Charter school conference converges on Capitol today

The National Charter Schools Conference concludes today with a rally at the Capitol where pro-charter school legislators will speak.

Speakers at the 11 a.m. event include former Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Howard Fuller, Georgia House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, and state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, D-Austell.

The conference has had an impressive slate of speakers, beginning with President Bill Clinton and Newark Mayor Cory Booker on Tuesday. (These speeches are now online so you can watch them here.)

On Wednesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke via conference call from his office in Washington.

Essentially, the secretary told charter supporters to spread their good ideas; he praised collaboration between charters and districts, as is occurring in Denver; he held out Common Core Standards as a boon to states and charters rather than a straitjacket and he said the only help the feds can give underfunded charter schools to get more cash is to use its bully pulpit and its incentive grants to prod states into more advantageous charter funding policies

He noted that the feds are a small part of education funding, providing only 8 percent of overall funding. The rest, he said, comes from state and local funds.

Duncan urged charters to get into the turnaround school business. His agency is focusing on turning around the lowest-performing schools by replacing management and staffs in some instances.

Duncan set out three areas for charter schools to get more involved:

  1. Help take to scale high performing academic models.
  2. Work with districts in greater collaboration, especially in the ever challenging area of facilities. Charters should share their innovations with districts, as well as learn from districts so good ideas are spread, he said, adding,  “The goal can’t be to save some children and let others struggle.” Duncan said.
  3. He urged charters to get involved with their state education reform movements, including creating new teacher evaluation tools.

Duncan took questions from the audience, most of which had to do with funding. But his answers underscored the reality of school funding; it is largely a state and local issue, and the federal government can’t tell them what to do with their own money.

Nor can Race to the Top grants be used to help the 16 charter schools in Georgia who lost local funding due to the May 16th state Supreme Court decision, said Duncan, in response to a question from Nina Gilbert of Ivy Prep Academy in Gwinnett, one of the affected schools.

As to the court decision that the state’s alternative authorizer, the state Charter Schools Commission, was illegal, Duncan said that he had met with Gov. Nathan Deal and the mayor of Atlanta, although it was unclear how Kasim Reed could play a role in charter school funding for schools outside his own city.

Most of Duncan’s comments reflected his usual themes: “I think one of the most insidious things that’s happened in this country over the past couple of decades has been the dumbing down of standards for children. In far too many states, including the state I come from, Illinois, we have been lying to children and lying to families in telling them they are prepared for college and careers when, in fact, they are nowhere near ready.”

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

40 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

Note: For some reason, this will not post. Is Mr. Filter also afraid to discuss Discipline?

Maureen: When Arne Duncan and all of the other educrats, policy wonks, and politicians start talking reality, then I may pay attention to their educational drivel. But, for now, it’s just more chatter about nothing. All of these educational wannabes totally ignore the 800 pound, smelly gorilla that is walking around the nice parlor and knocking over the marbled-top furniture…Discipline. This all important factor is totally and conspicuously ignored by these educational eggheads. Discipline is “the essential fatty acid” of the Educational Diet, if you will. Our educational eggheads have totally ignored it for years (in fact, it’s not even on their radar screen), resulting in educational dementia.

Mr. Haynes and I came up with our simple “four step plan” a couple of years ago. You don’t even have to pay a conference fee or travel and hotel expenses to borrow our plan. It’s free for the taking. Aren’t we nice? Here it is…

Four Horsemen of Real School “Reform.”

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD and Norreese L. Haynes, BSBM

Reform # 1: Restore classroom discipline. Make sure that teachers are supported when it comes to classroom discipline. Order is the first law of the Universe.

Reform # 2: Realize that you cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. All of the top-down, heavy-handed snoopervision is counter-productive to establishing good teaching conditions.

Reform # 3: Put the onus for learning on the students and their parents. This is the modus operandus of the private schools, and it works. Pampering and coddling the students do not work.

Reform # 4: Realize that the motivation to learn is a social/cultural phenomenon. Teachers teach the students, not learn the students. If a student refuses to learn, then Arne Duncan himself cannot make this student learn and therefore should not be held accountable for the student’s refusal to learn. (c) MACE, September 9, 2010.

Maureen, we promise you that our “Four Horsemen” plan works, and you won’t need all of this hand-wringing over Charter School if the “Four Horsemen of Real School ‘Reform’” is implemented. All of this Charter School Movement ballyhoo results from the complete failure of the public schools to address the four points above. Instead of addressing the key factor of Classroom Discipline, the Educational Eggheads (may I coin this phrase too? Ha!) would rather give away State money on educational boondoggles. I am telling you…this stinky 800 pound gorilla tearing up the parlor scares the heck out of the Educational Eggheads like Arne Duncan. You see what is going on? It is so much easier to blame the teachers for all of the failures in the public schooling process instead of putting the blame where it belongs…on the children and their parents.

Now let me go put on some coffee…

off track

June 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

I attended the charter conference and was really distressed that a national conference was highjacked by this local political issue. If the GA legislature wants charter schools over the objections of the locally elected school boards, they need to craft a legal way to do so and put their money (not the county’s money) where their mouth is. Why haven’t they done so? Because they know that charters don’t perform any better than traditional schools when the socio economic status of the students is accounted for. You always just look at the racail makeup in Georgia, but guess what? There are alot of middle class minorities who place their kids in charters in Georgia. People need to read the reasons why the systems denied these commission schools if the first place before you go through the pain of a constitutional amendment to create yet another government office for charter schools. You already have a GADOE Charter Department. Let them do this but don’t add even more government departments to do the same job! Also, I would love to see a breakdown of the performance of the commission charter schools by SES and to the home schools from which the kids came. Then we can see if there was any difference in performance. Where is that data? Finally, how many kids are we really talking about? The 16,000 number is bogus. Most of those kids were scheduled for schools that haven’t even opened yet or were in the virtual school, which can continue to operate anyway. Too little analysis and too many political, emotional appeals happening in GA and it ruined what might have been a good conference to learn about successful innovation in education. Somebody is playing political games with this charter issue and the lives of kids. It is really sad. There is a place for charters in GA, but not based this kind of “snake oil salesmanship”.

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

Maureen: I have been trying to post my response to this conference. For some reason, Mr. Filter apparently does not like my response.

Maureen Downey

June 23rd, 2011
9:42 am

@Dr. Trotter, Your comment is now out of the filter — I think it was length.

Maureen Downey

June 23rd, 2011
9:52 am

@Off track, I was surprised at the attention to this issue at the conference as well since there are 177 operating charters in the state. I don’t foresee this ruling as an end to charter schools as local districts are increasingly aware of the parent interest in charters and I think we will continue to have more approved.
However, the commission was a way to approve charter schools that encompass multiple counties, which face a great challenge winning approval because of funding conflicts and the need to win approval from several school boards.
I also think there is a simple solution that Jan Jones and the Legislature could come up with — fund these schools fully with state dollars.
I think the state Charter Schools Association has given a lot of time and energy to this cause during the convention, perhaps too much.
Buying a coffee on Tuesday morning in the Omni, a woman noticed my name badge and introduced herself as a charter principal from another state.
She told me how terrible it was that Georgia didn’t have any more charter schools since the court ruling. I explained to her that we still had charter schools and that the ruling affected only eight that were already in operation and eight due to open this year. She was shocked as she thought Georgia had outlawed all charters based on what she was hearing at the conference about the rally today.

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
10:00 am

Maureen, Thanks! I am now armed with some chocolate-laden Folger’s Coffee and some Spring Water with freshly squeezed lemons! Watch out! I am on a roll today! But, I must limit my blogging to this morning. A meeting at the MACE Office in the early afternoon and then I have to venture into Buckhead for another meeting, and you know how Southside Boys hate to go into Buckhead. It gives me the Heebie Jeebies. Ha!


June 23rd, 2011
10:08 am

More blustering, pomp and wasted tax dollars.

off track

June 23rd, 2011
10:11 am

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought this was issue was being really mishandled by the conference organizers. I agree with you that the state should fund the charters fully. But then they would have to fund every child’s education fully, right? Don’t see that happening anytime soon! Hope Jan Jones et. al. ask for facts from objective sources about student and financial performance this time around before they put these poor kids through another mess like the one they created with the Commission. Buses are heading off for the Rally at the Capital filled with a bunch of “freedom fighters” from outside Georgia who don’t understand the issue. Sad.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

June 23rd, 2011
10:12 am

Dr. John,
I feel the need for the discipline steps you talk about, but are you sure they should apply to all teachers? Consider the analogy of giving power to presidents. A more free hand with the military sounds good as long as Arthur is in office, but if the same power is there when you elect a Stalin, it can get ugly. I certainly would want all the supports you talk about above, but I guess my concern lies with a carte blanche application of #1.

Now, #2 – #4, I’m not sure I see any problems with, as long as #2 doesn’t mean no accountability. Basic standards testing, support for teachers from administration, accountability for students – man, what are you thinking!?!

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

June 23rd, 2011
10:15 am

Dr. Trotter:

Reiterated your basic point today in a blog reponse to Diane Ravitch’s letter published yesterday in “The Washington Post.”

Let’s solve the problems of unfavorable teaching and learning conditions in our public classrooms and schools.

Thus far, only you and Mr. Haynes have the courage to address these problems in the public arena.

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
10:41 am

Dr. Craig: I will go to the Post to see Ravitch’s letter and your response.

NW Teacher: We emphasized “support,” not dictatorial powers, athough it is good for the students to perceive that the teacher’s word is “the Supreme Law of the Land.” Ha! I used to tell my students: “I am King Bow! Don’t you EVER think that you’re going to bow up to me!” Ironically, they loved it! This reminds me of the sixyt-something year old Face Book friend of my sister (a Vietnam War Vet and all) who periodically writes on Face Book how he adores and respects my 86 year old father. He says, “Your father wore me out [with a old fashioned paddle] in high school so many times! I love that man!” Kids really do appreciate loving and firm discipline.


June 23rd, 2011
11:17 am


As to your suggestion that the state simply fund charter schools out of general revenues, I have a question. I pay local property taxes to support my local school system. Why should I also have to pay state taxes to support someone else’s school system on a non-equalized basis? While general fund money goes to multiple system, it does so through an equalization formula, not through a special allocation for specific schools. Your “solution” means that general fund money can be diverted at the whim of the DOE (which may well mean at the whim of the DOE’s political bosses in the Legislature and the Governor’s Office). Your reference to Jan Jones makes my point quite nicely, I think. You wouldn’t believe that it is possible that a charter school in her district would have maybe just a little better shot at state money because she’s a powerful legislator would you?


June 23rd, 2011
12:21 pm

Could someone out there please answer this question for me? If charters are the answer, then why do we insist on tying the hands of the “status quo” public school?


June 23rd, 2011
12:26 pm

“I don’t foresee this ruling as an end to charter schools as local districts are increasingly aware of the parent interest in charters and I think we will continue to have more approved.”

Maureen – what you will see more of is district start ups, conversion charters given to school retirees to run, and third party large operators coming in with a financial win-win for a district. What will be close to extinction is the possibility and hope of an Ivy Preparatory Academy or select others across the state and nation.


June 23rd, 2011
12:35 pm

Doctor doctor doctor. Yes doctor, of course doctor because you’re a “doctor.” If Georgia school turn out people who are impressed by this garbage, there’s the real crisis.


June 23rd, 2011
12:57 pm

Let’s see… Gwinnett is expecting an additional 1700 students so they announce the hiring of 530 more teachers. 1 teacher for every 3.2 students and no one questions the math!

The Public Schools status quo is determined to bankrupt us. Even those of us without any kids in the Public School Systems are in favor of Charters, vouchers, etc. The current return on investment is just not acceptable!

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
12:59 pm

@ teacher&mom: I have been asking the same question…If Charter Schools (with less rules and regulations) are the summon bonum of public schooling, then why not free up all of the schools? The rules and regulations are strangling and suffocating the educators. Creativity has become near extinct in the public schools. Only “Roach[es]” like this. They can survive a nuclear blast. But, who wants to be a Roach? Ha!

Committed Educator and Mom

June 23rd, 2011
1:56 pm

@teacher&mom and Dr. John Trotter – I have been asking this question for quite some time. All of this energy spent on a few schools when the majority of our schools are drowning in meaningless bureaucracy and lack of funding. If the charter concept is effective, then all schools should be charter. Most locals need to reduce their central office staffing, place more emphasis on eliminating positions that are not directly related to the student, stop the snoopery, I gotcha mentality, allow innovation and creativity and increase site based management. The state seems so concerned about charters and yet give minimal attention to our needs in the local schools. I am soooooo tired of spending thousands of dollars each year in supplies, making my own copies, facilities needing repair, etc. etc. etc. Yet all the time and energy seems to be spent on charters. Why are they so different from the traditional public schools. We need help as well. There are thousands of teachers around our state that are experts in their fields, have high results, engage students and parents, and work hard to create better schools. We need help in doing so. Can the state stop reducing our funds and assist us as well?


June 23rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Dr. John Trotter – Gwinnett County Public Schools have been freed up through the IE2 contract, 13 state laws. Only problem with that – is it was a deal with the devil. The “exceeds” portion of the CRCT/GHGST testing that was sanctioned in the contract is governed by different performance goals by race within and across schools. Interesting huh ?


June 23rd, 2011
2:09 pm

@Pompano — The hiring of 530 new teachers has to do with replacing teachers who have retired, left that system or were not being renewed. It’s not a hiring of 530 teachers to teach 1700 kids.

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
2:10 pm

@ Jennifer: Still some catches, right? Gotta run. Meetings. You guys have fun, OK?

What's best for kids?

June 23rd, 2011
2:13 pm

George, your property taxes are going to fund QBE which is rob from the rich and steal from the poor equalization funding that was established in the 80s. So, in essence, your local property taxes may not be going to your local school.
I agree with many other posters on this. Allow for local control, and the students will succeed.


June 23rd, 2011
2:18 pm

Ladies and gents, the conference hosts (from Georgia) – who did not organize the conference – were correct to use a national forum that happened to be here to criticize the state Supreme Court ruling. If the four justices and their supporters statewide wanted to avoid that, they could have easily done so by voting another way.

The ruling was a sham, made up language that is not in the Constitution, and was written so broadly that it has put at risk laws in many other areas of our economy. It has even put at risk all state funding of public education. If you don’t believe me, read the motions and briefs by your Attorney General and the state’s Chamber of Commerce.

Secretary Duncan encouraged charter advocates to use their bully pulpit, and the Georgia charter leaders did and will continue to do so. All’s fair.


June 23rd, 2011
2:30 pm

@ committed educator and mom- AMEN!

A Conservative Voice

June 23rd, 2011
2:36 pm

@Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2011
10:41 am
“Your father wore me out [with a old fashioned paddle] in high school so many times! I love that man!” Kids really do appreciate loving and firm discipline.

You know John, I agree with you (I know that’s a relief for you) on the discipline thing; however, kids today don’t have the respect for authority they once had…..even a thirteen year old girl will tell you to GTH if you try that stuff……John, political correctness is/has ruining (ed) our country. Until we stop this nonsense (it has to start at the very top) nothing’s gonna change. Now go to Buckhead and have a good time…’s actually pretty nice there, they don’t bite……long, long ago it was the home of one of the Atlanta School System’s finest high schools….N. Fulton High School……

off track

June 23rd, 2011
3:01 pm

Charter Starter – I support charters as one part of a portfolio of good school offerings for parents and you are completely wrong. I read the Constitution and the ruling and the Supreme Court was correct. The responsibility for the Commission fiasco lies with sloppy legislators who didn’t take the time to write a strong charter law that helps all the children in Georgia. The Supreme Court simply pointed out the obvious problem – unelected appointees have no authority establish schools for the citizens of Georgia and use tawpayers dollars to do it without any oversight at all. The SBOE does not have the capacity to monitor individuals schools. That’s what the county systems are for. If the SBOE or a county system is not doing the job, we need to fix that, not add unaccountable political appointees to the mix. The racist slander that the conference spewed was shameful, completely undermined any credibility the Georgia charter school leaders had, and got in the way of what should have been a conference focused on quality education, not petty politics. I will encourage my charter to withdraw its membership and my elected officials to seek information from more credilble sources, like the 177 charters who seemed to be able to work with county systems and local elected citizens to try innovative approaches to improve education.


June 23rd, 2011
3:23 pm

The problem of making every school a charter is this: Charters can mandate some things that regular schools don’t think they can mandate, such as parental attention, or civilized behavior. ‘Oh, we can’t do that” say the regular public schools, yet they have requirements every day. Kids have to come to school with clothes and shoes on. Kids have to be registered to go to school. Kids with certain illnesses have to leave school. Why, if schools can mandate some things as a condition for use by the family, can they not mandate other things?

So, in order to ameliorate the problems regular schools face, how about the state and local boards take the bulls by the horns. Think of what the charters offer that other schools do not, and offer them to all students! Things which all schools need to have, such as solid academics, enforced behavior expectations, and parents who see the school as ONE venue for learning, for example. It makes a pretty poor statement that public schools get the refuse from the other schools.

off track

June 23rd, 2011
3:35 pm

Catlady, I agree with the thought, but what makes you think that just because a school has the word “charter” in the signage that it offers all these better things? Some traditional schools are doing wonderful jobs and some charters need to be closed down. Some traditional schools need to be closed as well, but when a system tries to do that, they get their heads handed to them on a platter. Look at what happened when Fulton County offered a beautiful new building for the families of Milton and just needed the parents agree to attend. You would think the school board had insulted them by dumping millions of dollars into their kids’ education! If Milton parents don’t want the building, I can think of a couple of good charters who could use it! So it isn’t as easy as you make it sound. Some systems might resist change but most parents absolutely hate change, even when it is of benefit to the community and the kids.


June 23rd, 2011
3:39 pm

Duncan’s words, “I think one of the most insidious things that’s happened in this country over the past couple of decades has been the dumbing down of standards for children.”


He is correct that there is a WIDE miscorrelation between the several states, and what passes for standards in one state are a mere shell of what the standards should be. In many cases, in essence, what ever the teacher wants to teach is OK.

But sadly, “the most insidious things that’s happened in this country” regarding education is an over-reliance on standardized testing as a means to measure performance. It has driven us down unimaginable paths.


June 23rd, 2011
6:15 pm

@ teacher&mom “Could someone out there please answer this question for me? If charters are the answer, then why do we insist on tying the hands of the “status quo” public school?” I’ll respond to that. First, @catlady is correct that charters are allowed to opt out of some local and state regulations, while creating their own, like uniforms and parent involvement. And, if your kids don’t fit in that charter’s culture or refuse to comply with their directives, where do they go? Back to their neighborhood public school! I had a few like that in my classes these past two years.

I think you know that charters are not the answer, but have become part of the noise and confusion as people to find a 1-fits-all approach to education, which is the opposite of what Albert Shanker, liberal educator, former head of the AFT and initial proponent of the charter school model, intended. Shanker, and other like minded educators, wanted to help the neediest students–those most in danger of becoming curriculum casualties–to benefit from: non-traditional organizational models specifically designed to meet local needs. Somehow, this has gotten perverted to becoming alternatives to high-priced private schools for middle-classed families. Students, who are hard to serve because of unstable families, physical and learning disabilities, irregular attendance records, etc., are not the primary population of charters. This iteration of charters doesn’t give teachers greater autonomy to serve disengaged or troubled students. It’s become big business with for-profit national companies controlling or advising local administrators. Still, data doesn’t show that the efficacy of charters, overall. I don’t follow the financials, but I understand that many charters have budgets that far outstrip their public peers as well.

I think it’s easy to find fault with huge, bureaucratic institutions like public ed, but I feel there’s too much throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Keep in mind, despite what the media spins, public schools are enrolling a more diverse group of kids than ever, graduating more kids than ever, sending more kids to college than ever, while identifying more students with disabilities than ever. Granted, there’s a lot of work still to be done. I caution people not to do like some of my peers and let childhood nostalgia erase educational history. It took court cases and legislation in the 60’s and 70’s to give a free and appropriate public education to all English language learners, students with disabilities, children of migrant workers, etc. We all know the same existed for racial segregation.

Read more about Shanker and charters in Diane Ravitch’s review of “Waiting for Superman”:

BTW, I taught in NYC, where parent choice gives you many options, and definitely leads to creating healthy competition for students and teachers. The NYC teachers’ union even runs several charter schools. GA parents should have charter options, but need to be informed that different doesn’t mean better.

Dr. Monica Henson

June 23rd, 2011
6:55 pm

@ teacher&mom “Could someone out there please answer this question for me? If charters are the answer, then why do we insist on tying the hands of the “status quo” public school?”

Local school boards are perfectly free to authorize charter schools within their districts, including independent charters, LEA startups (charter schools started by the district itself), and converting currently operating district schools into charters. They are also able to apply for Title 20 waivers of the same regulations that charter schools are able to waive via chartering. Well then, why don’t they?

The answer is actually quite simple. It is a matter of power and control. In order to have a charter authorized by the State Board of Education, the applicant school (whether independent or a district school) must be able to satisfy the SBOE that the school will be able to govern itself, free of interference by the district or other educational management organization. Charter schools must be governed by a board of directors with sufficient autonomy to operate the school independently. Very, very few boards of education are willing to grant this.

District authorization of a charter school means district control of the dollars. Local school autonomy means the site-based governing board controls the dollars. This is, in a nutshell, the reason why the seven districts sued the state for creating the Charter Schools Commission–to prevent districts from losing control of the money.

Dr. Monica Henson

June 23rd, 2011
7:14 pm

@Dr. John Trotter’s post, “putting the blame where it belongs…on the children and their parents.”

This summarizes quite succinctly everything that is wrong with the unionista mentality and demonstrates why education reform is so desperately needed. I don’t disagree that administrators need to support teachers in maintaining classroom discipline; nevertheless, teachers have a far different idea of what “support” means. Most teachers I have worked with (in five states on the East Coast) define “administrative support” to mean that when the teacher wants to kick a kid out of the classroom, then the office will take the problem off their hands and the teacher can then move ahead unfettered by the responsibility of managing the problem within the classroom if possible.

Removal of a student from a classroom should be a LAST resort, and exercised ONLY after the teacher has demonstrated, via documentation, a concerted effort to address the problem. This is where administrative support needs to be provided–helping teachers to develop classroom cultures of respect and responsibility, clearly delineating for students precisely what behavior is expected, and further describing how infractions will be handled. In my professional practice as a principal, I have used the “3 strikes” rule for minor disruptions, which comprise about 80% of classroom management problems (Center for Teacher Effectivess).

The teacher should first establish the rules and expectations, then teach what compliance looks like. On the first infraction during a class period (this is for middle and high schoolers, as elementary schoolers need a slightly modified approach), the teacher should redirect the student and continue to teach. If the student disrupts again, then the teacher needs to apply a consequence, such as assignment of detention or other treatment that conforms to school policy and has been discussed and cleared in advance with the assistant principal for discipline. On the third disruption in a class period, the teacher should be able to notify the office and have the student removed.

I am completely comfortable as an administrator to suspend a student for one day if I have to come and remove him/her from the classroom, as long as the teacher has (1) redirected and (2) applied a teacher-assigned consequence, and the student persists in disrupting the classroom. At the point that one of my teachers has notified me to come remove a student, I knew that there had been two disruptions already, and I would have the teacher’s documentation to support my own decision and documentation. In-school suspension under my administrative direction has always been miserable for students, in that no talking is permitted whatsoever, ISS “inmates” are isolated from the rest of the students in the cafeteria, and sleeping, listening to music, etc., is forbidden. ISS is not a counseling session, it is near-solitary confinement, and I trained my ISS supervisors to refrain from any behaviors that might unintentionally make students actually want to be there.

I always have spoken in advance with my teachers as a group to come to a consensus with them on infractions that would warrant an immediate removal by an administrator, such as violence, cursing a teacher, etc. I also worked intensively with them to identify what is reasonable to expect in terms of administrative support for minor infractions that should be handled inside the classroom. The key is clear communication up front, teachers following the process, and administrators providing the follow-up afterward. Simply allowing teachers to kick kids out the door whenever the teacher is annoyed is not administrative support, but educational malpractice.

off track

June 23rd, 2011
9:12 pm

Dr. Henson, As an employee of Edison Learning, one of the largest and most profitable chartering companies, I don’t know if I can really accept your theory that systems only deny charters for the money. Your for profit company has failed a large number of kids across the country and I have heard it has a pretty poor reputation for bad management of schools. (I have friends in NOLA although maybe that is just their experience and not documented.) One way or the other, aren’t your comments a little like the pot callling the kettle black? High sounding words, but you’ve got your own profit motif for speaking, don’t you? Read the GA Constitution. The Commission law was very poorly written, period. Our legislators can do better and they will if they stay focused on the kids and not on big business. The money issue you assert as foundational wasn’t even addressed in the ruling. However, I think the money might be a motivator for some of the for profit companies to try and get their hands on the taxpayer dollar. Sorry, but I have to disagree with your assessment.

Active in Cherokee

June 23rd, 2011
10:53 pm

Thank you Dr. John Trotter and off-track for some wonderful arguments. The ‘press’ the recent Supreme Court ruling got at this conference was ridiculous. I think what people seem to forgot with the ruling is that it did not ban Charter Schools in the state. In fact there are well over 100 charter receiving some public funding operating in Georgia right now. Each of these schools operates in co-ordination with the local county school districts and have varying levels of success – just like any other school format (traditional public, private, magnet, and whatever else you want to throw in).

What the Supreme Court decision said is that the state could not tell the local counties how to spend their money, meaning the Commission was unconstitutional because that’s what it was doing. What if the state formed a commission that told local authorities how to spend local money with the Police Force, Firefighters, Sewage, Town Beautification, or Transportation services. Obviously those things would get a swift public outcry against them. What if the National Government did the same thing with the states…….oh wait a minute, they already did that with NCLB, and we see how that’s working out.

Local Funding = Local Control – Hopefully the Supreme Court decision sent that message to the politicians under the Golden Dome.

Active in Cherokee

June 23rd, 2011
11:46 pm

BTW – good article in the AJC concerning the proposed Cherokee Charter School. It presents some of the arguments from both sides (though doesn’t show any real date as presented by both CCSD and CharterSchoolsUSA). Huge board meeting on Friday with an open floor for discussion – Cherokee HS auditorium, 6pm. Get there early as seats may be at a premium.

Darren Beck

June 24th, 2011
12:06 pm

No offense intended, but take it if it works better for your weak-kneed paradigm, but some of you from Georgia are exactly the nattering nabobs Mayor Booker mentioned in his speech to the NAPCS’ conference. The issue at hand is that 16,000 GEORGIA students have been disenfranchised by GEORGIA’s Supreme Court. That is THE issue. Not whether or not a national conference should or shouldn’t shine a spotlight on such an issue nor whether or not a bunch of “freedom fighters” from across the country should head to a rally in support of those 16,000 kids, YOUR kids! The issue is where the hell were all of you? You should not, charter or traditional supporter you may be, for one moment judge the intentions or efforts of others who are genuinely trying to serve students in increasingly better ways. Far too many of you are okay with drop out rates that are killing this country and your own state. Too many are willing to protect a failed status quo and way too many are willing to simply sit back while a State Supreme Court hands down such a BAD decision! Thank God there are people in this world who continue to fight injustice, who want nothing more than to see EVERY student succeed. Wake up, folks, and get rid of the blinders about traditional vs. charter and decide to simply to do the right things for your kids–don’t leave it up to a bunch of national “freedom fighters,” of which I am proud to have been part of!

The week in blogs « School Board News

June 24th, 2011
12:42 pm

[...] Mayor Cory Booker — all pretty measured, mainstream folks. But attendees at this week’s National Charter Schools Conference in Atlanta were also subjected to some ugly and inflammatory rhetoric from people trying to cast traditional [...]

Larry Major

June 24th, 2011
7:19 pm

Actually, Darren Beck, the real issue is people like you, the charter principal from another state and countless others who are stone clueless about what happened.

The lawsuit was only filed AFTER the Commission over-funded Ivy Prep by $1300 per student – money which they got by taking education funding away from all other Gwinnett students.

That’s ALL other Gwinnett students.

It hurt the kids in system schools and kids in charter schools, including the independent charter school that opened the year before the Commission existed.

You support taking money away from over 150,000 public schools students to shower it on 200 kids in one Commission school. Don’t pretend you support education because we know better.

Listen to informed, real charter school supporters like “off track,” who are the future of the charter school movement that you and your kind so severely damaged.

CharterStarter, Too

June 25th, 2011
4:00 pm

Larry – MUST we go through this again? Ivy was NOT overfunded by $1300 per pupil. Read the law (again) – you may not agree with the law, but that’s what it said at the time. And if it was JUST about Ivy getting overfunded, then how come Bulloch Couty et. al. jumped on? Power and money that’s why. And the kids were left hung out to dry.

If it’s NOT about power and money, then let’s see if districts start to charter high quality schools and show some true partnership with the charters they have already authorized.

The conference used the national platform because it’s a national issue….several states have alternative authorizers or legislation on the table.

Mr. Beck, hats off to you! Keep fighting the good fight for kids!


June 28th, 2011
10:07 pm