have failed to teach history. Education levels the playing field. Charter Schools are basically classist. If you want private PAY FOR IT! One cannot help where they are born or their financial circumstances, how many of you owe public education for your lot in life? Get real, how many of you really think you can get in Ivy League Schools? They are VERY costly for a reason. As President of the Atlanta Association of Educators, I am appalled that the general public who really does not research the issues and they jump on the bandwagon because it “sounds good.” I may have disagreements with Dr. Hall and APS, but I will stand behind what APS stands for and the reform WE are trying to impact. Keep public monies public! It is like projects…we provide a service. With vouchers and Section 8s, do you realize we are paying somone else’s mortgage with OUR taxes? How many of you get your mortgage get payed by tax dollars? These charter schools are syphoning off your tax dollars and YOU don’t have a say about how they spend it, but if sued, YOU pay for it. DO the research.

Patrick Crabtree

December 16th, 2009
6:32 am

Why are so many of you afraid to use your names? What is your real agenda?

Bill

December 16th, 2009
7:07 am

Patrick you make some good points. My problem with Charter schools is they are just not quality schools and they hire anyone of the street. Also, many Charter schools force staff to work beyond 40 hours a week without pay. This is bad for the labor force of Georgia. It sets a standard that employees most work 80 hours without overtime pay. All you anti union folks should be appalled because this will cause Georgia to have unions.

Happy Teacher

December 16th, 2009
3:28 pm

Patrick, check the Constitution again friend, there is certainly no guarantee to a free, public education.

Bill: http://www.kipp.org
check the results, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And i don’t know where you get your “facts” about the labor situation, but I’m afraid you, like Patrick, have been grosly misinformed.

Happy holidays,
Warren

Bill

December 16th, 2009
11:53 pm

Seriously,they hire umcertified folks for a reason to take advantage of them. These people would not work in a public school.(most of them) Anyways, Happy holidys to you too.

jim d

December 17th, 2009
11:02 am

Happy teacher,

the us constitution may not but it is written into all 50 states constitutions.

Hmm

December 18th, 2009
8:56 am

Bill: Why are you making a blanket statement regarding charter schools not hiring certified teachers? Have you researched every charter school in Georgia and can back up your claim? I can’t speak for every school so I won’t generalize however, the school my children attends DOES hire certified teachers! It’s ridiculous to claim the schools just hire anyone off the street. That doesn’t there aren’t bad apples but there are some terrible PUBLIC schools out there as well. Also if you talk to pretty much ANY public school teacher they will inform you they work over 40 hours per week and don’t get paid overtime either. Teaching is a labor of love and dedicated, caring educators ALWAYS put out more time/energy/effort,money(their own) than what comes back to them in the form of a paycheck. Regarding your claim students are sent back to their public school but where else are they supposed to go? Charter schools were created to provide “choice” but some students may have difficulty assimilating to the school culture/standards and returning to their home school would be their best option. I’m not aware of any charter “alternative” schools at this point.

kf4hff

December 18th, 2009
9:36 am

Do your homework before you spout off!!!!

Hmm

December 18th, 2009
4:36 pm

Maureen my post from this morning must be stuck in cyberland! Please free me…

Carolyn

December 30th, 2009
1:10 am

I am concerned that the Commission approved schools with poor petitions and schools that were primarily headed by private management companies. Several of the approved schools were designed for high income country club communities. Other schools were designed to be managed by privatization. The management companies have created figure head boards and are charging excessive amounts of money for facilities and services. Many of the grassroots community based schools with excellent petitions were denied by the commission. What is the real agenda of the commission? I am not impressed. My belief is that the commission needs to regroup and represent our state. Charter schools should be innovations in the community and not benefit a select group of people or be a means to make profits for management companies.