Blogging live from Senate committee: Any ideas on saving charters?

It was standing room only at a Senate committee hearing today on the fate of 16 charter schools approved by a state commission now deemed unconstitutional. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

It was standing room only at a Senate committee hearing today on the fate of 16 charter schools approved by a state commission now deemed unconstitutional. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

I am sitting in a corner on the floor at the Senate hearing on the fate of 16 charter schools ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court because they were established by a state commission over the objections of local boards of education.

The hearing is packed with children in red shirts from Atlanta Heights Charter, one of the schools left in the limbo last month by the high court ruling. (The ruling was 4-3, and the court has been asked to reconsider its decision.)

State Sen. Fran Millar, chair of the Senate ed committee, is speaking now, giving the background on the situation and the options. Millar says he has talked to “people in Washington” about Race to the Top grant funds and whether they can be tapped to rescue these schools and assure them full funding.

“Unfortunately, Race to the Top monies cannot be used to fill these holes,” he said.

Other ideas Millar says have been suggested to help the schools:

1. These charter schools can become private schools and the state can create vouchers that students could use. (That would take legislation.)

2. Change the Georgia constitution but it would not solve the immediate problem of what these kids can do in August when school is supposed to start as it requires a statewide referendum.

3. Now, Millar says that the constitution allows the state board of education to put a question on the ballot asking local school districts to help fund state special schools, which these charter schools could now become. (Don’t see such a question winning voter approval in financially strapped towns already cutting away at their existing schools.)

“Our immediate concern today is try to come up with a solution for these young people and their families,” said Millar.

Now, Mark Peevy, executive director of the state Charter Schools Commission, says he urged schools to become locally approved charters. He repeated many of the comments he made two weeks ago at a meeting of charter school operators.

He noted that the existing eight commission charter schools are no longer concepts, but actual schools with students in classrooms so local boards may be willing to adopt them now.

“These are schools with proven performance and we are very happy with the results we are seeing. And when we are all said and done, we are talking about student achievement,” said Millar.

“We have two categories of schools,” said Millar. “Existing ones that are proven and new ones on the block that we expect would do as well.”

Of the 15,644 affected students in the 16 charters, 10,000 of them would be taking classes virtually through online schools.  One virtual school is operating, the Georgia Cyber Academy, and two were due to open this fall. So, in terms of brick and mortar schools, they represented only a third of the affected students. Two-thirds of the students are online students — which presents a special challenge.

Since virtual schools are statewide and cannot apply to a single school board for approval and funding, their situation is trickier. Peevy is saying they can go back to the state and become state charter special school, but those schools only receive state funds. There is no local money when a charter school is commissioned by the state board of education.

Now, Tony Roberts, CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, is urging the Senate to not only help the existing eight schools but the other eight that were planning to open. He asked the Senate to continue pushing local systems as he said they are giving schools a tempered message of encouragement.

“Let me tell you how these conversations are going right now. The school systems are saying, ‘We are not going to approve you as a charter school. We are going to give you one year, bridge funding so to speak, then we  will consider whether you continue as a charter school.’ I don’t want you to think the action right now is going to solve the problem,” Roberts said.

“We are telling our schools to keep all their options open,” said Roberts. “I do not want our schools to have less funding because children in these schools are same children as children in other schools, but I am here to tell you, charter schools, because of their flexibility, because of their commitment, they can do with less money. I am not advocating for less money.”

If the General Assembly created a special supplement for these schools, Roberts thought it would spur foundation help and grants. He suggested it would be worthwhile for DOE to seek aid from the feds even if Race to the Top is off limits.

“They have money and grants that we don’t even know about, that they don’t even know about. I would encourage the state, governor, our state superintendent and this Legislature to really apply everywhere with the U.S. Department of Education to make this difference up,” he said.

Now, Matt Arkin, head of School of the Georgia Cyber Academy, is speaking. The school was due to get more funding this fall as a result of becoming a charter commission school. It is getting $3,200 per student now, Arkin said, but was going up to $5,800 as a result of its new commission status.

They had 6,500 students this year. They have 8,500 enrolled for this fall in k-10. They serve kids in all counties but five. “We are a true equalizer,” Arkin said. They have 800 special need students, 42 percent minorities and around 15 percent gifted.

“We work well for parents and families in Georgia, Our students work at home with a parent or other adult who have to work with them during the day,” he said.

As a newly approved charter commission school, Georgia Cyber Academy will lose between $20 and $30 million in anticipated local dollars because of the Supreme Court decision.

“Sacrifices will continue by our students and our teachers. Any support our Georgia General Assembly can provide for the things our students should have had these past three years as well would be appreciated,” Arkin said.

One of the heads of a school that was about to open is now speaking. Monica Henson is executive director of Provost Academy, a public online high school with 800 seats due to open in the fall.

“About 40 percent of students who seek online high school options generally can be classified as at risk of dropping out,” she said.

Henson said addressing the school to prison pipeline — she prefers to call it a bleeding wound than a pipeline– was one of her goals in launching an online high school to give potential dropouts a way to stay in school. “I ask that the Legislature consider additional options,” she said.

Millar called charter schools an economic engine as well as a successful reform model in Georgia.

“Charter schools are a way to make parents and guardians responsible for their children. I’m a believer,” he said.

Now, Superintendent John Barge is speaking — without a microphone so I am straining in my corner floor spot to hear him. He is saying that DOE has offered flexibility to systems.

There are two initial options for these schools, he said, local approval, which brings full funding, or state board approval, which brings only state dollars.

“We are going to get bureaucracy out of the way and take care of students,” he said. “The best option is for local school districts to approve these schools when it comes to funding and their relationships in the community. We are asking local districts to honestly consider these charters. We have waived some deadlines for them.”

“In the end it comes down to a funding issue,” said Barge. “I cannot change that. Only the Legislature can change that.”

At that point, Millar said, “I promise you that the governor, the lieutenant governor, the leadership of the Senate, the leadership of the House, we are urging local boards wherever possible to approve these schools. That is going to be the best short-term solution.”

Meeting over.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

142 comments Add your comment

Inman Park

June 3rd, 2011
10:20 am

It would be fairly typical of Georgia politicians to eliminate the only part of public education that seems to know what it is doing, and does it rather well.

Dunwoody Mom

June 3rd, 2011
10:25 am

It’s too bad these politicians didn’t spend the amount of time or effort trying to save the money Perdue and Deal have cut from the education budget.

Well

June 3rd, 2011
10:34 am

Are charter schools successful because they cherry pick the kids? It seems like they are taking some of the best kids and parents from public schools and then saying “look at us, we’re making good scores”. Or do they take any and all like the public schools?

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

Inman Park and Well what are your statements based on. The solution should be privatization of schools which is what charter schools are attempting to do half-heartedly and ineffectively. There should never be a process where some people in a county get something others don’t based on a lottery. That’s utterly ridiculous. I think Charters should go away, although I do appreciate what their kid’s parents are trying to do.

The thing I’d like to ask Charter parents is, if your kids hadn’t won the lottery and got in, what was plan B? You moved into an area that didn’t have ideal schools, based on your own criteria, so deal with it.

atlmom

June 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

Well: charter schools have to take everyone who apply. If there are too many who apply, then it is a lottery. Technically, those kids are ’self selected’ because those parents are looking for an alternative – so you have more involved parents. Which makes for better students.

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

@atlmom – that’s a good point. You probably are getting better students due in large part to the fact that it’s parents that actually care about their kids education.

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
10:49 am

bob leblah,

I’m just curious–not attacking at all–just interested. How would privatization work on a large scale. For example, would lower grades education model themselves after colleges? How do you envision privatization done effectively?

MGC

June 3rd, 2011
10:51 am

As a public school receiving tax money, they must take any and all just like any school. The do have hold a lottery if they reach their quota as to how many they can serve. Where they limit children who can attend is parent involvement that might be required or having to drive them there… not all can do that. My kids attend GCA-Georgia Cyber Academy. I tried B&M school and was sadly disappointed for my kids atleast. I have been happy at GCA, but recognize it is not for every one or every student. I am grateful for the choice and GCA has informed us that pending approval for our state charter we will continue as we have this past year only using state funds. GCA has never gotten any local funds, though they had hoped to for this fall, we are all aware that we will not after this ruling, but barring the state completely shutting us down, GCA plans to operate the same as it has since it opened.

just watching

June 3rd, 2011
10:51 am

@Well,
There MAY be a FEW charters that seem like that, but in general, NO charters cannot cherry pick their students. They are public schools and must take all students that come from whatever attendance zone is set and up to their enrollment. Sometimes a lottery has to be used b/c there is so much interest in a charter.

You obviously need to learn more about charter schools before you jump in commenting about them.

ItsthePARENTS

June 3rd, 2011
10:52 am

@Well..I agree with @atlmom, well said. Charters take everyone and the difference is that the PARENTS are involved in the education of their children and are seeking better options. Those that lack interest or understand the value just send their child to the local school 5 days a week to be babysat. The same is true when you look at certain schools within district that are perceived as good schools or overall districts that are perceived as good districts. It begins and ends with the parents in those school districts.

Take the recent fight over redistricting of clusters in GCPS system with Peachtree Ridge and Duluth. If Peachtree Ridge had excellent teachers, based on test score outcomes, and the school was sooooo great, they would want to have children that may be struggling. But no, they cut and adjust lines to keep some out. It boils down to the parents sending their children to the schools with open minds, ready to learn, and not acting a fool.

We make the simple, so complicated….I guess the Government school system is performing extremely well of producing a dumbed down, simple minded, creativity lacking population.

Dunwoody Mom

June 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

“One consequence of the current push to create more charter schools and provide vouchers to subsidize attendance at private schools is that students who enjoy high levels of informed adult support and advocacy will benefit most.

Their peers who lack such support, through no fault of their own, will be left behind.

The concentration of adult-supported students in charter schools and voucher-funded private schools will virtually ensure their success — and enable advocates of these alternative schools to tout their superiority.

On this path, we will, indeed, end up with two school systems.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/are-we-creating-dual-school-systems-with-charters-vouchers/2011/06/02/AGVq8cHH_blog.html

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

just watching-

So let’s say a StudentBob is zoned to go Public School High, but Charter School High is built in the same zoning area, does that mean that StudentBob automatically goes to Charter School High instead of Public School High? (Again–not attacking–I just know I don’t know enough about how charters work).

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
10:56 am

I’m not sure I understand this question “For example, would lower grades education model themselves after colleges?”

But I hope I can explain. I believe the primary problems in our schools are the following:

* Parents who do care/don’t discipline their children
* Poorly constructed curriculums that don’t prepare kids for real world
(this is a hard fix, b/c college I believe is problem here to)
* Some teachers (some) are ineffective

Privatization would forces people teachers; students; and admins to be responsible for their actions and their effectiveness. If they aren’t, they are pushed out and have to “settle” for 2nd, 3rd choices. In the case of students, a “troubled” or remedial school program where they can be taught by people who enjoy special needs or troubled kids.

Colleges currently (at least bachelors degrees) are not as effective as they could be because students spend 2 1/2 years relearning what they did in highschool. This does cause problems b/c the goal of grade school is to prepare for college and if your target is off… but baby steps. :)

atlmom

June 3rd, 2011
10:59 am

We are never going to solve the problems at the public schools until and unless we make parents accountable (there are SO MANY other issues, but that is a large one too). As with charters mentioned above, those parents are involved and want more for their kids. Parents who teach their kids that education is no big deal will have kids, mainly, who not do well, no matter what the system.

Dunwoody Mom

June 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

so, bob, you basically advocate a 2-tier education system?

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

Bob–

I guess my question is HOW this would happen: “Privatization would forces people teachers; students; and admins to be responsible for their actions and their effectiveness. If they aren’t, they are pushed out and have to “settle” for 2nd, 3rd choices. In the case of students, a “troubled” or remedial school program where they can be taught by people who enjoy special needs or troubled kids. ”

For the kids who can’t pay for school–who would pay? Would the kids/parents who couldn’t pay still get access to the 1st choice schools?

justin

June 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

I think having the power to expel students is another advantage for charter schools – they may not be able to select students, but I think they can more easily remove students from their rosters.

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

I really need to do more research as to how GA implements charter requirements. As I understand, even the structure of a charter system can vary from state to state. I wonder, maybe you can answer this Maureen, does it vary in implementation from county to county in Georgia? How are they subsidized? Who oversees them? Is there required testing? How do they handle IDEA requirements? How do they meet other federal requirements? What are the per-pupil expenditures?

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
11:14 am

@Dunwoody — (and atlmom) you are never going to have 100% of parents that are good parents and teach their children to take education seriously. These student impede on learners and hold them back in public classrooms. I advocate their seperation from students who learn by providing troubled specialists which would probably make troubled students more effective than what is currently provided. I am not going to hold the “haves” back for the sake of “have-nots” maybe improving themselves, but more likely not doing anything and eventually dropping out.

@dunwoody mom– I am an advocate of what i have described here. It appears that there are other associations and judgements that have been made related to a “2 tier model”, which may or may not be true (or be misleading). I can’t answer you directly b/c I don’t know what your definition is and what stereotypes have been associated with your “buzzword”.

Troubled students can fix themselves and reapply to anything they want don’t forget.

Jerry Eads

June 3rd, 2011
11:17 am

It’s very simple. If the parents of these students want locally supported monies for their children’s education, they can enroll in public schools. If they don’t like the one they’re “in” they can move, or register them in – and pay for – a private school. If at all possible, I choose with MY property tax to fund the PUBLIC schools APPROVED by the local board. I entrusted those tax dollars to the elected board to make decisions about schools. If they elect not to fund a “charter” school, they do so with my proxy. There are signficant problems in many schools; most of those problems are related to the radically increasing poverty that the society refuses to address, instead blaming public schools. In case it’s not clear, let me try again. MY LOCAL PROPERTY TAX DOLLARS go to MY PUBLIC SCHOOLS. By LOCAL, NOT STATE, decision.

Well

June 3rd, 2011
11:19 am

If you sit down at a parents night at a public school, who’s parents are more likely to show up? The the ones who have struggling, lower level students or those who have honors and AP children? So in essence, they are cherry picking because parental envovlment is critical to a students growth. It may be open to everyone, but not everyone is applying for that spot. Charter Schools are generally getting motivated students with motivated parents.

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

@Jordan – whats a first choice school? My definition is a parents first choice already based on what they can afford. I think your’s is the best school out there. Can all kids afford all schools right now?
I can’t afford to send my kids to schools that cost $20k a year.

The money you currently allocate to school taxes would be returned to you. The public money that is allocated to schools locally could be returned to you. People forget all subsidies that government provides is from “us”. We don’t need the government to be a middleman for us. They waste more than they provide. I wouldn’t be against govt enforcing this through having a seperate acct that must be allocated to schools by parents. I just want govt out of deciding curriculums and giving ineffective teachers tenure and allowing troubled students to be problems in schools for 12 years.

I also want competition that improves the product provided.

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

Bob-

Again–not attacking just asking– who would fund the kids who couldn’t pay for private academies. Like you said, “you are never going to have 100% of parents that are good parents and teach their children to take education seriously. ” Should those families pay more to get moved to a different school? Surely the “troubled specialists” that you describe would cost more than a traditional school, right? So who would pay for those kids? I agree with you that the way we fund schools now needs an overhaul, but when people say “privatization,” I don’t know what that means.

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

Right now you and I pay money to local state and federal govt that is used for school. In some form that would be returned to you. You don’t need a middleman to pay funds out. Even if you wanted some level subsidation (taxation) to level the playing field a bit, I wouldn’t be against that, but I want government out of (what I said above). yes rich kids are going to go to elite private schools, they do now. But the replacement private schools would be more effective than current public schools. you could also provide schollys for achievers in the poor arena. I am conservative but paying taxes in the right place is cool with me. Providing cash for merit.

Gotta run some errands back later.

Roach

June 3rd, 2011
11:32 am

The online schools, serving a statewide student population, *are* special schools and should be fully funded by the state. But just as the state has failed for years to meet its constitutionally specified obligation to all public school students, the state failed these students and their parents, lying to them through unconstitutional legislation, saying that local school districts were somehow responsible. Don’t blame the local school districts–blame the state for creating an unfunded mandate for local districts already overburdened and under-supported.

The obvious solution is for the state to honor its word and meet its obligations (yeah right).

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

One last thing: it’s unfortunate but we have to get out of this mindset that everyone can be saved. We’re falling behind other countries b/c we have a large number of students with no discipline and they’re holding up classes.

I haven’t written a bill on this or anything, Jordan, so I’m not going to be able to provide every clear cut answer. I do believe huge amounts of monies are wasted in public schools b/c of teachers unions and that money can be reallocated in some ways to help fund.

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

Bob-

Gotcha- so let me ask you this…would you require people to send their kids to school? If the monies are returned to the tax payer, can they choose not to send their kids to school and use the money elsewhere? Or would it be a requirement like buying car insurance? As far as subsidizing, do you mean vouchers–like food stamps for education?

Columbia Grad

June 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

“Charter Schools are generally getting motivated students with motivated parents.”

@Well and everyone else with this misunderstanding:

I’ve worked with many charters here in NY, so I have some insight. This is a common misconception. The only thing that can be definitely said about the parents of students in charter schools is that they are motivated enough to enroll their kid in a charter school , whether their reasons are justified or not. That’s it. Indeed some parents are highly involved and there are others that are not. The students are the same: some are more motivated than the average and others are not. You know, kind of like other public schools.

Jordan Kohanim

June 3rd, 2011
11:39 am

Bob-

I appreciate your patience. I agree there is a ton of misconception and misinformation out there. I’m just trying to figure out what is concrete. What do we know to be true? (Although I don’t know how/why teachers’ unions affect the GA debate seeing how they have no collective bargaining teeth). I also agree that there is major spending problems in public education–I just don’t understand how privatization or charters fix that. Again–I just don’t know enough.

Thanks for outlining what you can for me, as far as your understanding of privatization.

Columbia Grad

June 3rd, 2011
11:41 am

*Definitively, not definitely…

Roach

June 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

By law, there are no teachers unions in Georgia. Blaming teachers unions is the kind of buck-passing we expect from our legislature.

Were Out!

June 3rd, 2011
11:46 am

@well that is absolutely false. I know plenty, and I am one of them, who have seen kids with involved parents struggle in county approved charter schools. Because our schools were “conversions” there was no cherry picking, no more motivated parents because they still had to take all in the district. Innovation and choice are what we need, this will not happen until we take the school boards out of the equation. They are so bureaucratic they paralyze our schools and innovation. The three charter schools (conversions) that we have been in offered nothing new, same old poor education, low accountability and nothing that made them stand out in the end. Only their labels make people think that this is “great”… wrong. They could only require uniforms.. so they still all look the same in detention( remind you of prison?). County approved charter schools are not at all what they are cracked up to be.
Let’s begin the voucher push… there is no other way to make our public schools accountable until this happens. If we pay more for top teachers then we might actually get one who can speak grammatically correct English. One size does not fit all. Sad that Georgia does not get this and continues to scrape along the bottom of the US as one of the worst school systems and worst states for children in the US. I just have to get one more out of high school and then he gets to start in remedial classes at college, by the way this is a “gifted” student who scores higher on the SAT’s then most of his peers…but can’t write a decent paragraph. The younger one will go to a private school for the high school years.

catlady

June 3rd, 2011
11:46 am

“These are schools with proven performance and we are very happy with the results we are seeing. And when we are all said and done, we are talking about student achievement,” said Millar.

How out of touch this man is! It isn’t about student achievement. It is about MONEY and POWER, two things that Mr. Millar is well familiar with. School boards don’t want to give up either one, unless you are talking about shuffling off poor black kids onto some other responsible party!

If it WERE about student achievement, we would see many more school boards accepting charter schools.

A local school board closes a school with a 144 year history of active community involvement, so it can bus the kids in to the large school in town and thus get more money for hitting some kind of numbers goal for school size. Nevermind that the kids at the little school were getting an excellent education. Nevermind that the little school has produced a disproportionate share of honor graduates for decades. Nevermind that the parents in that area desperately want the school to continue. Nevermind that allowing a charter school would provide an excellent educational laboratory (as it already has, unofficially) for how to make a school WORK.

POWER and MONEY, Mr. Millar.

APS Teacher

June 3rd, 2011
12:06 pm

Another issue that no one has addressed: what happens to the staff at all these schools? Do they have a job? Are they expected to exist in limbo waiting to find out if they will be unemployed? The time frame for applying for teaching jobs for 2011-2012 has essentially closed. If their schools close, they are out of luck for a minimum of a year.

justin

June 3rd, 2011
12:21 pm

@ bob

I have no idea why you are addressing what you said to me as it had nothing to do with what I wrote.

bob leblah

June 3rd, 2011
12:33 pm

@justin – where did I address you? While were at it… “I think they can more easily remove students from their rosters” really? how? what are the guidelines that are different?

CharterStarter

June 3rd, 2011
12:34 pm

Thanks, Maureen, for the live blogging!

Bug

June 3rd, 2011
12:59 pm

@ Roach: You are a little confused, buddy. A state cannot outlaw unions. A direct violation of the First Amendment…freedom of association. There are prohibitions against teachers going on strike and walking off the job. I believe that Florida had similar prohibitions in 1968 when the Florida teachers walked off the job. The legislators just change the laws.

Do you, Roach, think that teachers in Georgia are willing right now to walk off their jobs? No? Then, your banter about Georgia outlawing unions is both incorrect and mute. You have to take power. No one gives anyone power. Union are legal in Georgia, and they can fight for teachers rights under Georgia laws, Federal laws, and local policies governing education in Georgia. There simply is no collective bargaining. Now the Florida teachers have had collective bargaining for over 40 years. How’s that worked out for them?

These teachers in Florida with collective bargaining rights have worse teaching conditions than do Georgia teachers. They also get paid less. So, I don’t see that collective bargaining is the panacea. I have been in a bargaining unit. I see how it works. The shop stewards are co-opted by management. You, Roach, would be very disappointed. In fact, you would probably start blogging against your shop steward.

What’s wrong with straightening out our regular schools…with some real discipline and order? Then ole Fran Millar won’t have to run around like he’s confused. Forget charter schools; fix the regular schools. Charter schools drain away money, resources, and the best talent from the regular schools, leaving the regular schools more of a wasteland. But, maybe Fran Millar doesn’t worry about this. Perhaps he’s just intent on taking care of his Dunwoody Moms so that his little political rear end can stay in office.

Dunwoody Mom

June 3rd, 2011
1:05 pm

Well, this “Dunwoody Mom” does not agree with Millar in this instance.

JB

June 3rd, 2011
1:05 pm

I agree with Bob on vouchers. At university level, you have a choice of public or private schools and go wherever you like. Public universities are subsidized with public funds (state and federal), but also receive tuition from the student and private grants/donations. Why not use the same model for primary education?

For example, at this time Georgia spends $6-14K per year to educate a student, depending on county (and I suspect that is only operating funds, not capital). This falls short of some private school tuitions. Many families could afford to make up the difference, opening private education to more students. Other families could attend a public school at no additional charge.

I would alter Bob’s message in one way. We cannot save all students, but any student CAN succeed with the right support. Some students need more challenging curriculum; some need more structure and discipline; some may need additional support beyond the classroom like healthcare and family counseling (Harlem Promise zone). Putting everyone in the same environment based on age and location rather than need, and expecting optimal performance is fruitless.

Duped no more

June 3rd, 2011
1:13 pm

You can bet your bottom tax dollar that the contract-less employees of these 16 charter schools are jumping ship as I type. A spokesperson for one school crows to the media that “we’re transparent through this process” and “we’ve told parents everything we know.” Yeah? Well what about your *staff*?? If these schools do somehow remain open, parents are going to be less than thrilled when their kids are being taught by hired-at-the13th-hour, third-rate teachers because the original and formerly dedicated staff got tired of being fed BS like “the contract’s in the mail.” Loyalty is one thing, but being misled is a completely different story. Those of us who have other opportunities will continue to support the charter movement as we draw paychecks elsewhere.

thomas

June 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

@ bob leblah at 12:33

Don’t parents (and maybe children) sign some “contract” when they enter a charter school? Aren’t places like Kipp schools known for dismissing their students rather quickly?

Snellville mom

June 3rd, 2011
1:31 pm

@ Well, I can not speak to all but I can say that most charter schools, including some already approved by local counties are done on a lottery system. They do not know who is being selected as each candidate is given a number and that number put in a bucket and a public lottery is held to draw numbers to fill the seats for the school.

thomas

June 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

“In the end it comes down to a funding issue,” said Barge.

He is absolutley right, and it is about the time that the Legislature start funding the public schools as required by the formula.

Burned by virtual

June 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

@duped no more…. Here here to your comment. After the contract is in the mail, your check is in the mail too, one day…. Maybe. Don’t count on it!

Dunwoody Mom

June 3rd, 2011
1:38 pm

It is a sad day when our legislatures are more interested in the outcomes for the few thousand that attend these charter schools, but cared not a whiff when the “normal” schools were being anhiliated funding wise.

Support staff

June 3rd, 2011
1:38 pm

Like “duped,” I potentially have a position at one of the affected schools. While I can empathize with the frustration over not knowing whether I will actually have a job in the fall, I don’t think it’s time to abandon all hope yet. There’s no single magic bullet that makes a charter school more successful than a traditional public school, but a necessary ingredient is the quality of the staff and their dedication to alternative, student-centered approaches to education. That’s why I’m going to stick it out: I’ve waited for years to be part of such a team, and I’m not giving up now.

Furious Styles

June 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Its OPEN Season on Charters in Georgia.

Duped no more

June 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

Hope that idealism puts food on your table! Best of luck.

2nd grade teacher

June 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

I guess, what I fail to see is, if all schools be came charter or private schools, how will they really be any different than they are now? And what would become of the kids of certain populations? (meaning esol and spec ed services, which many charters and private schools don’t offer)

My next question is, if you want to be able to be involved in your child’s education and feel its important, why does it seem on this blog, that the only way to do that is by going to a charter or private school? Do teachers not encourage that in your school? I am just curious because this year I had 19 students, and 8 parents that helped in my room regularly and then 3 more that helped occassionally.