Charter school proponents today: Do a better job shutting down bad charter schools and opening good ones

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers wants states to do a better job of both closing bad charter schools and opening better ones. The pro charter association says its own analysis revealed that between 900 and 1,300 charter schools across the country are performing in the lowest 15 percent of schools within their state.

The association, which held a press conference today in Washington, announced a new campaign to urge more diligence in shuttering underperforming charters and more focus on replacing them with stronger options.

Here is the official release from the association:

While a great many public charter schools are among their states’ best performers and are paving the way for educational innovation across the U.S., too many are failing to provide a quality education. The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), which represents government and other entities that approve and oversee charter schools, today called on charter authorizers to be more proactive in closing failing schools and opening great ones.

NACSA issued the challenge as its new membership survey shows the closure rate for charters in renewal has doubled from year to year but is still leaving far too many schools among the lowest performers, according to state accountability data. As a result, too many children still do not have access to a quality education.

As part of the challenge, NACSA today launched its “One Million Lives” advocacy campaign, designed to provide better schools to one million children by opening more good charter schools and closing more failing charter schools.

For the first time, NACSA is urging state legislatures to adopt new laws that hold both schools and authorizers accountable for their performance. NACSA is also calling for the establishment of statewide authorizing offices because they are more likely to implement professional practices based on high standards and promote quality growth. These changes will help create more successful new schools, including replications, while facilitating the closure of hundreds of schools that are falling short.

“In some places, accountability unfortunately has been part of the charter model in name only. If charters are going to succeed in helping improve public education, accountability must go from being rhetoric to reality,” NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond.

“Many authorizers are, in fact, getting it right – and those are the ones with the best schools, including many that are educating high numbers of at-risk students. But too many others are making decisions too influenced by politics, faulty analysis, and bad laws,” Richmond said. “Our goal is to help all authorizers raise their games to meet the challenges ahead.”

According to NACSA’s analysis, between 900 and 1300 charter schools across the country are performing in the lowest 15 percent of schools within their state. While some states may have imperfect measuring sticks, too many schools are not achieving the goals promised in their charters. The bottom line is that the large number of schools in the low rung inhibits the sector’s ability to grow in the right way over the long term so more students and families can benefit from great public schools.

If authorizers are able to close the failing charters in the U.S. and replace them with twice as many excellent ones, more than one million students will have access to a quality public education, Richmond said.

“Charter schools are not the only solution in public education, but we didn’t start the charter school movement in order to create more underperforming schools,” Richmond said.

According to NACSA’s annual survey, which focuses on the nation’s largest authorizers (those who approve and oversee at least five schools), the charter school closure rate in renewal increased from 6.2% in 2010-11 to 12.9% in 2011-12. NACSA focuses on closure rates during renewal because those decisions are most tied to academic performance. Charters that close mid-term generally do so for some emergency reason, such as poor financial management, lack of enrollment, or other non-academic causes.

“While the uptick in these types of closures is a good sign, it’s imperative for all authorizers to increase the rigor of their accountability practices so that all charters are held to the highest standards of excellence,” Richmond said.

The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools has reported a 200,000-student increase in charter school enrollment in 2011-12, bringing total charter school enrollment to more than two million students, or 13% nationally. Georgia and Washington voters this month approved ballot measures creating new, statewide authorizing bodies. Washington joins 41 other states and the District of Columbia to allow the creation of quality public charter schools.

“This is impressive growth and further proof that parents and policy makers want quality, tuition-free educational choices for children,” Richmond said. “We all have important roles to play – charter authorizers, state education agencies, school operators, reform groups, policymakers, funders and others in the charter sector  and within public education – to make sure these schools are the best possible environments for children to learn and to prepare them for the future.”

By engaging authorizers and a broad coalition to close failing charter schools and open many more good ones, we can get one million more children into 3,000 high-performing schools over the next five years.

NACSA released the new data and issued the challenge at a news conference held at the National Press Club with charter school and education reform leaders from across the country, including New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, New Orleans Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard, and Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

102 comments Add your comment

cris

November 28th, 2012
10:01 am

@Maureen – just read this op-ed from Brunswick – a non-firing breathing, asking-honest-questions about charter schools.
http://www.thebrunswicknews.com/Open_Access/editorial/

red herring

November 28th, 2012
10:14 am

am all for improvements in charter schools as well as being able to have them encourage competition for students and their minds. our state government should look at a wholesale restructuring of public school administration (size and salary of county school administrations) and reducing wasteful spending—all the trips to atlanta/savannah/jekyll for educators on the taxpayer’s dime. spend some of that money in the classrooms and give some back to the taxpayers and everyone would be better off. that is one benefit of charter and private schools as I see it–the ability to have a reasonably sized administration at that school and more control over budget for excessive education trips (mini-vacations). it could be that more classes taught via computer classes with oversight by teachers would allow for a reduction in the need for teachers as well as provide better lesson plans/etc. –i know computer teaching is being used in other states now as well as for home schooled children i am sure….

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
10:22 am

While it is impossible to disagree with this, why the continued negative highlights of Charter school issues?

It is past time to put aside the sour grapes that the amendment passed, and focus on the better prospects now allowed for students and parents. There is nothing wrong with lobbying for accountability, diligence, and oversight – but such needs to be tempered with the positive aspects of Charter schools which the voters overwhelmingly support.

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
10:27 am

I’m all for shutting down bad charter schools.That is exactly the way the system is supposed to work. Shut down the bad ones,keep the good ones. Now try doing that with non-charter schools also.Charter supporters (like myself) want real choices,not the “choice” of spending more money on failing traditional schools. If a charter is not cutting it,revoke the charter. Real reform advocates know that charter schools are run by humans-fallible,imperfect humans. Sometimes they are just not that great.But the same standard should apply to traditional schools as well.

Jarod Apperson

November 28th, 2012
11:16 am

Accountability is essential for charter schools. Though some like to talk about them as a single group, their approaches and results differ widely. On standardized tests from last year, most APS charters were well above the APS average. Here are their statewide percentile ranks for 2012 CRCT exams.

Drew: 87th Percentile
KIPP Strive: 87th Percentile
KIPP WAYS: 77th Percentile
KIPP Vision: 59th Percentile
Wesley: 46th Percentile
Neighborhood: 40th Percentile

However, two APS charter schools performed significantly worse. Students at both schools rank below the 20th percentile statewide.

Intown: 17th Percentile
Atlanta Prep: 15th Percentile

I don’t know enough about Intown and Atlanta Prep to draw conclusions about their approach and performance, but I certainly want the Atlanta BOE to be taking a close look. If we’re going to fun charter schools with public money, we have to make sure they are actually achieving the goals they set out in their charter. If not, our money may be better invested elsewhere.

Jarod Apperson

November 28th, 2012
11:17 am

I should have mentioned, these percentiles are for middle school grades (6-8). Elementary is very different at ANCS.

Long Time Teacher

November 28th, 2012
11:19 am

Maybe someday we will address the core issue. Many Georians do not value education and they do not send their child to school ready to learn.

Mountain Man

November 28th, 2012
11:47 am

I wonder how many of those “failing” charter schools are “conversion” charters – just traditional schools wearing the name of “charter”?

Whats Good for the Goose

November 28th, 2012
11:49 am

How about doing the same for traditional public schools?

Grob Hahn

November 28th, 2012
12:30 pm

Will it be easier to get rid of a failing charter school than it has been to get rid of failing teachers an all of the other public schools?
Grobbbbbbbbbbb

DeKalbParent

November 28th, 2012
12:36 pm

@Centrist. I am also wondering why certain people seem obsessed with the success of Amendment One. Georgia will have good charters and bad, I’m sure.

How about some questions about why the bad area schools are not being shut down by the state?

Head Scratcher

November 28th, 2012
12:57 pm

It seems to me that some are missing the overall point that at the core of Charter Schools and the love affair that some seem to have with them are promises to meet performance measures and accountability that is missing from irrevocably broken public schools. And any schools that don’t keep these promises will summarily be shuttered. But it is clear from the data that that isn’t happening. There will always be some board member(s) who are susceptible to lobbyists and special interests to vote one way or another. Rather than elected board members, there are now appointed board members. But they are all the same people. All of them have an assortment of hyphens and acronymns behind their names. And a wealth of experience in knowledge in the field of education and know the best way to educate children.

The charter schools cure for what ails public schools is being sold in the same fashion that I think a snake oil salesman would peddle his miracle repellent/salve. Let’s slather this salve all over our children, toss them in snake pit and hope that it works. Because if it doesn’t work, the snake oil will extract the venom and heal the wound. We are sure about that much. Right?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 28th, 2012
1:07 pm

Long Time Teacher,

What are we Georgians who value Education doing to persuade our fellows about its import?

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
1:44 pm

” Rather than elected board members, there are now appointed board members.”

…Then why shouldn’t we elect school superintendents also? An elected super would have to (almost by definition) serve all stakeholders. Its possible now for superintendents to keep their jobs by only making 3 people (on a school board of 5) happy. Literally everyone else in a county could be dissatisfied with a super,but if he/she kisses up to the right 3,tough beans.

Elected superintendents.Lets go back to them.

Beverly Fraud

November 28th, 2012
1:55 pm

I think we should name all charter schools after Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, and Beverly Hall. Students, noting their unquestioned integrity will naturally aspire to do well in schools named after these esteemed educational figures.

Head Scratcher

November 28th, 2012
2:25 pm

@Snarkysnake

I whole-heartedly agree with you on the position of superintendant. They are being treated like rock stars with ridiculous riders like: personal drivers/car services, guaranteed contracts, descretionary funds, and cabinet positions for their minions.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 28th, 2012
2:27 pm

It’s important to note that most charters are NOT Independent Charters. To Mountain Man’s point, dependent charters are effectively traditional schools. Dependent charters don’t select their own principals, teachers and a whole slew of other things that separate independent charters from the rest of the traditional school district.

HS Public Teacher

November 28th, 2012
2:29 pm

This is too funny! “Shut down the bad ones and open up good ones.” Couldn’t you say that about public schools?

Charter schools have no “magic power” and cannot improve education any more than public schools. The idiot voters in Georgia have once again been bamboozled. The true reason for the charter school push is solely for private companys to swoop in to Georgia and steal our education tax dollars. They are the ones that paid for the lobbyist and the politicans to push for charter schools.

Georgia – a State that follows the path to destruction.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 28th, 2012
2:33 pm

Head Scratcher
Can you point me to anybody that has remotely said “Charter schools [will] cure what ails public schools”?

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
2:49 pm

” The idiot voters in Georgia have once again been bamboozled. ”

All you need to know about how the education looks at the people that really own the schools and employ them.

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
2:51 pm

*education = education cartel

MANGLER

November 28th, 2012
2:55 pm

Dekalb … if charter schools won’t “cure what ails public schools”, then what the hell is the point in having them?

3schoolkids

November 28th, 2012
2:55 pm

“NACSA is urging state legislatures to adopt new laws that hold both schools and authorizers accountable for their performance. NACSA is also calling for the establishment of statewide authorizing offices because they are more likely to implement professional practices based on high standards and promote quality growth.”

In other words, we want states to spend more money setting up another bureaucracy to authorize, monitor and potentially close failing charter schools, because the existing state DOE as authorizers aren’t doing the job. More bureaucracy and money thrown away. Yes, we need to close/reorganize ALL failing schools, traditional and charter. No, we don’t need more bureaucracy. Isn’t the point of Charters that they are “free” to do what works without too much regulation and that is what makes them better?

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

@ HS Public Teacher

“Georgia – a State that follows the path to destruction.”

That’s just silly.We actually treat teachers pretty well here – Simmer down and stop gnawing on the had that feeds you and read this:

http://www.teacherportal.com/salary/Georgia-teacher-salary

…Or just quit altogether and move to some utopia where the livin’ is easy.

Mountain Man

November 28th, 2012
3:24 pm

Interesting question – if a “traditional” school becomes a conversion charter, then is shut down as failing – do they just go back to being a regular “public” school or do they have to shut their doors?

Mountain Man

November 28th, 2012
3:34 pm

“We actually treat teachers pretty well here ”

I think you meant to say “We pay teachers pretty well here”. We treat them like sh*t.

jsmith

November 28th, 2012
3:55 pm

o.k. folks its real simple. the easiest thing is to blame all the schools and teachers and the crooks that run the metro area school boards, but if you want to blame anyone just look in the mirror… its the parents of the kids. my kids have gone to publc schools and are now in Private schools… the difference is the PARENTS!!! the teachers in the public school they attended were wonderful., the facilities were fine. the difference between public and PRIVATE schools are the parents and the importance they stress on education. the parents of the private school kids are smarter , dont bitch and complain about everything, they dont blame the school and the government for all their problems and they accept responsiblities for their OWN lives. they dont drop their kids off in hair curlers and warm up pants dragging while dragging four underdressed snot nose kids behind. the fathers that pick up their children are well dressed coming from work, not like the fathers who pick their kids up from the public school( the guy in his air jordans and basketball shorts who looks like he just crawled out of bed). take a drive to westminister, lovett, or gac one day and look at the parents who pick up their kids then take a drive to some of the public schools around town , if you cant see the difference your BLIND. one more thing i am NOT rich, but what i do have i what i make i give to my children… they and their education is more important to me than any material posession will every be. privatize all education !!!

3schoolkids

November 28th, 2012
4:13 pm

“…it’s imperative for all authorizers to increase the rigor of their accountability practices so that all charters are held to the highest standards of excellence,”

This is counter to the competition argument. The “less regulation/free market competition” aspect of private schools and independent charters means only successful schools will survive. So if they are not succeeding, then why are students still enrolling?

DeKalb Inside Out

November 28th, 2012
4:53 pm

Mangler
State chartered schools are just another tool in the tool belt. It is by no means a cure. The idea is to improve education in Georgia. I can’t imagine there’s any one thing we can do to fix it … IMHO.

Head Scratcher

November 28th, 2012
5:00 pm

@DeKalb Inside Out!,

One of the main proponents of Amendment 1, State Senator Fran Millar, stated that charter schools would create competition with traditional public schools. And the competition brought by the new charter school would prod the existing schools to perform better. Now IMO, Senator Millar doesn’t exactly represent a district with a lot of “at risk” students to begin with.

Senator Millar believes that Charter Schools can make fourth graders who read at first grade level, if at all, to read on a fifth grade level in time for the testing which measures how students are performing. Proponents of charter schools have been saying this for years now. But the results are mixed and really don’t support any notion that Charters are superior.

cris

November 28th, 2012
5:09 pm

I find it humorous that so many are talking about “shutting down” both charters and traditional schools if they are failing or the newest education salvation buzzword “parent triggers”…what the heck do these people imagine we are going to do with the students who attend these we-need-to-shut-it-down schools? They just disappear? They’ll have to go somewhere – one imagines to the “successful” schools…so what happens then? A magical osmosis whereby those students who populated “failing” schools now suddenly, magically become successful simply because they attend a “successful” school? There are no easy answers or solutions and those who tout them should attract immediate suspicion…

East Cobb RINO, Inc. (LLC)

November 28th, 2012
5:09 pm

Why is it necessary to go through the expense of shutting a bad one down and opening a new one? We should just be able to fire the private management company that is not living up to their contractual obligations and hire another one. At least that is how I understood it is supposed to work.

cris

November 28th, 2012
5:10 pm

Enter your comments here

DeKalb Inside Out

November 28th, 2012
5:11 pm

Head Scratcher
“prod the existing schools to perform better” – I would say that is an accurate characterization. “fixing all that ails education in Georgia” is a little far fetched.

Fran Millar is the Vice Chairman on the Education Committee. In that regard, he is working to improve education for all of Georgia. Hmmm. I don’t recall Senator Fran Millar saying that about fourth graders. Can you point me in that direction?

dc

November 28th, 2012
5:42 pm

of course all failing “regular public schools” are closed down……………. Oh, not?

Rod Johnson

November 28th, 2012
6:00 pm

Maureen, we get it: You hate charter schools and worship public schools, no matter how dismal GA’s are.

It’s called an Agenda and yours is obvious. Fortunately, 2 million GA voters disagree with you.

Am so glad I canceled my AJC subscription 100% due to its charter-hating slant, as evidenced by complete nonsense like Downey’s endless tirades against choice, competition, and accountability.

The people have spoken. Go make wine (or whine!) with your sour grapes.

Rod Johnson

November 28th, 2012
6:01 pm

DC, failing public schools just beg for more taxpayer money that they squander on test-score-altering teachers and loser superintendents. Somehow, Downey and the NO crowd are fine with this.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

November 28th, 2012
8:03 pm

I have never understood the “average teacher salary in Georgia is $52,000″ thing…seeing as that is about what I make with a Masters and 23 years experience. Plus, that is ALL I will ever make without a cost of living raise, since I am now maxed out on the salary scale (unless I want to go back to school and get a PhD.) Surely, that can’t be the actual “average” for a classroom teacher, unless someone somewhere is being paid a heck of a lot more than teachers in our district.

To I love teaching

November 29th, 2012
8:57 am

They calculate every certified adult in the school or working for the school system to come up with the average salary for a “teacher”. A principal making $110,000, the super making $250,000, the media specialist with a doctorate making $96,000, along with the lowly classroom teacher making $40,000. A politicians smoke -n- mirrors project to tun the public against good teachers.

Private Citizen

November 29th, 2012
9:06 am

Thinking average pay is closer to $40k.

So… our Europeans compatriots are now comparing U. S. health care distribution system to Mexico. Maybe the school children in Mexico have eyeglasses. In Georgia, they don’t. Thanks, Europe. Thanks a lot. http://www.imss.gob.mx/english/Pages/default.aspx

KIM

November 29th, 2012
9:08 am

@redherring I am always interested at the outrage a few people spew when writingn about “on taxpayers dollars” Just curious….you have an amount of tax dollars you pay. How much service do you get for those dollars? And I am curious…why did you write Atl/Savannah/Jekyll? Why shouldn’t public servants go to a conference center that is attractive, enticing, comfortable, and nice? Do you suggest they should not gather, confer and (heaven forbid) enjoy a nice ambience? Should educators have to grind it out somewhere less desirable? What is the mentality that would have educators eek out a living, live on a pittance, confer in a shack and raise your children in all the ways you fail to? I’ve heard that “I’m a taxpayer…” one too many times. It was tempting to say to a person ringing that, “Take your dime back.”

Dennis

November 29th, 2012
9:53 am

Why is it that Georgia’s low graduate rates are always blamed on our teachers and schools?

The real blame belongs to our governors (present governor included) and our state legislature who are never asking what more can we do to improve our schools, but what more can be done to get out cheap?

The politics surrounding the passaage of the charter school amendment is a prime example (an insult to Georgia’s public education and its educational colleges, and a slap in the face to Georgia’s teachers by the governor and the Republican controlled legislature).

Private Citizen

November 29th, 2012
9:59 am

Hospital service fees in Hong Kong – some say their services are the best in the world. http://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_index.asp?Parent_ID=10044&Content_ID=10045&Ver=HTML

Looks like they’re still using the same cost list from 2003. I guess they “decided how to do it.”

Why do U. S. services, including education, have to be this jumble of propaganda? They’re doing all this accountability on everyone and they don’t even provide the tools to do the job. The whole current U. S. education government schools management is a large scale exercise in harassment.

Teacher perspective: And what will the government being doing to us today? As opposed to for us. Seems the best way to preserve the U. S. culture of “executive compensation” is to keep the workers burned out.

Private Citizen

November 29th, 2012
10:07 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-lewis/does-hong-kong-have-the-w_b_299907.html

The bottom 60% of earners pay no income tax at all. The top 100,000 taxpayers pay 57% of all taxes.

Even after sixty years, the entire tax code is 200 pages long.

Hong Kong is the last place you’d think of as having a “nanny state.”

However, Hong Kong has a system of government-operated hospitals, which constitutes the majority of the health care system. People also have the option of a private hospital if they wish. There are more than fifty public hospitals, and twelve private ones.

Private Citizen

November 29th, 2012
10:10 am

To many of us who have worked and lived overseas, the Hong Kong health care system was the ultimate social safety net that never failed to lend us a strong sense of security. It was comforting to know that if we ever fell ill, we could always return home for care.

I was rushed to hospital after a bad car accident in Hong Kong many years ago. None of the nurses or doctors asked me if I had insurance coverage, or enough money to pay the bill. They just gave me the medical care I needed. The next morning, a stern-faced hospital administrator came to visit me in the ward. I did not know what to expect until she asked me if I needed social service assistance for myself and family.

I stayed in hospital for a week and was charged only for the meals. The total bill was HK$35 [US$4], and the food was actually not bad at all.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 29th, 2012
10:51 am

Dennis
Why is it incumbent upon the governor and state legislature to fix public education when we have highly paid executive administrations running local school districts? Don’t these executive administrations bear some responsibility here?

Aside from completely take over the school system, what laws and codes are you looking for the legislature to pass that will improve education in Georgia?

Dennis

November 29th, 2012
11:50 am

@DeKalb Inside Out; Those are fair questions.

Let me say first that my own five children graduated from Georgia public schools. All attended college, not all graduated. One with unknown learning disabillities until he got to college; one married. Two graduated, one of those “supposedly.” One just finished her PhD. Also, I taught for 33 years in Clarke County (retired in 2000) where the graduation rate is not acceptable.

However, that is not the fault of teachers and the schools (nor as some may want to chime in are administrators salaries)anyymore than it is my fault my own children did not all graduate from college.

First, I would like to see a study of dropouts and learn from them why? they dropped out. (There ought to be enough material in that for a bunch of PhDs) and what it would take to have kept them in.

For kids who are at risk, we need lower pupil-teacher ratios.

We need to concentrate on just giving them everyday basics, forget foreign languages, anything past Algebra one, advanced literature, etc. We have not done this because of the fear of having “racially identifiable” classes.

We need, seriously, to not only teach subjects, but to have more field experiences (get out of the school) where students can “see” the relevance of what they are learning applies to the “real” world. I mean, get out of the school and into the main stream of life and everyday work.

This will cost more money, but in the longer range it will pay off.

(A major problem in public education is that when we try something new, or we put more money into public education, politicians expect INSTANT results – and it simply doesn’t work that way).

I would like to see legislators talk to dropouts themselves.

I am not opposed to charter schools, per.se., but I meant every word of my last paragraph above.

And you watch and see…at the next governors election, our present governor is going to get heaps of money from those who are pushing for privitizing public education via charter schools.

He isn’t innocent in this at all.

CJae of EAV

November 29th, 2012
11:54 am

@ Snarkysnake – I appreciate the idea but honestly the administration of public education is overly politicized as is. Adding the local Superintendant to the political spectrum would IMHO only further marry the office to whims of the business elite would ultimately fund these races thus further taking us down the path that many in this blog rail against (undue influence of ALEC et al.)

@Dekalb Inside Out and @Mountain Man – To often we broaden our discussion on this topic too much and don’t focus on the particulars of our local circumstance. When you look at the ATL metro area , the vast majority (if not all in case of some districts like APS) of the charters are independent start-up charters.

HS Public Teacher

November 29th, 2012
12:12 pm

Thanks, but I already am in the process of leaving Georgia and am counting down the hours. I know – some of you will say “good” and I really could care less.

However, I am a seasoned teacher in an academic subject that teaches AP classes. My students have some of the highest average scores on the AP test in the State.

I will be leaving for a State that has a real teacher union that does look after good teachers like me. I won’t be abused any more.

With the idiots in Georgia…. the voters, the politicans, etc. totally ruining edcuation in Georgia, the path for education here only leads downhill. I refuse to be a part of it any longer.

Private Citizen

November 29th, 2012
1:07 pm

HS Public Teacher, In addition to union protections from opportunist management, I’d suggest looking for a work environment where Obama’s basketball buddy is not dictating conditions. Personally, I don’t want anything to do with hyper named “Race to the Top” with related saturation testing and using students to evaluate teachers, which I think it child abuse and I find expecting some hot headed 11 year old to evaluate their teacher and the use management resources to try and make sense of it to be a waste of resources. I don’t think you want that type of environment. Might suggest a “non-RTTT” work environment, particularly if you care about the integrity of your work and have an aversion to being a hamster on a treadmill.

Palin’s bus: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_49fuRJVCz4U/TEhc5jFWQYI/AAAAAAAAAEc/l1Cn1H1qoIk/s1600/Sarah_Palin_bus_book_tour_2009.jpg
Duncan’s RTTT bus: http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/files/2011/09/bus.jpg