A charter school administrator sent me a note that an ed group opposed to the November charter school amendment “posted a piece of serious misinformation on their Facebook page and web site alleging that charter schools remove students if their parents don’t fulfill the obligations they take on when they enroll their children, such as volunteer hours….It is illegal for any public school to remove a student without due process (commonly known as expulsion). I challenge them here…to name any Georgia charter school that has removed a student without due process, ever, for this reason.”
It’s a fair question.
Can anyone cite an instance where a student was kicked out of a charter school because parents failed to honor the volunteer commitment in the school’s attendance policy? (Here is a good story on the role of parent volunteers in charters.)
I know parents who have withdrawn their children from charter schools, even very good ones. They cite the same reasons that parents unhappy with any school usually cite: Their kids weren’t doing well or the parent had a beef with a teacher or administrator.
I get frequent emails and calls from parents upset with their schools, traditional, charters and privates. Typically, the calls speak to problems with class size, discipline, grading policies or gifted/special ed programs.
But charter school parents — especially those using online programs — often pose an additional question: Where do they go to complain? Charter parents are sometimes confused about their routes of appeal when they are unhappy and can’t get satisfaction at the school level. I explain that they can go to the local school board if their kids attend a locally approved charter, but that it’s unclear where they can turn if they are state approved. They may find someone to listen to them at the state level, but the question is finding someone who can also act.
A member of the state Charter Schools Commission — the now defunct commission that would be revived if the constitutional amendment passes next month — told me that parents in commission-approved charters can come to her and other commission members if stymied at the school level.
However, another commissioner told me that the commission was never supposed to act as a court of last resort for individual parent complaints, that they weren’t set up to counsel parents or arbitrate disputes between parents and charter school administrators. Nor is the state board of education interested in charter school parents lamenting how their child is not faring well or received an unfair punishment. Or whether they met their volunteer commitment.
Anyone shed any light on these issues?
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog