Another skirmish in charter schools war of words. Gwinnett charter fires back at Wilbanks.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal spoke about charter schools at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo & Job Fair in front of an audience that included longtime Gwinnett schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.

Deal was explaining his support of the constitutional amendment on the the Nov. 6 ballot that will expand the state’s ability to approve charters schools even over the objections of local boards of education.

“In many parts of our state, students are stuck in schools that are failing and … are not making adequate yearly progress, ” the governor said. “We must ensure that those students and their parents have a quality public education system for their future and the future of the state of Georgia.”

Deal cited Ivy Preparatory Academy in Gwinnett as an example of a successful state-approved charter school. He said Ivy Prep outperforms local schools, a claim that Wilbanks later disputed.

The AJC reported:

Wilbanks said after the luncheon that the governor was apparently given the wrong information on Ivy Prep. He said the school may be “good, but it is not one of the highest-performing schools.”

Test scores at the charter school peak in sixth grade, its lowest grade level, Wilbanks said. He attributes that to the fact that most of its sixth-graders were in the county’s traditional schools in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Wilbanks said charter schools are not the issue.

“This is about expanding state government, ” he said. “It is about bypassing the elected boards of education and leaving it in the hands of seven bureaucrats [with a state charter school commission] who are going to approve and decide on the funding without any accountability to the taxpayers.”

That comment led to this rebuttal sent to me last night by Nina Gilbert, executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academy, Inc.

She writes:

Gwinnett County Public Schools leaders have fought Ivy Prep since we opened our doors. The school board has toyed with our charter and our students over the last five years by denying, suing, approving and significantly underfunding us, and then abruptly ending our charter contract once they determined that we didn’t have enough revenue.

We, however, have not allowed Gwinnett school board’s actions to distract us from our mission.

Improving access and equity in public education is a civil rights imperative. All students deserve a free, high quality, public education, and when a school has an unsuccessful track record, parents should have the inalienable right to choose a more suitable environment.

We are grateful for the parents and children who have chosen us. Many of our kids have never experienced success, and come to Ivy in search of it. We call them scholars, and they respond in kind. The consistently successful academic performance of our scholars is evidence of what is possible when social change is embraced rather than feared.

Despite receiving less than half of the funding of other Gwinnett public schools, our scholars routinely outperform their peers from their home schools. This has been accomplished without the latest technology, textbooks, school buses, gyms, labs or the latest curriculum trends.

We have proven that even with limited funding, it is possible to close the achievement gap between minority and white students.  The number of students who have joined our rosters from other districts, states and countries is proof that the demand for educational choice is not just a local issue. (One family left Africa to enroll in Ivy Prep after finding us on the Internet.)

Gwinnett Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recently made statements alleging that student performance at Ivy Prep drops off after the sixth grade, and that our school’s success should be attributed to the education students received at their neighborhood elementary school before transferring.

We have dozens of scholars who didn’t attend a Gwinnett school before enrolling. And dozens more who didn’t feel challenged enough in their Gwinnett schools. It is disconcerting that the academic success of minorities, who have been traditionally underserved in this community, could be so callously minimized when the educational outcomes for children of color in Gwinnett are so strikingly disproportionate.

Obviously our district does not oppose charter schools as a choice for certain students, as the highest performing high school in Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, is a district-created, state-of-the-art charter school that serves gifted and talented students.

Unfortunately, there is a low probability that many African-American, Hispanic and students with disabilities will have access to this great option, as this is the subgroup that is most frequently processed through Gwinnett’s disparate discipline system. More than 8 in 10 Gwinnett alternative school students are minorities and are educated on campuses that produce more dropouts than graduates. Coincidentally, that same population is thriving at Ivy Prep.

In 2012, there are Gwinnett students, who because of their zip codes, have been sentenced to schools with average graduation rates of 47 percent. We work hard to combat this trend and believe that our “middle school to college” model promotes a culture of high expectations and achievement. Although we’d prefer all of our scholars to remain with us until they graduate, we are elated when our scholars, who have been taking the SAT since sixth grade, are accepted into magnet and theme schools that align with their career goals. Some receive scholarships to elite boarding schools or acceptance letters to prestigious metro Atlanta private schools. We prepare our scholars to leave us with the confidence and academic ability to be successful anywhere. We embrace and respect choice, even when the choice is not Ivy Prep.

The millions in public dollars that Gwinnett Schools has spent on legal and lobbying fees to wage war against us, and preserve local control over public schools and funds, could have been used to “fix” some of the public education problems that opponents of the referendum are so concerned about.

We will remain steadfast in our relentless pursuit of academic excellence for those who many have forgotten–the children. We ask that parents be allowed to make their own educational choices.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

122 comments Add your comment

Tired of the Twists

August 30th, 2012
5:24 am

Reading the twists spouted out by everyone is so tiring. A main reason charter schools might be seen as more successful: people CHOOSE to go there. This means the students have the support of a home system that cares, and will participate in the student’s education. Hmm..where does that leave the kids with no support? Regular public schools, who are still supposed to perform at a higher level, with even less financial support. Having taught in a charter, the key is parental/guardian partners with the school, and any kid can succeed.

Ron F.

August 30th, 2012
6:35 am

Unfortunately, while many charter schools are working well within school systems, Ivy Prep has become a political football being lobbed back and forth. I’m afraid having Deal’s endorsement is a bit like having the mark of the Devil to many, and anything accomplished is overshadowed by the political gamesmanship that has become all to obvious in this state. I don’t trust Deal any more than a used car salesman hawking a battered Impala as belonging to the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena, and that’s not good for the charter school movement. I understand Gilbert’s frustration, but she better put on her hip waders; the political war that pits her school at the center of conflict is far from over, and she and many others need to cautiously evaluate the “support” offered by Raw Deal and the gang.

crankee-yankee

August 30th, 2012
6:46 am

“Unfortunately, there is a low probability that many African-American, Hispanic and students with disabilities will have access to this great option…”

Ms Gilbert insinuates minority students are unlikely to be chosen to attend GSMST. This is untrue. I know of numerous white students, former students of mine, not chosen who more than qualified to attend. The selection process is strictly via lottery. Every child has the same chance to be selected no matter what their skin color.

Sounds like a racism ploy. Something I have always equated with an inability to cite actual facts.

dc

August 30th, 2012
7:36 am

this pretty much nails the issue….local school systems clearly view state chartered charter schools as competition for their money, and will in way too many cases do all they can to get the school board to drive the charters out of business. Thus, unfortunately, the need for another group that can ensure that parents and students have viable, adequate options.

Holly Jones

August 30th, 2012
7:40 am

Thus the current role of the state BOE to hear appeals of denied charter applications. Notice that Ms. Gilbert didn’t address the second part of Wilbanks’ statement, about the actual intent of the legislation.

“Wilbanks said charter schools are not the issue.

“This is about expanding state government, ” he said. “It is about bypassing the elected boards of education and leaving it in the hands of seven bureaucrats [with a state charter school commission] who are going to approve and decide on the funding without any accountability to the taxpayers.”

CharterStarter, Too

August 30th, 2012
7:41 am

@ Crankee-yankee –

Look at GSMST’s demographics. Is it not just a tiny little coincidence that they have 55% of their students in the gifted program and .1% SPED students? The school district has been reported multiple times for violating the law.

This school was started by a district and is managed and governed by the district. For those of you fussing about our start up charters, what do you say about this?

Ivy – check out their demographics. They are rock stars with students and should be commended for their work with them – not sold short by folks like Alvin Wilbanks who allows blatant disregard for the law to occur in his district.

Gwinnett County plays by their own rules – they have fiddled with numbers, told blatant untruths to parents, teachers, community members and the media, spun information, and have played with childrens’ lives.

jd

August 30th, 2012
8:07 am

Why are we so hot to let a board of unelected folks in Atlanta take money away from the local schools where we elect the members who make those decisions?

Solutions

August 30th, 2012
8:28 am

Hypothesis: If we send low IQ students to high IQ schools, the low IQ students will magically become smart and score much higher on standardized tests.

Wrong, after age 10 IQ is pretty much fixed. Mixing low IQ students with high IQ students will slow the progress of the high IQ students, frustrate the low IQ students, and mask the dismal performance of the low IQ people in the average score for the school. Of course this masking effect is what school superintendents are after, they imagine the public is too stupid to see that overall performance has actually gone down. This test has been run literally thousands of times, and the result is always the same. Why not segregate the low IQ students into special schools that cater to their abilities, while doing the same thing for high IQ students? Oh, wait, that is what is happening with private schools, and to some extent with charter schools. The only problem is the low IQ students are being held hostage by the public school system and all of its hanger on’s.

Mitch

August 30th, 2012
8:29 am

jd, how many times do we have to repeat this, state charters DO NOT take any money from school districts. No matter how many times you say it, it will still be false.

Mikey D.

August 30th, 2012
8:31 am

@jd
“Why are we so hot to let a board of unelected folks in Atlanta take money away from the local schools where we elect the members who make those decisions?”

Because too many in this state are blind followers and don’t bother taking the time to research and find the truth for themselves. We’re living in the soundbite generation…

CharterStarter, Too

August 30th, 2012
8:33 am

@ Ron F. – Hi! I was hoping you’d pop up on one of these blogs, as I always enjoy discussion with you (even when we disagree). Did you happen to see the information I posted re: Baker County? I was very curious to know your thoughts on that.

DeKalb Parent

August 30th, 2012
8:46 am

Thanks, Mrs. Gilbert. Because of you, I am grateful each and every morning that I can choose to send my two precious children to your school. Like many of your parents, I live in south DeKalb, in an area with some of the worst-performing schools in DeKalb. Like many others, my home value is underwater and moving to a new area is not an option for some time.

Since starting at Ivy last year, my daughter’s confidence has blossomed. She participates in Ivy’s Ambassador program and has already mastered the art of public speaking. She has been taught effective note-taking methods and has increased her knowledge retention. She has excellent teachers that communicate with us as much as needed. Some even give us their cell phone numbers and ENCOURAGE us to call after hours.

Yes, Ivy Prep is an outstanding school. And I believe that it has become a target by virtue of the fact that it is delivering a great education…YES…for less than half the funds per student as Gwinnett. I predict great graduation rates for the first senior class at Ivy Gwinnett. Now where are the rest of the schools using all their extra money? Ivy should be a model, not a target!

Ronin

August 30th, 2012
8:54 am

Mr. Wilbanks stated: ““This is about expanding state government, ” he said. “It is about bypassing the elected boards of education and leaving it in the hands of seven bureaucrats [with a state charter school commission] who are going to approve and decide on the funding without any accountability to the taxpayers.”
Be it local or state government, either way it’s still a government run operation. As to the shot that “it’s in the hands of seven bureaucrats”. Well, the last time I reviewed national testing data, Georgia is at or near the bottom scores. How can you make a cogent argument to maintain a failing system? Simply put, you can’t. This is about money and maintaining a state sponsored business model, nothing else. It’s not about improving public education or offering students another option to traditional district schools.

Georgia k-12 students have become political pawns in a government school funding war.

Mr. Deal is in favor of offering the parents of Georgia children the freedom of choice in public education.

Tony

August 30th, 2012
8:57 am

Ms. Gilbert deserves an applause for telling the truth. Oh yes, Wilbanks would say that the only reason students are successful and peak is due to their previous experience in traditional settings. Everyone needs to understand that yes, Gwinnett has the charter high school. Visiting the website for the school, the first initial image of a well designed site is an appeal to say the least. Take a look at Maxwell High School of Technology website, that sits on the same property and you will notice stark differences. One serves students perceived as going to Ga. Tech and Cal Tech, the other serves students perceived as going to Gwinnett Tech and Athens Tech (if that).

I agree, I do not wish for the state to have increased power and grow itself, however, Mr. Deal probably believes this is as close to “choice” as one may get with charter schools. The main difference between a “real” charter school and traditional county school is this. “Real” charter schools are nearly always founded and started with the vision of a private person who has no connections or ties to the local board of education and believes that they can bring more creativity and change to the status quo of what happens in traditonal schools. I guarantee you that Ivy Prep uses very different instructional methods than any other similar school in Gwinnett. This is because they can focus on the students that attend their school and not have to conduct themselves exactly like another school that may be located in Sugar Hill.

Similarly, the Gwinnett School of Math, Science, and Tech is very different from Meadowcreek. Not only the courses they offer, but look at these examples. 1). Engineering students converse via video conferencing on a big screen inside the classroom with Dr. Such and Such on the EN Nautilus in the Agean Sea. 2). Physic students were given protractors and stop watches to determine the height of the basketball goal. 3). Students communicate with students in Mexico during a CISCO Telepresence.

This is great, the experiences these students will gain are priceless, however, students in Meadowcreek are bored because they are answering the 15 Review Questions at the end of the chapter (Boring….find the answer that’s already in the book). Students at Central Gwinnett are listening to a lecture about the French and Indian War (are you serious…..let me get some sleep).

I hope you get the picture.

Judy

August 30th, 2012
9:00 am

Ms. Gilbert, I am so impressed and inspired by your consistent heartfelt desire to educate children. Unfortunately many people that regularly post on this site are only focused on money, not students. Please do not get discouraged, please continue to work with your students and encourage them to push past the hate that is so evident. Also know that Wilbanks is way past retirement age, as are most of the board members. Hopefully, they will throw in the towel soon (because they are control freaks – HIS way or no way) and then we can see a change from the 20th century to the 21st century. Many are stuck in the past and they have to be pulled into a new era kicking and screaming – or simply left behind. The charter school amendment has my vote and I will do all that I can to ensure that others know what is really going on!

CharterStarter, Too

August 30th, 2012
9:14 am

@ Ronin – I totally agree.

I might add that the only reason the Commission would authorize charters other than the 16 we currently have would be because of district unfairness. You can’t “by-pass” something that gets a chance to make a decision. The districts will get the first shot at a decision. All they have to do is be fair.

Isn’t it paradoxical that the districts are so fearful of the Commission authorizing tons of new schools, and yet, they hold it in their hands the power to avoid that very thing from happening by showing fairness and integrity? I’ve said it so many times – they are the masters of their own destinies and their own worst enemies.

It looks to me like they don’t trust themselves, and looking at Dr. Barge’s projections of 7 new Commission schools a year, it looks like he is anticipating at least 7 unfair or mistaken decisions per year by the districts. It’s a sad state of affairs when you don’t even trust yourself.

CharterStarter, Too

August 30th, 2012
9:17 am

@ Crankee-Yankee – Crickets are chirping….you didn’t respond to the data I provided and the implausibility of the district having ethical enrollment practices.

That seems to always be the case on these blogs. You provide some actual, verifiable data that, and the opposing side clams up…

Whirled Peas

August 30th, 2012
9:30 am

Wilbanks can’t understand why charter schools are so popular?

“It is remarkably difficult to make a man understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.“ Upton Sinclaire

J.B.

August 30th, 2012
9:53 am

Charter schools, whether locally approved or state approved, are the most direct form of education choice possible. Like your local charter? Enroll your child. Don’t like it? Don’t enroll. If people like the charter school, it stays open. If they don’t, it will close. State approved charters don’t take a single dollar from traditional public schools or local charters, as the funding comes from a completely separate allocation. State approved charters like Ivy simply provide one more option for parents who feel their child is not adequately served by their zoned school.

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
9:58 am

if Nina Gilbert is so concerned about students being sentenced to bad education via their zip code, nothing is stopping her and Ivy Academy from setting up free classes in these neighborhoods.

as for…….. “Unfortunately, there is a low probability that many African-American, Hispanic and students with disabilities will have access to this great option…” what a pant load.

I support the concept of charter schools, but I’m getting sick and damn tired of some of their proponents – yes Nina, I mean you- of dragging out the same stupid tired old racial strawmen to attempt to browbeat their opposition.

Holly Jones

August 30th, 2012
10:00 am

“The districts will get the first shot at a decision. All they have to do is be fair.” And if, in the eyes of the applicants, the locals aren’t fair, they can go to the State BOE. How many times does it have to be said? This process is already in place. The is no need for another committee. Period.

“jd, how many times do we have to repeat this, state charters DO NOT take any money from school districts.” Do we have to go back to the pie analogy again? There is X amount budgeted at the state level for education. Let’s say there’s $100 for 10 schools coming from the state. That’s $10 per school. If we add 5 more schools, then there we’re dividing $100 by 15 which means $6.66 per school.

Let’s skip ahead to the “but there are fewer students in the original 10 schools.” argument that I know will come. True, there will be fewer students in each school, BUT, the buildings won’t get any smaller, nor will their maintenance and utility costs. Additionally, since charters generally have smaller student populations and they generally can pull from all schools in a system, they aren’t causing wholesale reductions in the original schools’ staffs. Only a handful of kids leave any given school, and these kids don’t all come out of one class or even one grade level, so the number of teachers and their salaries remains the same. Yes, they still have the local portion of funds, but if anyone thinks that won’t change if the amendment passes, you are dreaming.

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
10:02 am

since Nina is mostly likely waving the Norcross/Meadowcreek banner, a basic reminder set in reality:

if a community has a low graduation rate, or places a low value on education, that is a direct reflection of the communities values. it is not an endorsement or condemnation of charter education

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
10:03 am

@ Holly

that’s why charter schools need corporate community partners to defray the costs.

Jimmy

August 30th, 2012
10:03 am

@Ronin You said: Georgia is at or near the bottom scores. That is true but that’s the state average. Gwinnett is above the National average.

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
10:05 am

I do agree Wilbanks time has passed and he should ride off into the sunset

Cellophane

August 30th, 2012
10:29 am

Charter schools cannot have it both ways. You cannot brag about how you do it cheaper and then whine when you don’t get the same dollars– especially when you do not provide the same services (transportation, school nurse, technology, etc.) or when you serve very few kids from the district population who are more expensive to educate. There is an average cost per child. A middle of the road child with no special needs and no gifted ability costs less than the average to educate. If the majority of a charter school is kids with no special instructional setting designation (few if any ESOL, special ed, remedial ed), then it is logical that your funding should be below the district’s average. Remember, the money should follow the child, right?

Bernie

August 30th, 2012
10:30 am

My fellow Georgians, DO not Get Lost in the WEEDS of the Charter School Fight. We must focus on the end goal of the Governor’s Plan. That end Goal is a ultimate issuing and implementing A STATE WIDE SCHOOL VOUCHER PAYMENT SYSTEM.

The Charter School debate is a RUSE, to keep you distracted and appeal to the Liberal Intelligentsia. The Governors Game is an OLD SOUTHERN trick called playing ” POSSUM”.

Many at the Dome are quietly snickering as many of you, get ALL Twisted about this SHORT term plan. The Real DEATH BLOW to Georgia’s public education system is to come after what follows, a well thought out plan that is designed to FAIL. This has been a long term goal of The Republican Party and as in Condi Rice’s speech last night, Its still the plan of the DAY, going forward.

Ronin

August 30th, 2012
10:35 am

@Jimmy: Gwinnett is above the national average, as well as several other counties in Georgia. However, this isn’t about Gwinnett, it’s about all 159 counties in Georgia and the options (or lack there of). Simply put, that appears to be part of the problem, each county protecting its on fiefdom.

In many Georgia counties, the largest single employer is the county school system. That in itself offers the opportunity for a great deal of political capital and local jobs. Charter schools will also offer local jobs, however, they may not offer politicians the same political leverage.

Pompano

August 30th, 2012
10:45 am

@Whirled Peas nailed it in her post. Emperor Wilbanks does not want his authority usurped! Much harder to do those shady land deals with your buds if you have to use the funds to actually educate the kids.

Excellent response by Ms Gilbert.

catlady

August 30th, 2012
11:01 am

Until the state FULLY FUNDS EDUCATION, no charters should be approved except those by their system. None of this “extra money found” from the state!

If you borrow, and keep borrowing money to pay your mortgage from your brother in law, but instead of paying him you go on an expensive vacation year after year, you gotta expect he’s gonna be ticked off. The state of Georgia “can’t afford” regular public education, but it can find “magic dollars” for state-approved charter schools?!

Amanda

August 30th, 2012
11:04 am

Willbanks complaining about “7 bureaucrats” that make decisions he doesn’t agree with? Priceless! I feel the same way about him and his “5 bureaucrats”.

If he doesn’t want charter schools to exist – don’t give parents a reason to need a choice.

Ivy Parent

August 30th, 2012
11:04 am

@Bootney,

What are you drinking? Mrs. Gilbert needs to teach classes for free in bad neighborhoods?
Give me a break. Great school. Great leadership. Tax money well spent.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

August 30th, 2012
11:14 am

Is JAW’’s ensconcement in the Educrats’ Hall of Fame(Infamy) so secure that he can survive not only a massive underreporting of serious misbehaviors in the GCSS but he can also survive this fracas with parents who know how to move and shake?

Judy

August 30th, 2012
11:16 am

@Bootney… you don’t have a clue about education…. the State DOE has stated that schools must close the achievement gap…. Guess what Bootney, that’s what EVERY state is responsible for doing. Check out the CCRPI then talk – go to the GaDOE website and then type that in and do a search, then it will come up. Ivy Prep is simply doing what the state has required and what society needs!!!! Educate students are visit them in prison – what do you want? CHOICE – why is that so hard. School districts can let go of the reins a little. Stop building new schools at $25 million a pop that house 700 students, use that money IN EXISTING classrooms – what a thought.
Bernie do you work for Wilbanks?

Judy

August 30th, 2012
11:17 am

Hermione

August 30th, 2012
11:56 am

@Amanda: Willbanks’s 5 bureaucrats are elected by Gwinnett County voters. Why don’t we vote them OUT? Then you might see real change in GCPS.

Jerry Eads

August 30th, 2012
11:57 am

Holly, nicely done. And accurate.

Bernie makes an interesting argument, one that might not be far from target. But I’m not sure the objective is to completely dismantle the public schools. What could be more the target is to resegregate the schools without calling it such, leaving the present public school system as the “separate but equal” alternative for lower income families, while upper income families are free to take their kids where they wish and have the taxpayers fund it. Social mobility has for many years been a stated goal of our republic as well as its public school system, yet the well-to-do are getting rapidly more well-to-do and the rest of us – the middle and lower classes – are getting quite rapidly less well-to-do (including the suckers who continue to believe the rich are going to help them). A resegregation of the nation’s schools might be very effective in accelerating the segregation of the society.

Amanda

August 30th, 2012
12:04 pm

@ Hermione-already there! Big and public supporter for the District 3 candidate Jen Falk. Not supporting the incumbent and really wish I could vote against all current incumbents.

Bernie

August 30th, 2012
12:49 pm

Jerry Eads @ 11:57 am – my Friend one of the long held planks of the Republican Party is to dismantle the Department of Education. This a goal that is being planned even at the STATE level to insure its achieved. Do not be fooled by today’s Republicans. When they tell you this is a GOAL! They Mean IT!

We ALL had better wake UP before its TOO late!

Ron F.

August 30th, 2012
1:19 pm

@Charter Starter 8:33: I did see the data on Pataula and Baker you posted, but it’s been hectic out here in the country lately, so I didn’t get to respond. Since you mention it…

Pataula’s got some good numbers, but what I see behind the numbers is what I worry about in the rural charters. Here’s the breakdown:

Pataula: 75% white…Baker: 76% black
Pataula: 54% FRL…Baker: 83%FRL
Pataula: 5.4% Spec. Ed….Baker: 15.5 % Spec. Ed.
Pataula: K-6….Baker: K-12

Considering those numbers, you’d expect different results. I talked to a friend from down that way, and he said it’s pretty well known that the majority of white kids go to the charter school, so it’s expected to do better. Every time I hear somebody around town here talking about charter schools, it’s usually followed by the notion that “we’ll get our kids away from those kids”…and everyone knows who’s who. Charter schools are in a unique situation in the rural counties and need to be carefully planned to attract a similar population to the districts they serve.

I’m not knocking the school, and it posts some awesome achievement numbers, but it really isn’t fair to compare it to the county school. I would love to see a comparison of individual scores for the top ten students by grade level for the two schools. That would be the only valid comparison, in my opinion. Pataula’s doing it a lot cheaper, and I’d be all for looking at those expenses a lot more closely. As small as the town of Newton is and the fact that the entire school system could fit in the cafeteria at my school makes my eyebrows raise looking at expenditures. I wonder if anyone is watching the hen house down there. Sounds like the fox has the key!

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
2:29 pm

@ Ivy Parent

exactly what problem do you have with Nina putting her money and her effort where her mouth is?

1-children
2-poor children
3-minority children
4-handicapped children
5-”the man” keepin’ them down

straight out of the left of center, blame someone else but give me what I want playbook

if she really believes what she says….get out in the community and actually do it

bootney farnsworth

August 30th, 2012
2:32 pm

@ Judy,

a lovely rant, but has nothing to do with my point.
would you care to try again?

DeKalb Teacher

August 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

Why are people calling Charter Schools a “Republican Agenda”? Obama is a HUGE proponent of Charter Schools – http://www.barackobamacharter.org/.

The only people around here against the Charter Schools Amendment are the Superintendents Association and various other special interest groups.

Another comment

August 30th, 2012
2:51 pm

That is another issue that needs to be looked into the number of kids receiving SSI Checks among certain minorities vs whites.

My former house keeper who had been a friends nanny for years before they moved out of town felt comfortable talking to me because she knew I was liberal. She said to me one day why don!t you have your kids signed up for SSI, they would qualify. They have ADD and ADHD? She said her got $670 per month from SSI for her oldest. I would over hear her repeaditly when she should have the kids she was the Nanny for that they mentioned that she didn’t believe in the ADHD Meds and had not had him in therapy in years. Meanwhile, my kids took medication so they could concentrate an get A’s went to a Doctor monthly and therapists weekly or bi-monthly. I would never think of apply for SSI for my Children for SSI for ADD an ADHD. I also found when they were in Catholic school that in my daughters 8th grade class half the kids were on ADHD or ADD drugs. Were these folk collecting SSI, nope and you can’t get free lunch in Catholic School.

When my one gIrl friend was getting a divorce and I was trying to help her fillout the financial forms for Usher’s favorite Judge, qit was clear that her husband and accountant never declared. More than $17k in self-employed earnings. She has an autistic son. I asked her if she was receiving SSI for him? She was like what? I said yes you will need a curren test and we can apply but you will receive $680 a month. Here she had been trying to scrape up money for special private schools.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 30th, 2012
3:06 pm

Holly Jones posted, “True, there will be fewer students in each school, BUT, the buildings won’t get any smaller, nor will their maintenance and utility costs. Additionally, since charters generally have smaller student populations and they generally can pull from all schools in a system, they aren’t causing wholesale reductions in the original schools’ staffs. Only a handful of kids leave any given school, and these kids don’t all come out of one class or even one grade level, so the number of teachers and their salaries remains the same.”

This is part of the inside-the-box thinking that keeps district public schools in the thrall of the anti-innovation-unless-we-thought-of-it-ourselves crowd. It’s a common argument against charter schools: they don’t pull enough students out of any one school or grade level to “allow” the district to reduce the staff or reduce the fixed costs of the operation of the physical plant.

The problem with this argument is that (1) it removes the focus from academic achievement of the kids inside the school and places it on facility & operations instead and (2) it reveals the focus that many school boards have, which is to run the school system as a jobs program for adults in the community, garnering political support for those board members who ensured the employment of so-and-so’s nephew or sister-in-law.

As long as district public schools cling to the idea that we must keep all kids in age-based cohorts, tie everyone into a 6.5 hour a day schedule with one adult in a room with 24 to 30 or so kids, employ support staff and pay salaries & benefits rather than contracting out items like food service, custodial work, and maintenance, run bus fleets for kids aged all the way 18 and 19 even if there is public transportation already available, etc., then we can expect the outcry by the defenders of the status quo to continue.

Holly Jones

August 30th, 2012
3:34 pm

Dr. Henson, it is not “inside the box thinking” to say that buildings must be maintained and staff paid. The majority of students are and will continue to be served in brick and mortar buildings with real people teaching the classes.

I am not saying that charters should be used simply as a way to reduce staff or county expenses or that we must maintain buildings and personnel as a “jobs program.” My point was to refute the idea that charter schools do not take money from the traditional schools.

I do not believe that we have to throw everything about traditional schools out the window in the name of “choice” or “reform” and reinvent the wheel. “Reform” doesn’t mean “destroy and recreate”

Rockstar

August 30th, 2012
4:05 pm

I truly believe the support of charter amendment my some legislators is more than just about the State being able to approval and fund charter schools. I realize that some are true advocates and believe in the merits of charter schools. I just don’t understand why the amendment doesn’t just give the full authority to the State Board of Education rather than creating another bureaucracy. This will open the door for more state control over the decision making of local school boards. The Governor already has the ability to remove duly-elected local board of education members for misconduct or other reasons. This seems to be another power grab by state leaders over local leaders, and for me, this is troubling! I’m sure those same legislators and the Governor would not want the President or Congress to have that level of authority over them.

Rockstar

August 30th, 2012
4:07 pm

By some legistators

Rockstar

August 30th, 2012
4:08 pm

I truly believe the support of charter amendment by some legislators is more than just about the State being able to approval and fund charter schools. I realize that some are true advocates and believe in the merits of charter schools. I just don’t understand why the amendment doesn’t just give the full authority to the State Board of Education rather than creating another bureaucracy. This will open the door for more state control over the decision making of local school boards. The Governor already has the ability to remove duly-elected local board of education members for misconduct or other reasons. This seems to be another power grab by state leaders over local leaders, and for me, this is troubling! I’m sure those same legislators and the Governor would not want the President or Congress to have that level of authority over them.

Rockstar

August 30th, 2012
4:09 pm

Excuse my errors and multiple postings