Speaking of charters, DeKalb nixes several this week

Speaking of charter schools, I caught part of the DeKalb Board of Education meeting earlier this week where the board rejected applications from Ivy Preparatory Academy to open girls and boys schools in the county.

The review committee deemed the applications incomplete and preliminary and cited several problems, most notably a lack of definite sites or facilities for the new schools. The applicant hoped to open in southwest DeKalb, but had no real specifics, according to the Nicole Knighten, interim director, Governmental Relations/Special Projects for the district.

Ivy Prep operates an all-girl charter school in Gwinnett that now enrolls DeKalb residents. “We need to bring our children home, if we can,” said DeKalb board member Sarah Copelin Wood. “It seems economical and expeditious to being these children home from Gwinnett, if possible.”

In addition, the board delayed action on Peachtree Hope Charter, leading to fears that the 600-student facility on Memorial Drive will not survive the dismissal of the management company Sabis, a worldwide for-profit school management firm operating in 12 countries.

The school’s own board kicked Sabis out on June 3, which also left the school without a curriculum since Sabis provided curriculum along with management. I have talked to some very frustrated parents who wonder if the school can get it together in time to win county approval and open in August.

The board also turned down an application from Media Arts High School, again citing vague plans to open in Avondale Estates but no definite location, Knighten said. The review team also said a plan to use tutors was not fully developed and critical partnerships were not in place.

In a general comment to the audience, interim school chief Ramona Tyson said the district had to ensure that any charter school petitions “meet every standard. We have a responsibility to not allow charter petitions to get through that do not meet state standards.”

Facilities are a major challenge for all new charter schools, although I would think the empty commercial sites throughout DeKalb and the system’s own closed schools would offer plenty of options.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

45 comments Add your comment

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 14th, 2011
10:10 pm

Atlanta mom

July 14th, 2011
10:21 pm

What would be the incentive to approve any charter school if the good Gov. Deal is going to come in and fund it with state dollars?

Maureen Downey

July 14th, 2011
10:25 pm

@Atlanta, Erin Hames emphasized that the funds were just for one year so these schools will have to eventually address their long-term funding situations.
Maureen

ANGELA

July 14th, 2011
10:27 pm

I know one thing if DCSS accepts to open any charter schools and don’t give us back our money taken they are going to have some p—– teachers. We have taken a lot and still performed our jobs. Ramona has a salary of over 230k and we still performed our jobs. And, that was a true slap in the face to all teachers. Now you are looking at another slap in the face by opening some charter schools. We currently have 4 furlough days. How much do they expect from teachers? We have not had a raise in five years. Our cuts in pay have not and more than likely will never be replaced. Many have had to make deep financial adjustments to no avail. How much do you expect for us to take?

Yes, we have jobs but stop the bull. We are not earning 230K and able to maintain our bills. I am more than appauld at how Administrators are taking from their staff and they are sleeping well at night. Bev Hall is not going to give her half mil back. I don’t why anyone would be stupid enough to ask.

I had a conversation not to long ago about Ramona and someone said she is doing a great job and deserves the increase in pay. Well, I can guarntee(sp) you she does not do half as much as teachers in any form or fashion.

Retired SE GA Teacher

July 14th, 2011
10:39 pm

North Carolina seems to have the charter school issue worked out. Should GA investigate how they do this?

Dr. John Trotter

July 14th, 2011
10:45 pm

Charter Schools are not the answer to American Public Education (APE). They just pick-and-choose their students via manipulative ways (interviews, detailed application processes, lotteries in which the non-caring parents will not participate in, etc.). The public schools need to address the discipline (or, rather, the lack thereof), loosen up the curriculum (by getting away from the idol worship of standardized tests), and allow the teachers to teach, to be creative, and to do what they know to do with the children.

Charters, charters, charters. Just red herrings so that the powers-who-be don’t have to tackle the real thorny issues.

Old School

July 14th, 2011
10:46 pm

Angela…

I can see through your comments how emotional you are about this. I’m sure when you calm down you can write a much more coherent blog with much better punctuation and spelling.

we r b ing n fected

July 14th, 2011
10:52 pm

Remember “No Child Left Behind” was based on a lie. Rod Paige, the former Sec. of Education under W. Bush from 2001-2005, was superintendent of the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Largely based on the success of the HISD, labeled the “Texas Miracle”, “No Child Left Behind” was drafted and voted into law.

Except the “Texas Miracle” was not true. Over 3,000 High School dropouts were labeled as “transfer students” instead of dropouts, dramatically lowering the dropout rate. Instead of changing answers like the Atlanta teachers, Houston’s principals made sure the lowest performing students did not take the standardized tests. I guess it is not surprising that legislation based on fraud is still creating fraud in our educational system.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/06/60II/main591676.shtml

Struggling Teacher

July 15th, 2011
12:29 am

Good. All energy and all funds deperately need to be poured into the public schools.

BehindEnemyLines

July 15th, 2011
1:03 am

re: “appauld” … Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you (at least allegedly) a public school teacher, a fine example of what your money is being wasted on. If I were a DeKalb taxpayer appalled is among the things I’d be, along with desperately trying to get the hell out of DeKalb. That much I can “guarntee”

BehindEnemyLines

July 15th, 2011
1:05 am

On the bright side, at least this space provides regular doses of unintentional comedy … usually around the time we hear from the most overpaid hogs to ever feed at the public trough.

kariqua

July 15th, 2011
1:05 am

First of all, the same people who are complaining are the same people who voted for Sonny Perdue and our current Govenor Nathan Deal. Look, you fell for the bananna in the tailpipe again. Perdue promised the Educators/Teachers a raise before he was elected. This was just to get your vote. My good old buddy Nathan Deal did the same. Now, this guy has some nerves to approve $10 Million to support these charter schools and the teachers/educators haven’t had a raise in five years. I bet all the county school board members get raises every year and then go have all these lavish parties at their big homes laughing and joking about the teachers. What a bunch of scavengers!!

Speachless

July 15th, 2011
2:16 am

Tax payers in Dekalb County should have a right to send their child to which ever school that they deem appropriate for their child. The property tax dollars that are allocated for the schools should follow that child. The traditional public schools in South Dekalb are horrendous to say the least. I’m not blaming the teachers. Thank God that my children have completed their education requirements. I diligently worked with my children at home and would be safe to say that their performance was not based on the Dekalb County Schools environment (educational system). I have often witnessed a number of teachers and administrators in DCS who were well below the expected professional levels to educate any one’s child. I have totally changed my views on the Voucher system. Bring on the Voucher. My children were robbed of their education and my tax dollars were misappropriated. There have been a number of occasions where I witnessed teachers inappropriately dressed. Administrators, Teachers and students should be required to wear uniforms. Also re-evaluate and re-train each “educator” every year. Most are there just for a check and not the children, a total embarrassment. Good Luck parents, Thank God my children are out of DCS.

Fred

July 15th, 2011
2:35 am

ANGELA: Really? You are complaining yet as a teacher you don’t know about spell check? I mean just damn. What exactly ARE you teaching your students. Obviously you aren’t an English teacher.

I hate to use typo’s and such as an “arguing point” but just damn woman. You are attempting to make an argument for more pay and such. I would argue that you should be fired. You are LUCKY to have a job as pathetic as your “argument’ is.

Come on girlfriend, don’t ‘take” anymore. Go get yourself that high paying job your literary skills show you are qualified for. (I’ll bet you didn’t even know I ended that sentence with a preposition. I’d bet you don’t even know what a preposition is and that it shouldn’t end a sentence).

Really? YOU are the cream of the crop? Educate yourself before you educate our children.

But back on topic: I see that many of these “charter schools” are run by for profit companies. We ALL see how that has worked out in for profit colleges. The ones cited in the article have no plan for anything except how to get the dollars. Angela would be a perfect fit for them as a teacher.

You know the sad thing? She’s not even ashamed. She’ll come back with a “good excuse.”

She doesn’t “rep” the many fine, dedicated teachers we have who are underpaid, over worked and most certainly over regulated. Instead all we hear from is the queen of the bottom feeders. She did nothing more than add fuel to the idiots who want to further cut spending on education.

We need to find a way to educate our children AND get rid of ignoramuses like Angela. The money wasted on HER teaching a class could be used in a pay raise for 4 or 5 qualified teachers.

I wish I could teach. I really do. I don’t have the gift. I couldn’t teach a pack of starving dogs the route to a slaughter house if I had a pocket full of bleeding steaks. So I don’t teach. Perhaps Angela should follow my example. I can at least use spell check.

Now having written what I did I’m sure there are at least 5 grammatical errors in my post………..

John Q Public

July 15th, 2011
7:12 am

Nancy Jester is the only DCS board member who is more interested in the well being of the individual child and not the well being of the system. There is a difference.

Atlanta mom

July 15th, 2011
8:02 am

Maureen,
According to the AJC Gov Deal has a “deep commitment to charters” This is so out of the blue, why should anyone believe it’s a one year deal?

Maureen Downey

July 15th, 2011
8:25 am

@Atlanta mom, I am assuming that the governor expects a legislative fix to somehow legally create a state body to approve charters.
Maureen

Dedicatedandtired

July 15th, 2011
8:50 am

Yes, because close toed shoes, panty hose and suits make teachers better at their jobs. Yes, making teachers physically uncomfortable helps students. Ridiculous! How about just a reasonable dress code written by administrators who have the (insert word of choice, mine rhymes with alls) to enforce a policy.

WasIdealistic

July 15th, 2011
9:20 am

@Fred You make a good point. The overall standards in the southern parts of the three big metro school system are shockingly low. Often the teachers and administrators do not speak or write standard English very well. I saw match teachers who couldn’t explain intelligibly what an algorithm is, let alone grasp the practical applications. Lots of people from HBCU’s and with on-line degrees. Very few people with good degrees. They will let TFA in for a while, but even these kids make a lot of them very uncomfortable, because they are so much better educated. It’s hard to imagine these black-dominated systems allowing an influx of bright, well-educated people who look different. It’s just the way the culture is. Unfortunately, one of the consequences is that most of the children who go through these systems don’t have a chance in today’s world, and their communities are becoming even more isolated, impoverished, and thus “disposable.” The symptoms are all over the news. I know. I tried. I concluded that the segregationists have won. I know Nathan Deal is delighted to be able to show his electorate that, once again, a black-run system is corrupt to the core.

Cindy Lutenbacher

July 15th, 2011
9:20 am

I really agree with Trotter that charters are not “the” answer to improving our public schools. I only wish to note that there are charter schools with great intentions and there are charter schools that have questionable motives.

For example, Kindezi School only works with low-income families and students in the West End, and its head takes home a barely-squeaking-by salary. International Community School was created to serve both U.S.ian (my invented word…) students and children who are survivors of war (officially, refugees). The faculty/staff of both schools are unbelievably devoted, caring, giving people. I’m glad that their respective systems support them.

On the other hand, I cannot imagine my tax dollars going to a “for-profit” charter. The abiding goal of such is to take in a profit; children are secondary.

It’s heartbreaking to see that there are folks, such as “for-profit” charters and all the corporations raking in billions off standardized testing, who saw/see our children’s education as a cash cow waiting to be milked.

Charters not magic bullet

July 15th, 2011
10:28 am

No one said charters are THE answer to fixing public education. But to totally castigate them is ignorant, especially when you consider how well many of them – not all – are doing.

And the fact the DeKalb school board member said “…we’ve got to bring these students home from Gwinnett …” speaks volumes. Those students DON’T WANT to come “home” to DeKalb. If they did, they wouldn’t have gone to Ivy Prep in the first place.

It is their CHOICE not to go to a school in DeKalb. The fact that DeKalb has decided not to fund the education of those children is deplorable! It speaks to the REAL intent of most school boards and school board members. It’s not about the kids, as it should be. It’s about money and politics. Such a shame!

@WasIdealistic

July 15th, 2011
10:56 am

Why take Fred’s poignant comments and turn them into a veiled racist rant?! If you want to spew your racist drivel, why not own up to it on your own, instead of attaching it to another poster. Be a man (or a woman)!

The fact is, there are some substandard HBCUs. But there are some substandard majority white colleges as well (Jacksonville State anyone?). Guess which school has tons more graduates working on Wall Street and in Top 100 law firms: Morehouse or UGA. Check US News and World report and they’ll give you the answer — Morehouse, an HBCU.

To be fair, Morehouse is one of the top educational institutions in America, and UGA is by no means substandard (it’s a very good school, too). The point is, there are a number of HBCUs like Morehouse (such as Spelman, Howard, Hampton and Florida A&M), that produce excellent alums doing exceedingly well in their chosen fields. To lump them into one substandard category is ignorant.

And as for TFA graduates, if you spent any time at all in inner city public schools with significant numbers of TFA students, you’ll find that many of them (not all) are not dedicated to education at all, and definitely not in that environment. It looks good on their grad school resume, but in the end, their overall plan was/is to move on to “bigger and better” things.

And many of them believe that just because they are “smart” they have the capacity to work as a teacher for two years and them jump right into administration. Very few individuals have the ability to do that successfully. As Fred so aptly pointed out, teaching is hard work. Not everyone can do it and do it well. You wouldn’t think that a two-year physician’s assistant would be capable of being an MD, would you? So what makes you think a TFA graduate could do the equivalent (become a principal) after two years of teaching?

Trotter is wrong .... again

July 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Charter schools do not “pick and choose” their students. If they did, why do so many of them in metro Atlanta “choose” to have significantly high populations of minority and poor students; populations that do not — traditionally — produce immediate high test scorers?

Charter schools are not a magic bullet. However, they are, and should be considered, a part of the solution to what ails public education in our country.

Cere

July 15th, 2011
11:56 am

@ ANGELA – DeKalb Schools have themselves opened many, many schools within the system that function as charter, magnet or theme schools. We researched this on DeKalb School Watch and found that there are literally well over 3,000 students that have transferred from their home school in south DeKalb to one of these “choice” schools. (BTW, two of our charter schools have a retired DCSS administrator with the last name Callaway and are also housed – paying rent – in properties owned by New Birth Church.) If you’d like to read more, check out our post on the subject -

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/05/north-vs-central-vs-south-whats-deal.html

nikole

July 15th, 2011
12:32 pm

@trotter is wrong….—- charters have the ability to send students back to public schools for not meeting their terms. That alone makes them selective.
please excuse any errors in my post, im typing on my nook. I am proud of my HBCU degree from Spelman, and i am quite intelligent and articulate. Uneducated teachers are a pet peeve of mine as well, but i don’t disrespect the schools they attended or the entire system they work for!

nikole

July 15th, 2011
12:34 pm

@ cere—- i have no idea how to post on your blog anymore. What’s the easiest way to get a sign in

Ed

July 15th, 2011
12:34 pm

If you will indulge me, comments on 4 above comments, and one off-topic note:

@Maureen: Existing charters have been trying for years to get access to unused DCSS properties, as required by law. The problem is that the law doesn’t specify what “access” means, leaving DCSS free to demand whatever rental terms they like. You can all imagine how that might go.

@Dr. T: “lotteries in which the non-caring parents will not participate in” does not seem to be a way for charters to choose whom they admit. To me, that seems more a matter of parental choice on the part of parents who DO care. Are parents who care about their kids to be denied a choice based on the fact of other parents being useless?

@Fred: “many of these “charter schools” are run by for profit companies.” Not sure “many” is the right term here. I’d say “too many” even though I think, at least in DeKalb, most of the charters are non-profit (the jury’s still out on the Callaway/Long charter on that score though). Philosophically, I don’t think DCSS should be funding any for profit charter, but that’s just me–I’m sure Captain Liberty, or whatever his name is, will chime in to disagree.

@not magic bullet: “the fact the DeKalb school board member said “…we’ve got to bring these students home from Gwinnett …” speaks volumes” Are you new here? :) That was Sarah Copelin-Wood. She doesn’t care about bringing the kids “home”–she wants to bring any money she thinks goes with them back to where she can spend it.

OT: comments on 2 recent DeKalb stories: 1. How does Ty Tagami write a whole story on refugee kids and school in DeKalb without mentioning the International Community School? . 2. How can April Hunt write a story on the property tax hike in DeKalb without at least acknowledging that the lion’s share of property tax revenue goes to DCSS?

DeKalb mom

July 15th, 2011
12:37 pm

Maureen, Ramona Tyson, interim DeKalb superintendent, was scheduled to unveil her educational plan to reverse the death spiral of DeKalb county academics at a BOE meeting this morning. Since most of us taxpayers work full time, I wondered if anyone from the AJC was present and plans to report on this?

I hope DCSS is truly trying something new rather than more scripted teaching but remain skeptical. Many suspect that this “plan’ is simply trying to throw ice water on the smoldering AYP fire that is heating up with the annual annoucement that hundreds of high school students will be allowed to transfer to and overcrowd a handful of schools unlucky enough to be classified as “receiving” schools?

How come this is always a huge DCSS problem?

DeKalb mom

July 15th, 2011
12:41 pm

Sorry for typos above. Make that an “announcement”

nikole

July 15th, 2011
1:08 pm

@ dekalb mom— check dekalb school watch blog, someone may post on this meeting there.

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

@Fred,

Thank you so much for your comments. I hope that you have a wonderful life. However, you advocate that I be fired. I suppose you spend a lot of time on this blog correcting people on their grammar, spelling, etc. I gather you have nothing else better in your unhappy life than to belittle others.

“Come on girlfriend, don’t ‘take” anymore. Go get yourself that high paying job your literary skills show you are qualified for. (I’ll bet you didn’t even know I ended that sentence with a preposition. I’d bet you don’t even know what a preposition is and that it shouldn’t end a sentence). ”

But, because you are so perfect you still posted with ending a sentence with a preposition.
Hugs!
*******************************************************************************************************************
@Cere,

Thanks!

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
5:05 pm

@Dekalb MoM,

Sorry for typos above. Make that an “announcement”

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
5:10 pm

@ED

many of these “charter schools” are run by for profit companies.” Not sure “many” is the right term here. I’d say “too many” even though I think, at least in DeKalb, most of the charters are non-profit (the jury’s still out on the Callaway/Long charter on that score though). Philosophically, I don’t think DCSS should be funding any for profit charter, but that’s just me–I’m sure Captain Liberty, or whatever his name is, will chime in to disagree.

****************************************************************************************************************

Question – is the Callaway/Long Charter that of former Frankie Callaway area super of DCSS?

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
5:11 pm

@ED

or Frankie’s husband?

Digger

July 15th, 2011
6:24 pm

Hard for Fred to type with one hand.

Ed

July 15th, 2011
6:33 pm

Angela–
This is what I was referring to. Per DeKalb School Watch blog (don’t worry Cere, I made sure I got the right Calloways!):

Destiny is housed in a former DCSS school building sold by DCSS to New Birth Church back in 1992 for $150,000. New Birth pays about $6,700 in property taxes on the property. (You can look this all up at the Tax Commissioner’s website.)

Destiny is thus in a building owned by New Birth with principal Clarence Callaway and the Leadership Academy is in a wing of New Birth Church (with a contract for $10,000/month in rent) with principal Frankie Callaway. Both Callways (married) are retired DCSS administrators.

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
7:32 pm

Ed,

Thanks! We are referring to the same Callaways! Their son was recently in some trouble about beating a student at the school where he worked. But, now has been moved to another school.

dekalbite@Behinde

July 15th, 2011
8:39 pm

Enter your comments here

dekalbite@Behind Enemy Lines

July 15th, 2011
8:41 pm

“If I were a DeKalb taxpayer appalled is among the things…”

So where is your comma after taxpayer? “If I were a DeKalb taxpayer, appalled is among the things…” Before you criticize another’s grammar, make sure your own is in order.

ANGELA

July 15th, 2011
10:33 pm

@WasIdealistic and @ Fred,

July 15th, 2011
9:20 am
I saw match teachers who couldn’t explain intelligibly what an algorithm is, let alone grasp the practical applications.
*******************************************************************************************************************
It is amazing to me how intelligent people such as yourself are so damm perfect (so you seem to think). No, the average teacher would not know exactly what algorithm means. However, solving problems is what we do on a daily basis. When people like you send your less than bright child to school we try to teach them. But, where the huge problem comes in is that people as intelligent as yourself spend more time on your job than with your child.

It behooves me on how many people get their rocks off by TRYING to make others seem small. The sad part is that you really end up being the small one. Please seek professional help because some where in your past someone made you feel “less than” therefore, to make yourself feel bigger and better you seek to make others (you think) feel your pain. They can’t feel your pain they only feel sorry for you. Hugs!

nikole is wrong

July 15th, 2011
11:57 pm

@nikole: “charters have the ability to send students back to public schools for not meeting their terms. That alone makes them selective”

Sorry my Spelman Sister (I went to Morehouse), but you’re wrong. Charters ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. While they have the ability to be exempt from certain district-implemented rules and regulations in exchange for higher accountability (charter schools can be closed for non performance, traditional public schools rarely are), one of those exemptions CANNOT be from a school system’s policies on suspension and expulsion. Charter school students are allotted the same tribunal rights as traditional public school students. Charter schools cannot exclude certain students from enrolling, as long as they live within the attendance zone. However, many charter schools do indeed adhere to the strictest letter of the law when it comes to discipline, something any traditional public school can do as well.

Spend time at a charter school. Get to know a charter school instead of reading/listening to the anti-charter rhetoric and they’ll seem much less scary and much more like part of the answer to the ills of public education.

Again, charter schools ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

nikole

July 17th, 2011
5:38 pm

I am not anti- charter and i did field experiences in charter schools. I think they are great, but it’s wrong to suggest that public schools are allowed to operate in the same way as charters.

Name One

July 18th, 2011
12:16 pm

Maureen,

The Callaway/NewBirth/charter school thing is CLEARLY deserving of an AJC investigation. Nothing about it passes the smell test. This was first pushed through by Crawford Lewis, but Ramona Tyson has done nothing to clean it up or fix any other Crawford lewis mess. The Central Office is still festering of massive bloat, and former Central Office administrators like the Callaway’s still receive a pay check while also receiving a pension from DCSS too.

How in the heck is DCSS not approving charter school app’s while paying Eddie Long for rent and with many closed schools available for charters????

Maureen Downey

July 18th, 2011
12:52 pm

@Name one, We have been talking about some of the issues you raise.
Maureen

Sick of foolishness

July 20th, 2011
5:47 pm

@Speechless, I take issue with a few things you mentioned. First of all, in our public schools, there are no under qualified teachers. No Child Left Behind requires that all public school educators have a degree and be state certified. All teachers in public districts are qualified. Many districts are even requiring substitute teachers to be state certified as well. Some teachers may not be very good (That’s another issue) but they all meet the minimum qualifications. Now, the same rules do not apply for charter schools. I want you do conduct a little experiment. Go to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and run the name of any teacher or administrator of one of these charter schools through the certification channel. It is public record. If the individual is certified, their name and certification fields will appear. If they are not, it will either indicate “no record found” or there will be an expired record. I will bet you money that there are more than a jaw dropping number of teachers and administrators who are NOT state certified working at your local charter school. Charter schools are not the solution. I believe they are a huge part of the problem. Another statement you made regarding teachers makes me believe that you are one who has difficulty seeing teaching as a profession. As a teacher, I should not be required to wear a uniform. There is a standard professional code of dress that professionals such as myself are required to comply with. The real issue is the effectiveness of that teacher and how that is truly measured. I am tired of my tax dollars being wasted in charter schools led by wild card boards and administrators that are insanely political.