New study: Charter schools have a 15 percent closure rate

The Center for Education Reform issued a report this morning on charter school closure rates.

From the center:

Refuting assumptions and statements by opponents and proponents alike about the state of America’s charter schools, The Center for Education Reform released today an unprecedented analysis of and data documenting the high level of accountability that marks the nation’s charter schools. The report, ” The State of Charter Schools: What We Know – and What We Do Not – About Performance and Accountability.”  finds that charter schools historically have experienced a 15 percent closure rate.

The report is the first-ever national analysis regarding the number of charter schools that have closed since 1992, the basis by which authorizers ensure performance-based accountability.

“All too often, supporters and opponents of charter schools claim that bad charter schools don’t close,” said Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform. “The truth is charter schools that don’t measure up are closing at a rate of 15 percent. Regrettably, the same can’t be said for traditional public schools.”

ADDITIONAL REPORT FINDINGS:

• Of the approximately 6,700 charter schools that have ever opened across the United States, 1,036 have closed since 1992. There are 500 additional charter schools that have been consolidated back into the district or received a charter but were unable to open.

• There are five primary reasons for charter closures – financial (41.7 percent), mismanagement (24 percent), academic (18.6 percent), district obstacles (6.3 percent) and facilities (4.6 percent).

• Most charter schools that close for financial or operational deficiencies do so within the first five years, or within their first charter contract. Failing to produce audits, or conduct basic, required oversight is a sure sign that the charter school leaders are not capable of leading a strong organization. Academic closures usually take longer because it takes the whole charter term to gather enough sound data and make proper comparisons.

• The correlation between strong charter school laws, accountability and effective charter schools cannot be emphasized enough. Independent authorizers have full control over how they evaluate charter schools and have their own staff and funding streams. This enables them to create streamlined, effective tools to manage their portfolio of charter schools and close those that are not living up to their contract.

“The quality of charter schools in the U.S. is not as simple as saying ‘there are too many bad charters out there,’” said Allen. “The real story about charter school closures and accountability is that strong state charter laws and strong authorizers give schools a better chance at success because they hold them accountable and can offer them tools to succeed.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get schooled blog

56 comments Add your comment

Good Mother

December 21st, 2011
11:19 am

What I need to know about charter schools isn’t addressed in the above paragraphs.

I need to know what specific checks and balances are required to prevent theft and corruption. A charter school’s integrity is only as good as the people who manage it. I need to know what is in place to prevent the Beverly Hall’s of the world from destroying charter schools.

41.7 percent of charter schools close for financial reasons – but how much of that is closed because of financial theft and financial corruption?

We need more details. Without more indepth reporting, we as parents and teachers cannot make an educated decision.

whm

December 21st, 2011
11:25 am

So do you put FSA (which is not gone yet, but is on the ropes) in the district obstacles category, or in the operational/mismanagement category? They lasted much longer than five years. It was the payment to the educational company that was not put out for open bids that really sunk them, and brought down the ire of Fulton county schools. It certainly was not academic, they kicked the snot out of every other middle school in GA. I agree that FSA played a dangerous game of chicken with the Fulton school board in not capitulating to their demand that they only ask for a three year charter, but come on! You are really going to treat your best performer like that? Talk about cutting off your nose just to spite your face. I would compare this to baseball if there were no free agency. “Thanks for everything Mr. Pujols, but we only offer three year deals, and we are going to pay you the same as the utility infielder, but keep getting those big hits! You really are very valuable to our team!”

Halftrack

December 21st, 2011
11:43 am

What would be the closure rate be on our Public Schools if the corruption of them about the testing had been reported a long time ago? It has just been reported that another School area has been accused of delinquency of testing by former AG Mike Bowers. It seems the schools are violating the system to stay open but the students are still much poorer for doing so.

Ronin

December 21st, 2011
11:58 am

Interesting numbers. So, if your could eliminate the financial risk (41.7%), reduce the mismanagement risk (24%) and then remove the district obstacles (6.3%), you’d increase the charter school probability of success by 72%.

If you amend the state constitution to allow the now defunct state charter commission the authority to create schools, without local district oversight, then hire people that can manage money and people, you’ve got your alternative school system. At that point you’ll have parents that are involved in k-12 education that can decide what school is best for their child and hold the administrators responsible. No bus service, no whining about “you owe my child an education and passing grade”. It’s sink or swim.

@whm, it would appear that the three year contract would not be enough to justify the capital investment that FSA wants to make. Also, it’s a longer leash than the board wants any school to operate on.

There needs to be specialty options/curriculum available to students that allow direct choice on how they want to spend their day. Math, science, art, computers or fill in the blank. It’s better to graduate a senior with a marketable job skill in one two specialties rather than a general diploma with none.

d

December 21st, 2011
12:28 pm

@Ronin – I’ve said this many times on this blog regarding the Charter School Commission: who do they answer to? Not me, the tax-paying citizen. This board should not be revived unless it is an elected board. I’ve used Ivy Prep as my example. It’s original charter was denied by Gwinnett County Schools. I disagreed with decision, so I used my power as a voter to vote against Dr. McClure, my local representative. I did support the lawsuit against the state, however, because the board that granted the charter and took funding away from GCPS did not have to answer to me. Sure, I fully supported the school, just not the method. Leave the power to the voters, and I have no problem whatsoever with a charter-granting board.

Political Mongrel

December 21st, 2011
12:29 pm

Hm. Everyone expects charter schools to be shining exceptions to the local norm and to be run by exceptional people. Unfortunately, there often aren’t that many exceptional people interested in working at a charter to go around. There will always be a percentage of mediocrity at charters, just like any human enterprise.

Atlanta Mom

December 21st, 2011
12:32 pm

I’m a little confused, just need some claification Ronin. When you say “then hire people that can manage money and people”. Who is doing the hiring? The state or the local charter folks?

Greg S.

December 21st, 2011
12:46 pm

Unbelievable! 65% of charter schools close because of mismanagement & financial issues. I say this is ALL due to incompetence on the part of the school boards.

Cosby

December 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

Where Government is invol=ved, waht do you expect…Take out government, put parents in, hold them accountable and watch…but then government pays one to have multiple kids from multiple fathers..now does it not…the dumming of the USSA!

To Cosby from Good Mother

December 21st, 2011
2:17 pm

Cosby, you are such a sexist pig. Just listen to your statement.

“but then government pays one to have multiple kids from multiple fathers..”

You put all the blame on women and girls.

MEN have multiple children from multiple mothers. It’s not just the women having children from multiple fathers….

Do you actually ever listen to the stuff coming out of your mouth?

Having children from different fathers is not the cause of the dumbing of America. There are many loving, functional blended families.

The important part of education is that ALL the adults involved in education need to be honest and have the best interest of the children in mind. That includes parents, teachers and administrators.

Evolve already.

thomas

December 21st, 2011
2:38 pm

I’m not sure why these data is a proof against the claim that “bad charter schools don’t close.” So, 18% of 15% of charter schools have closed for academic reason. That’s about 3% of charter schools that have been closed due to academic performance.Are we to believe that 97% of charter schools have been academically successful – at least met the criteria set forth in their charters? Or, do we look at this data as a proof that “bad charter schools don’t close”?

Tony

December 21st, 2011
2:41 pm

And who is there every time one of these charter schools has to shut its doors? The local public schools. That’s who.

Let’s stop throwing the hard earned tax money at these fad charter schools and concentrate on working with communities to address the real issues that are holding them back. By ignoring the role that poverty plays in the blighted areas where schools are failing, we are dooming all the kids who live there to a future in poverty. Charters, teacher evaluations, and more testing will not help them.

thomas

December 21st, 2011
2:42 pm

@ Ronin,

RE: the capital investment that FSA wants to make
Isn’t FSA getting into this “investment” with two other charter schools? Isn’t the (stated) reason that the Fulton Board wants FSA to go with a 3-year renewal so that FSA will be in the same cycle as the other two? So, why is this capital investment justifinable to the other two charter schools but not to FSA?

I am also wondering if FSA really lacks the confidence that they will not be approved for a renewal in 3 years?

B. Killebrew

December 21st, 2011
3:00 pm

Tony = Awesome

Lee

December 21st, 2011
3:40 pm

“And who is there every time one of these charter schools has to shut its doors? The local public schools. That’s who.”

Yeah. The same local public school they were trying to escape from in the first place.

Charter schools, magnet schools, vouchers, homeschooling, private schools, etc, etc. Bottom line, there are a lot of people who do not like the results they are getting from public schools and want to get the heck away from them.
—————————————–

Fifteen percent failure rate? Not surprising, really. Especially given the fact that many charters had to fight the local BOE for table scraps and as a result, get zero support from them.

carlosgvv

December 21st, 2011
3:45 pm

Many charter schools are run by far-right Christians and stress the following:

1. The Earth is the center of the universe
2. The existense of God is a proven fact
3. Humans are God’s ultimate creation
4. The Bible is the proven word of God
5. Evolution is a myth caused by the Devil
6. Global warming is a liberal myth
7. A thorough Christian education is the only important one

With this kind of thinking and being managed by these kind of people, it’s no wonder so many of them fail.

thomas

December 21st, 2011
4:10 pm

@ Lee,

The report somehow discriminate “district obstacles” from other reasons. So, only about 1 % closes due to district obstacles.

I just don’t know how much “district support” regular public schools are getting that makes so much difference. Do you?

thomas

December 21st, 2011
4:10 pm

@ carlosgvv,

In what universe do you live???

The ONLY accountability is PARENT ACCOUNTABILITY

December 21st, 2011
4:14 pm

The only true accountability needed is PARENT ACCOUNTABILITY. Give every parent a voucher per child and then we will have true reform – academically and financially. Bring on A FULL VOUCHER SYSTEM !!! It is about children and parents, not the government, administrators, and teacher’s unions !!! It is our tax dollars for our children !!! P.O. your local super, BOE, and Teacher’s Union – and your local Liberal Democrats – vote for ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT RESEMBLES A VOUCHER SYSTEM !!! (And keep the GA Tuition Tax Credit Program and Special Needs Scholarship Voucher Program GOING !!!)…

Jimmy62

December 21st, 2011
4:17 pm

So when a charter school sucks, they close it. When a public school sucks, they keep it open and force kids to go there. Seems like the charter idea is gonna work better. The other way has led us to a lot of good kids trapped in bad schools with no way out.

d

December 21st, 2011
4:25 pm

@The ONLY — where is the money that you want for vouchers going to come from? How much do you pay in school taxes? I pay about $1600 a year…. so if I have 3 children, I should then get $15,000 right? Heck of a welfare payout, don’t you say? You are asking for a transfer payment. I also wonder why people push so hard for them in this blog but if you look around the country, every time vouchers have come up for a public vote, they have been voted down. South Carolina’s legislature defeated a voucher bill this year. Vouchers are not the answer. They don’t help the children who “need” them.

Oh, by the way, I encourage you to visit my union’s webpage…. http://www.nea.org – I don’t see anywhere on there protecting teachers at all costs…. in fact the first thing you’ll see is “Great Public Schools for Every Student” There’s a great article about improving teacher candidates before they get to the classroom, but then again, let’s just ignore the fact that the states with the top education systems in the country have strong unions who run the profession.

d

December 21st, 2011
4:29 pm

Beating a dead horse with this question, but I have yet to have a charter supporter really answer it for me…… if charters are the answer because they free schools of the bureaucracy of the traditional public schools, why don’t we just make every public school a charter?

Beverly Fraud

December 21st, 2011
5:10 pm

“Leave the power to the voters, and I have no problem whatsoever with a charter-granting board”

I agree with you d…in principle. But for all PRACTICAL purposes, the State Charter Commission is actually giving control BACK to local citizens, when school boards refuse to listen to their concerns.

Beverly Fraud

December 21st, 2011
5:12 pm

Many charter schools are run by far-right Christians and stress the following:

1. The Earth is the center of the universe
2. The existense of God is a proven fact
3. Humans are God’s ultimate creation
4. The Bible is the proven word of God
5. Evolution is a myth caused by the Devil
6. Global warming is a liberal myth
7. A thorough Christian education is the only important one

In other words carlosgvv, they pay strict attention to scientific principles?

Sounds rigorous!

Old Physics Teacher

December 21st, 2011
5:32 pm

Some charters closed because of BOE policies and voters (Waycross, GA). It was quite successful.

atlmom

December 21st, 2011
5:33 pm

d: the school boards HATE the charter system because they don’t control the money. it’s like having the wolves in charge of the chicken house, it’s a terrible system that the state tried to change last year but (shocking) did a lousy job of…

Ronin

December 21st, 2011
5:41 pm

ATL mom: your statement:. When you say “then hire people that can manage money and people”. Who is doing the hiring? The state or the local charter folks?******* I would allow the charter group to do the hiring.

D: your comment: @Ronin – I’ve said this many times on this blog regarding the Charter School Commission: who do they answer to? Not me, the tax-paying citizen. This board should not be revived unless it is an elected board. **** Primarily to the parent who uses their service. That allows charter schools to offer more specialized curriculum, be math, science, literature. As far as accountability, certain standards would need to me, but the goal would be a flat management structure with teachers having fewer obstacles to delivering content.

Thomas 2:42: If in capital expenditure is in fact linked to the other two schools, which will have to reapply in 3 years. They should have taken the deal and negotiated for an extended contract three years from now.

Jimmy 62: “So when a charter school sucks, they close it. When a public school sucks, they keep it open and force kids to go there. Seems like the charter idea is gonna work better. The other way has led us to a lot of good kids trapped in bad schools with no way out.” ***** Yep, that’s pretty much where it’s at.

TeacherMom4

December 21st, 2011
5:43 pm

Tony has it dead on. The reason charter schools tend to be successful is that parents who are motivated send their kids there. We have kids at my Title I elementary school whose parents can’t even be bothered to come to registration, let alone apply and fill out paperwork for a different school. My own children attend my school and do very well; I’m not just talking CRCT. They kill the ITBS. Their teachers are doing the same job for them as they are for every kid in that building. Mine succeed while others struggle. Why? We expect them to do well and demand it. I did not send my kids to school knowing how to read, and I don’t constantly enrich them with trips to far off places. But, we did raise them surrounded by books and talk with them all the time. It doesn’t take much to raise kids who will be academically successful, but it does require an attitude of expectation. It kills me that I see teachers give everything they have to kids who don’t care to learn because that is what they were taught at home or in their neighborhood.

When I see the war of words that takes place here daily, I can only chalk it up to one thing. The parents who participate here are not the parents who need to be here. That’s why they think the teachers who post here whine and exaggerate. They can’t imagine what we experience every day. I don’t blame them. I grew up in a very good area in the Northeast–private school-like experience on the public dime. Why? The community. Call for charter schools and school choice all you want. It won’t change the biggest thing that needs fixing: our society and its values.

Ronin

December 21st, 2011
5:51 pm

Beverly: your statement:”I agree with you d…in principle. But for all PRACTICAL purposes, the State Charter Commission is actually giving control BACK to local citizens, when school boards refuse to listen to their concerns.******* In a nutshell, that’s the rub. In the opinion of government, people are too stupid to make their own decisions. In some cases, that may be accurate. However, there should be an option to opt out of the traditional district school. Loss of funding control is the greatest fear of an educrat. The funding should follow the child and the school choice should be up to the parent.

Beverly Fraud

December 21st, 2011
6:01 pm

The funding should follow the child and the school choice should be up to the parent.

@Ronin, I totally agree, that would be a FAR improvement over the State Charter Commission.

I do wonder how APS would handle the sudden influx of half a million students, if parents outside the district were allowed to enroll their children there. (They’re “world class” you know)

Ronin

December 21st, 2011
6:26 pm

Hmm…. “I do wonder how APS would handle the sudden influx of half a million students, if parents outside the district were allowed to enroll their children there. (They’re “world class” you know)*****
It would depend, if there is a high degree of parent apathy, little would change. The involved parents would at least have the option to improve the education experience of the child. Currently, students are trapped by arbitrary lines on a map which dictate what school they attend. Everyone has the same opportunity to fail, so they’re equal. I find the current system draconian, regardless of the amount of money that is spent, you can’t create a positive education environment if the home environment is a war zone.

As far as APS, they would probably build something like the Berlin wall to keep the students from escaping, if they were offered a choice of another school system.

You ever notice that there are no Superintendents on the blog board attempting to defend their position? I’ve received a few e-mails back from them, they’ve never been able to make a compelling argument to support their case, it’s always generic talking points.

CharterStarter, Too

December 21st, 2011
7:14 pm

@ d – I’ll answer your question. It’s a good one.

The system charter vs. IE2 models sort of offer this idea you have in theory. But…the main reason the “system charter” idea is a particularly unfeasible one is that system charters aren’t really charter schools at all. Let me show you the main differences:

Start-Up Charter System “Charter”
* Flexibility over curriculum, finance, * Some flexibility, but follow many
personnel, etc. district policies and procedures
and org structures

* Accountability – school can be closed * Can lose their charter (flexibility) but
school remains operational

* Governance by a board or stakeholders * Governance by the traditional district
(parents and community members) with school councils with limited
decision making authority

* Staff is selected based on alignment with * Generally district staff remains
mission and qualifications

* Explicitly created school culture * School cultures are established

It is (primarily) these unique proponents that really drive the success of the 85% of charters that succeed (per the study). Don’t get me wrong – the districts NEED more flexibility so that they can implement innovative programs and organizational models They are bound by so many asinine regulations and rules that it really ties their hands. But, turning every school into a “charter” is both impractical, and as you can see, not truly happening with the system charter movement.

Most charter proponents are not trying to take over the whole system of public education….just be a slice of the pie for education options for tax paying parents. Charter schools are added value to districts, and if districts could just set aside the competitive view and not see the charters as depleting funds (as people erroneously like to say), and instead utilize the potential charters have to reach students’ needs that can’t be met in the traditional school models, everyone can win. Every child won’t be happy in a charter setting – the traditional district school works just fine for many (and I’d daresay most) kids. But every child doesn’t flourish in the traditional setting, and for those, a quality choice option should be available.

CharterStarter, Too

December 21st, 2011
7:16 pm

Oh rats, I had the difference in sort of a chart format and it showed up all squashed together. Basically the first comment under each section is related to start up charters and the second comment is for charter systems. Sorry about that.

V. Powell

December 21st, 2011
7:21 pm

Charter schools as it is called should be a component of a public school, sharing administrators and staff. There is not enough money coming in to support Charter schools, home schools,and private schools. This is a rescipe for disaster. 60 million dollars to private schools and it could be more in years to come. The money is coming from the public schools. We should organize to stop this stupid idea by bring law suits against the State and those involved in the decision.

CharterStarter, Too

December 21st, 2011
7:25 pm

I’d like to comment briefly on closures. The important thing here is the authorizer. The strength of the authorizer makes all of the difference in the world. In states with weak authorizers, the quality of the charter schools is much lower. What is a strong authorizer? Well, it’s one who has a rigorous but fair and transparent authorizing and renewal process. It’s one that ensures that charters are funded equitably (including providing facilities that are available) so that the charters are sustainable. It is one who sees the charter school as a partner in raising achievement and uses the charter in its strategic planning. And it is one who monitors appropriately (oversees versus manages) and provides clear and reasonable expectations and transparent processes in oversight.

The monitoring is the tough part. A strong authorizer has to provide boundaries (based in the law and not district whim and bureaucratic structures) but allow the charter the flexibility within these boundaries to operate autonomously. It’s a delicate balance, but an important one.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers really provides strong supports to districts and states on quality authorizing….and this includes support in how to effectively manage closure decisions.

[...] for students. Compare that to the record for charter schools. The Center for Education Reform reports that, nationwide since 1992, about 15 percent of charter schools have been shut down, for a variety [...]

Larry Major

December 22nd, 2011
5:27 am

@Ronin et al, There is no need to amend the constitution because the structure you described already exists.

Any charter petitioner who is denied by the local BOE can still be approved by the state as a Special Charter School. This gives them the same state funding as any other public school.

As soon as their petition is approved by the state, the petitioner can request a local referendum and local taxpayers make the decision concerning local funding. If local voters approve, the charter school will open with the same local funding as all public schools in that system.

The state can override what it feels is an unjustified local BOE denial and local voters can override the local funding issue. I have never understood what people think is wrong with this setup.

Ronin

December 22nd, 2011
6:18 am

Larry, I was aware that the Special Charter School provision was available, however that they were only funded with state and federal dollars. The Supreme Court 4-3 ruling granted exclusive authority of local dollars to the district school, which can then approve charters at their discretion.

The closest reference I could find was Georgia code: 20-2-2064. Approval or denial of petition.
The state Charter Advisory Committee will serve as mediator of the two parties, but I could not find the point you referenced about a local voters having the option of a referendum to vote for full funding.

If you could reference that information (source or section of the code), I’d like to review the specific details. Thanks for the info.

Larry Major

December 22nd, 2011
6:56 am

O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.1 (e) through (f) defines the process.

The formula used is defined in the same code starting at (c).

Ronin

December 22nd, 2011
7:28 am

Thanks for the update.

lyncoln

December 22nd, 2011
8:07 am

I liked what thomas mentioned in his first post. Only 18% of the 15% of the charter schools close because of academic issues. Or, roughly 3% of all charter schools were closed for academic reasons.

Does this mean that 97% of charter schools are successful academically?

There is the study from Stanford in 2009 that found that 47% of charter schools were indistinguishable from public schools in math results and that 37% of charter schools had weaker math results than public schools. Based on that I don’t think we can say that 97% of charter schools are successful academically.

I guess this study just shows us that unless a charter school has management issues or money troubles, it’s pretty hard to close the charter school.

Dr. Monica Henson

December 22nd, 2011
2:08 pm

d posted: “if charters are the answer because they free schools of the bureaucracy of the traditional public schools, why don’t we just make every public school a charter?”

Districts are able to request flexibility from rules in Title 20, just as charter schools request. In fact, they do it on a pretty regular basis, but they don’t request “blanket” waivers. One of the most common waivers requested is class size.

If every public school was converted to charter status, each school’s spending and hiring would be governed by its own board of directors, with true local control accruing to each building. The board of education in each district would function as an authorizer and overseer (except in the few cases where schools are authorized directly by the State Board of Education, in which case the local BOE has no control at all), passing dollars along to each individual charter school without the ability to restrict or control the allocation of the monies. This would constitute a tremendous loss of control over funding and hiring by the local BOE. One of the reasons why some “conversion” charters are not approved by the State Board is because the charter does not provide for true building-level control of hiring and spending but reserves that authority for the local board of education.

Ed Advocate

December 22nd, 2011
4:27 pm

This synopsis does not answer the key question of whether there is accountability for charters. The issue is not how many charter schools “close” (for whatever reason), but how how many ARE CLOSED, BY AUTHORIZERS, DUE TO POOR RESULTS. The fact that charter schools fail on their own — for financial reasons or otherwise — says nothing about accountability.

Proud Teacher

December 23rd, 2011
9:37 am

Charter schools and vouchers are sucking the life out of neighborhood schools. We need to rethink how to strengthen our public schools. The first item on this agenda would be to ditch the “cut and run” mentality. If a school system is broken, fix it! The neighborhood children deserve it. Someone created a decent school for most of your venters. Now, it’s your turn to do this for this generation of children. Money and effort needs to be put back into the local school system period. Need to fire, hire, and reorganize? Then have the integrity to do it.

Smartie

December 23rd, 2011
2:13 pm

To Good Mother:

What makes you think that a public schools are fiscally sound and that the appropriate governance is applied on them? Do you need an actual, live example perhaps? Think Alpharetta HS. Their former Principal EMBEZZELED $1+ MILLION dollars right under the nose of their management — Linda Schulz [school district Board Member who's the Board President], Superintendent, and ALL the rest of the Fulton County Tax-paying Citizens!!! You call a writeoff in excess of $1+ MIL. an appropriate level of “checks and balances” as you call for? Do you really think that the Principal did it all on her own??? That gross amount of money? You don’t think that there were 1, 2, 3 or more people in that school who weren’t privy or perhaps even a part of the Ponzi scheme? Do you think that those governing outside of this school weren’t aware that things were fishy over the years? If they weren’t, then what the heck were they doing??? sleeping on the job?

Do you need more? Do you know the amount of $$ that Fulton School system spends annually on unnecessary testing on students all under the veil of NCLB [No Child Left Behind] act?

Try to dig in further and get to know the modus operandi of the internal works of the Fulton System and there should be no surprise to anyone why it has failed AYP while other bigger systems like Gwinnett does not. It’s not about South Fulton schools not doing their share to pull up the test scores; it’s not about trying to reel in mavericks like FSA schools who get falsely accused of purchasing inadequacies when it was later proven that the Board accused them wrongly; it’s not about helping to save Fulton County Taxpayers money when in fact FSA schools run on a lower Budget/Student ratio than that of Fulton schools. What it is… it’s ALL about CONTROL and the TRANSPARENCY of the fact that even in the top-schools-clustered district of the county that a small, new, humble charter school in a warehouse can do so much more with so much less just because of the dedication, spirit, and generosity of its educators [teachers and administrators alike] to do what’s their job: getting students excited to learn. Don’t become a victim of the propaganda that the Board can’t renew FSA charter due to the lack of financial transparency… rather, turn the table around, it’s simply due to the lack of financial transparency within Fulton School System that have allowed such unspeakable events at Alpharetta HS to go unnoticed and under-reported by the media.

Smartie

December 23rd, 2011
2:45 pm

To Proud Teacher:

You write like you’re a strong member of the Teacher’s Union…. just saying. Isn’t that the same group of folks who ousted Michelle Rhee in DC for trying to improve their much defunct, sordid system? Isn’t that the same group who hates charter schools ’cause they simply make teachers just as accountable as the students for ‘performance’?

What’s ridiculously funny is that for the same reason that the Fulton School Board wants to institute a charter system [to get away from the micro-management of the state government over their use of funds, hiring/firing teachers, etc.] is the same exact reason why they want to kill the best charter school [FSA MS]. The Fulton Board wants tighter fiscal oversight (thus, the 3-year term), wants to micromanage hiring of teachers, and overall micro-manage this school who’s been perfectly fine during the past 10 years without any intervention from the Fulton Board. Wow!

Where’s the SNL writer corps? This’d make a really good skit.

Proud Teacher

December 23rd, 2011
5:00 pm

No, I am not a strong member of anything except a school staff. I thought Michelle Rhee was a mistake for DC. And I don’t hate charter schools . . . I just keep wondering why those same characteristics that draw the naive for a “quick cure” to their educational ills can’t be applied to the public school in general? Why do the charter schools get all the grain and sumptuous recipes and the public schools only get the chaff with strict dietary guidllines? Why must we continue to divide our neighborhood schools? The real division should come within a high school for vocational, college prep, and special education diplomas. This is a discussion really worth having.

Micro-managing teachers hurts everyone. Fire the incompetent and continue to employ the ones who are an asset to the school.

Smartie, you need to spend some time in a classroom and see what is really happening. Tunnel vision is never good for students on any level.

Once Again

December 23rd, 2011
5:38 pm

If schools closed because of their failure to deliver services in a manner that pleased customers and because financial support was able to be withdrawn, I would suspect that 95%+ of traditional government run schools would end up closed as well. As was pointed out above, standard government schools stay open despite abject failure while charters actually suffer loss and closure.

Of course ultimately charters suffer from the same basic fundamental problem as all government schools – they are funded through theft, are burdened by underlying government restrictions despite all the freedom they enjoy, and do not actually compete in an open and free competitive marketplace of education delivery. Like vouchers, they are functionally anchored to the immoral theft mechanism of government and so are doomed from the beginning. Tweaking a failed system will never address the fundamental issues.

Only a truly competitive free market system of education consisting of homeschooling, group schools, private schools, on-line schools, part-time schools, charity schools, and whatever else the creativity of those who choose to deliver educational services can devise, will functionally address all of the problems inherent in the current virtual monopoly delivery by government.

Why do parents continue to delude themselves in the face of so much creativity, cost reduction, quality enhancement, etc. in other areas of the economy that operate free of government interference or monopoly?

old school doc

December 24th, 2011
6:16 pm

Proud Teacher… you complete me!

CharterStarter, Too

December 25th, 2011
12:41 am

@ Proud Teacher,

I taught in the traditional public school system for many years. What I came to find in the charter sector was a freedom from the bureaucracy that plagues any large system. Let me issue a professional challenge to you…go to a start up charter school and visit. Talk to the teachers and leadership to see why the draw is. What you will find is a group of educators with a shared vision and educational philosophy and a voice in the school they teach and lead.

Charters do not have to be perceived as divisive. You could consider them for what they are – a choice for parents, students, and educators. It’s not a perfect fit for every child or teacher – everyone has a place where they will thrive, and sometimes it’s in the traditional setting, and sometimes it’s not. Charters aren’t intended to fix all of the ails of the public system, but rather, create a unique environment that meets the needs of some of the district’s students. Charters can be compared to a small, swift boat that can alter course easily to meet the needs of it’s passengers. Compare this to a barge (like a school district) that is very large, slow to turn, and hard to maneuver. Districts could really see the value in charters and take some of the successes that are working in the charter environment and disseminate them accross to other schools to support all students. Likewise, district offices and educators in traditional settings can teach the charters, too. The end goal here is for every child to get a great education. Rather than the “us versus them” mentality, we need to play to each others’ strengths, share ideas, and resources.

Check out some charters. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised.