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5 reasons charter schools are bad news for students

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104 responses to “5 reasons charter schools are bad news for students

  1. We have to stop referring to “Charter Schools” as if they are all the same. They vary greatly from state to state and district to district. Many variables determine their success. We are not going to fix “American Education” because “American Education” is not broken. Individual schools are broken and those can be fixed one school at at time.

  2. I read over half of these inputs and none of them addressed the main functional problem: A lack of disciplinary back up. When students observe that they become out of control and education drops. All you have to do to verify this is read the reviews of the charter schools. They are usually below the state average, often well below. The U of Minnesota studies on this and found that to be true as well. I don’t know why your posts don’t expose the lack of back up. In my last experience in a dysfunctional charter school whenever the teachers got together in a meeting with the administrator not there, out came the complaints about the lack of back up. Every Friday they also met at a local bar. I never had time to go but I am quite sure the same topic came up, probably even more. One teacher actually walked out of the school in the middle of the day, right out the back door. Some of the teachers named the door after him. Since that year, the school was taken over by a private company. Then they were in the newspaper on corruption charges.
    One post said the teachers work at charter schools because they can’t get jobs at public schools as if they are less competent. I think there is something to that, however, some teachers can’t get jobs in public schools because they are too competent. If you have more education you are locked out by the salary step program. It does not matter how good you are. I have gotten good results in inner city schools when I got the chance, meaning long term sub and summer school but can’t get a contracted job in the public schools because I have graduate degrees which force them to pay a higher salary.
    I think the weak disciplinary back up is due to the profit motive and/or administrative incompetence.

  3. Shame of NEA for publishing such poisonous swill. Filled with falsehoods, half truths, and political propaganda. Public Charter Schools are Public Schools and do better for the forgotten children and those whom the local system leaves behind.

    1. This comment is false. Charter schools do not care for their students and i am living proof of that. I was abused by teachers and students alike from previous charter schools. Not to mention the ablism I faced for being autistic.

    2. Here are the two distinct differences between Charter Schools and Public ones:

      Public Schools are run democratically by parents, whose representatives are the school committee.

      Charter schools are run by corporations, who goal is the make the most profit possible and their products are the students.

      In China Cities are like a corporation and the officials have to be
      fully qualified.

      In the USA cities are run by mob rule (voting) and they just have to look popular.

    3. Thank you! I agree. Everyone will believe what they will,but the charter school my son attends to saved us. Not able to get into special ed,but almost failing each grade,miserably falling behind each year. After doing every possible thing I could to help . His public school left us out to dry. Not saying they are all like that but the charter schools that you people think it’s cute to bash-not ok… they are for the forgotten,kids with learning disabilities, kids that struggle with social anxiety,depression,different ways of learning and the kids that don’t fit the stepFord cookie cutter student. So whatever ends up working for your child is great-why waste your time on hating on something that works for mine ?

    4. that is not true i go to a charter school my teacher is nice so is my principal. So ha don’t talk bad about charter schools that is mean.

  4. Cookie cutter public schools do not meet the needs of all students. My children are thriving in their public charter school. The education and teachers union lobby, in my opinion feel threatened by competition, and want to force everybody into the standard system.

    1. Hum, why is that the majority of charter schools are in the most fragile areas? They’ve swallowed Detroit’s Public School system. I am an educator in Detroit. I’ve been in the city for twenty-five years. In 2000, I helped open a charter school. This was when I truly did not understand how charters worked. I just knew I needed a job, and I wanted to help the children in the city. Charters schools in Detroit suck! They are comprised of teachers who need a job., and if given a “Choice” they would be teaching in a traditional Publlic School. Currently, I’m a Special Ed, teacher in a Charter school. I’ve resigned my position in order to hold tight to integrity and health. I just want to know how long will it take for people to wake up to the fact that charter schools are not a good solution for educational struggles.

      1. I’m sure you are right that Charter Schools in Detroit suck.
        However what do you expect in a city, county and State that suck?

  5. We love our charter school here in Michigan. We do not have money. We are considered low income in our area, but barely middle class in general. My kids thrive in the non-profit charter school. Teachers are not replaced by “subs”— They just celebrated their 20 year “anniversary” last year, so it is in its 21st year. I went to a small public school, and was not disappointed or left behind. However, I sadly saw many who were. If they ever closed our charter, I would not put my kids into public school. Rather, we’d home school. I’m sure people will respond rudely, and unfairly at my opinion, but that’s just how life is nowadays. If we don’t all agree, we’re enemies.

    1. Who’s going to respond rudely to that? If your kids are doing great, that’s great. I just wonder about things like class-size differences, etc.

    2. I am a public school teacher who’s child attends a charter school. Charters are considered public schools as well. The district that we live in was also the district I worked in for years. Mass corruption and over crowding so they could pay the superintendent more and add more admin rather than teachers prompted me to remove both my child and myself from the district. I wonder how prevelant this is when it comes to making the decision to go to a charter. Perhaps district schools should gets themselves in order instead of bashing on charters

    3. I intern at a charter school and as an advocate for students and families who are considered at risk, these schools take advantage of low-income and troubled teens to get state money. All our campus cares about is attendance, i.e. money. No nurse, no social worker, no counselor to help emotionally and behaviorally challenged teens. Just get the kids there, even if you have to pick them up yourself…literally. Misuse of educational funding and once again using the disadvantaged for financial gain. While pretending to care about them. Just not right.

      1. Just like traditional public schools, some charters are great. Some are terrible. And most are somewhere in between

  6. for a site called education votes, you are already quite hypocritical in that you are censoring legitimate comments by people…censorship is not conducive to good education…

    1. When you post your first comment on our site, you go into a queue for moderation to help us cut down on spam. Since you are now approved to comment, future posts should go live instantly.

    2. Yup, I agree! Had to reply to you to say anything. Oddly many of their negatives I view as positives. To point out just how bad news charter schools are for kids, all you have to do is look at US News and World Reports their annual rankings of the nations top high school. You can see just how bad Charter Schools really are. Not 1 of Charter School is nationally ranked…, oh, wait, what’s that you say? Huh. Uh, oh I’m sorry I must be mistaken. Apparently they are Extremely Good for kids! The top 8 High Schools in 2018 are Charter Schools (my kids got to #6). There’s a reason these schools are so significantly outperforming their public school counterparts. The ones that suck, close. And, they do not pull money from the public schools. If a kid is not there in attendance by 9am. The school receives zero funding for that student for the day. They also receive $0 for facilities. They can fire the teachers who are not good and keep those that excel. Again, you would not see the number of charter schools ranking as high as they are, outranking their traditional public counterparts in the way they are if the kids were not performing at exceptionally higher levels. In the end the test scores, GPA’s and College Acceptance rates are what are going to really drive these rankings. My kids school doesn’t just have 100% graduation rate, but their college acceptance rate too. The kids at this school have an average SAT for 2017 of 1300!! Lastly 8 of the 60 kids who graduated last year we’re accepted into an Ivy League School! So, yeah, Charters TOTALLY SUCK FOR KIDS!

      1. Hmmm… so you know the results of all the kids’ tests in order to tell us what the average is…hmmm I don’t think so. Just saying.

        1. for clarification…a professional, well structured and appropriately run charter with an informed and highly ethical team (executive board, administration, all staffing and parent involvement), produces awesome, strong charactered, academically prepared, confident students! There are charter school rules, regulation and accountability measures in each state (supposed to be). So please attend a board meeting and ask questions, particiate, offer ideas but mostly-get and be informed!! I never believed in Charter Schools (our 3 older kids went to public and our 3 younger went to private…but by the graces of God (or fate whathaveyou)-we enrolled in a charter- Beacon Academy (MN). All 3 are thriving in EVERY area.

  7. I can provide equally alarming facts about the state of misuse, fraud, cheating and other scandals that have occurred in public schools. What I do know: the failing public school I attended more than 20 years ago is still struggling with the same issues. But, parents now have an alternative, as there are several charter schools that have helped to change the trajectory for hundreds of students. All of you naysayers, ask yourself a question. If you had a choice between your local failing public school and a charter public school with a proven track record, which would you choose for your child. I know what I would choose for my child. And, no, not every charter school is effective, that is why there is a renewal process that takes place every 5 years to determine if they are or aren’t effective. In my state charter schools have been closed for their ineffectiveness, but the last time I checked the only traditional public schools that have been closed were due to a decline in the population, not due to their failing results. And, let’s not forget about public magnet schools, which pulls the best and the brightest from the other schools and provides better resources for those who have already demonstrated that they can excel. Where is the outrage for this model, which creates educational ghettos of low-income, low performing students. As California C stated our educators and politicians’ children always seem to end up at the best schools whether they are magnet, charter or private schools. They talk a good talk, but behind the scenes they manipulate and maneuver to insure their children are enrolled in the best schools with the best options. Let’s stop creating this false narrative pitting charters against traditional public schools. Can we focus on how we can replicate best practices and insure ALL children have access to a quality education. Until we do so, we will continue to regurgitate the same speaking/battling points and hundreds more children will wade through the school system to receive an inefficient education that keeps them locked in a cycle of limited choices and resources.

    1. You write very well for a student that is the product of a “failing public school”!! Your words not mine

    2. You honestly know nothing. Charter Schools only competitive advantage is curriculum. This is completely subjective as the charter school itself creates this curriculum and then compliments itself on it being better – which it is not.
      To put it in as few words as possible, charter schools create profit through paying its teachers less.
      To make it more clear, charter schools receive funding through the state. At a public school, these funds are used only towards school expenses. At a charter school, these state funds are siphoned to the top as profit (again by paying their teachers on average 3-4k less per year). This causes over 50% permanent substitute teacher counts. I dont care how good your curriculum is, if you are not having a certified teacher teach it, it doesn’t matter. Most of these schools are bonded through a bank in which the school itself now owns all of the debt. Even if the charter school management company fails, the school is responsible for this debt – not the owner of the charter school company. Lastly, as the charter school is private, they work with third party companies, most of which are subsidiaries of the charter school company itself – thus more profit out of tax payer dollars!
      In conclusion, charter schools do not offer a better curriculum (most charter schools fail), pay its teachers on average 3-4k less than public school teachers, charge these schools a management fee of up to 15% of total revenue (which can equate to millions per year), and end up having 50% of their teachers as permanent subs unable to teach students properly.

      Know your information before you talk about how good charter schools are. They are the biggest threat to the future of our children’s education.

    3. I’m from Florida, my son attended for kindergarten and first grade the FSU pines charter in Pembroke pines. My son lost those 2 beutiful years there, he was highly stress about schools as he hates the school and teachers. I disagree with the dressdown day they have, that is discriminative for the kids who can’t afford to give 2 dollars. They see their friends wearing cool clothes and they feel left aside In the school. I had many problems there and the last was they found my Son without underware in the bathroom (that’s what they say) with other boys and in a meeting they trapped me and managed really well to circle the problem saying like robots that my son was taking bad choices. They went too far trying to discipline my son with wrong manners, and they never accepted or appologised. They aren’t careful taking care of the littke kids when they aren’t with their teacher. 6 or 7 years old must be supervised when they go to the toilet, for example. They left them buy things at the cafeteria and never control that….like my son used to buy cookies for his friends, and throw his food away and go buy snacks. We asked for explanations and never received answers. We are frustrated and feel violated of our rights. We trusted them our Son and I got denigrated when the Principal, Lisa Libidinsky told me ” are you recording us? After I asked for some answers. And on that humiliation I answered that I would never do that, then I told her ” do you want to check? And one of the psycologist stoped the moment and changed the subject. So intriguing and unprofessional having a leader questioning me like that. Well, what you fear? Right?. My son is going no to the nearest public school now. He is respected, we are respected and we respect the school. His notes are highly enough to start him in a gifted child’s program, he has more friends and he wants to help others instead of compete.

    4. You want a total solution. We all do. (Perfectionism, a diagnosable illness some of us have!) But EXACTLY what is your proposal? Don’t list what NOT to, please tell us what we should do affirmatively. This seems a step i the right direction! Don’t you agree?

    5. Yeah. i think this is auto correct for a student who went to a “falling school” I’m deffenitly going to a charter school and YES I AM 10 YEARS OLD SO STOP and i saw a video about how bad any kind of charter schools are.

  8. I opened a charter school in my area due to the interest of parents! In that particular public school district, $10 million dollars disappeared, they saw an increase of violence within the schools, test scores dropped drastically, parents felt their children didn’t feel safe in the schools, there was no accountability… Therefore I opened a small charter school because parents literally begged me to do it. We have a safe environment, I operate the school with INTEGRITY, we follow the law, our test scores are good, our classroom sizes are between 15-20, we DO NOT select our children because we operate a fair and equitable enrollment system which is monitored very closely, and parents are satisfied. We have NEVER expelled a child because we believe in working with them, encouraging them, and brining the best out of them. We have a 94% teacher attendance rate. In fact, some of the teachers from the public school wanted to work in my school! I worked in the public school system for over 10 years and was part of the union. But I felt the need to open a charter school because our children deserve better! Oh yea, we have been opened for a while and there was no increase in taxes in my area!

    1. Charter School Founder,
      No mention of children with special needs. The presentations I attended in the Virginia Beach area, were very specifically forming charter schools to purposely EXCLUDE children with disabilities. One of the big reasons people want Charter schools is because they (the charter schools’ Administrators) are under no obligation to follow current IDEA
      (law requiring children with special needs, that can be only physical) requirements of “… to be educated in the least restrictive environment ,,,” and for “… reasonable accommodations to allow access to the building and classrooms…” like ramps to over come stairs to enter buildings or go to multiple story schools’ classrooms.
      Having fought issue after issue at Public schools, for three children from the system, with IDEA in place, imagine what few opportunities and the limited ‘Education’ children would receive assuming they could even be admitted to a charter school? Just so the Ed Secretary DeVos is also wanting to snatch current funding for the “Gifted Childrens’ ” as well, as they too are special programs that the current political administration plans not to fund or severely cut funds for. Another example of this Trump Administration taking us, in this case Education, backwards.

      1. I attended a charter school with my siblings when I was younger after my parents saw the failing public school system in my area, my older sister with dysgraphia was left out in the cold by the public school system and her teacher who called her “stupid and lazy.” Where the public school failed the charter school succeeded, allowing students to work at their own pace and be placed in their level of classes as opposed to being forced to work with those who are slower or faster learners, but the truth is, it depends on the school, both public and private. Later on we attended a public school that understood her issue as well, even if the other public school branded her as “stupid and lazy.”

        1. You sound like a charter school promoter… how much are they paying you?

          But see that’s the biggest problem I have with charter schools… they are all about the money… they don’t give a s*** about the kids and that is very apparent in how charter schools have been caught plagiarizing terms of service contracts, failing to provide students with a proper place to learn (because that would cut into profits, and closing in the middle of a school year!!! This can all be seen on John Oliver’s segment on charter schools in Last Week Tonight.

          And people saying public schools are failing… no s***! Their budgets keep getting cut because of charter school lobbyists! You take away more than half of a school’s funding and of course you are going to see issues rise up. Republicans are literally taking funding away from public schools to set them up for failure so they can say, “See? Public schools are bad… now give my friend here money for his charter school so he continues to give me money!”

          So f*** charter schools and f*** corporations that don’t give a s*** about people… all they see in student are little wallets running around waiting to have their money sucked out!

  9. As a teacher who was staunchly anti-charter, it has been fascinating to me that so many of my teaching colleagues (NEA members) enroll their children in charter schools. Most of the teachers I work with send their children to charter schools, option schools or private schools. I’m wondering if other members have noticed this trend.
    We have seen first hand the lack of support students receive, the outrageous violence that is now tolerated, and the ever expanding class-sizes. Yes, I’d prefer to send my own child to a charter school that could actually expel a student for sexually molesting another, a student who creates chaos in every classroom year after year, or a student who physically assaults a teacher (I currently have all three of these in my class – with no response or action from my district). I don’t want my own child to experience that as part of their education. Yes, I’d rather send my child to a charter school that only allows 18 kids per class, as opposed to the 30 kids at my local elementary’s school.
    Honestly, my only home is that charter schools will force public schools to actually deal with some of the chronic issues we push under the rug.

      1. Thumbs down? OK, then continue to re-elect those politicians who ignore what are your needs and wants. Which way makes sense?

  10. In many of the comments here and elsewhere, the complaint of standard testing, overbearing district administrations pushing charters and political atmosphere not supportive of public schools is a recurring theme. Maybe its time to toss all the legislators in office and start over. It is time for term limits for all levels of government. Get rid of paid legislators and lifetime political office holders. Support and amendment for term limits. It really is our only hope

    1. MarineBob – What’s really needed is not term limits but efforts to reduce gerrymandering so that voting district boundary lines are drawn in a more equitable way. Right now we have too many legislators being elected by constituencies that only reflect a particular party or class.

      1. I won’t argue that point, districts ought to be geographic, not pick and chose. But who do you think controls the gerrymandering? The long term politicians who need to be tossed!

  11. Most people seem to have forgotten that the public schools are (were?) the backbone of America. We do have blatant class warfare going on in America today. We do have a resurgence of white supremacy in this country. The public schools have always been a place where all our people could learn to live and work together. This disinvestment, prolonged and ongoing, in our public schools has resulted, already, in a resegregation of the schools particularly in low income areas. I taught in a for-profit charter school for a year that was a nightmare. I won’t go into details here but I can say that this notion of “school choice” sells well with a public desperate to find better opportunities for their kids. I get that. However, the real issue is much larger than simply the school, charter or otherwise. The real issue is, as Jonathan Kozol taught us, the “Savage Inequities” that low income people, single mothers, minorities, in short all marginalized peoples in America face. If we continue to trust and support a political system that seeks to concentrate such great wealth, and hence, power in so very few hands society and our children will continue to suffer. Positive change for the vulnerable among us, which is, by the way most of us at this point, will only come if we make a sincere, sustained commitment to dealing with our social problems. That means some will have to give. Allow students and families to “shelter in place” by supporting your local, community based school where everyone has a chance to get to know, love and support your kid. Charter schools and vouchers are overhyped as a quick fix. Education is just one of many problems we face. Don’t believe the hype!

    1. If you did teach in a charter school and say it was a nightmare you need to be specific and tell this country why this is the case. So may people feel that these charters can do what public education cannot. I do not believe this to be true but specifics are need to inform the people.

      1. on average charter schools pay there teachers 3-4k less. The charge schools a management fee of 15% of the schools total revenues (usually 300k-1million $ per year). In return for this fee, the students get taught by permanent subs because teacher retention at a charter school is impossible when the district offers such higher pay. Even if the curriculum was better, the students would not be taught by a certified teacher. Most charter schools use public funds to increase capital expenditures such as computers and ipads for teachers. Charter schools are the biggest threat to the future of our education. I worked in finance for the largest management company of charter schools. I just wish i knew who to send my information to in order to make a difference. It is way worse than you think.

        1. I wish there was a way we could connect im interested in hearing more of what you have to say and show as it involes charter schools

    2. Education is the great equalizer. Charter schools are terrible I know by experience. For one year during sixth grade I went from a public school in TX to a charter school in MI. The school was way behind, rolling dice on the floor, and charging kids in advance for lunch. It was a mess. All of you are beyond retarded and for the ones left with common sense please ignore the noise. Public schools are a child’s right and a great success -always have been.

  12. This article does a disservice to our profession by being biased and misleading. I expect more from NEA.

    1. Misleading? Please explain. I’ve been in many charter schools since they began in Michigan, believe me, they aren’t in the business of helping students. Teachers have little control; students roaming around the halls, instead of being in their classrooms; little if any support from administration. That’s not where I’d like my children or grandchildren to go to school.

    2. Misleading? Please explain. I’ve been in many charter schools since they began in Michigan, believe me, they aren’t in the business of helping students. Teachers have little control; students roaming around the halls, instead of being in their classrooms; little if any support from administration. That’s not where I’d like my children or grandchildren to go to school.

  13. Public charter schools are a conundrum in many ways . The article notes 40 some odd states have charters in one form or another so there is logically more than a casual interest. For my consideration, it seems that tax payers ought not to be supporting private enterprises but there is strong evidence that the charter model, in many cases, works vey well, perhaps better than general, every day public schools. If you think about why charters (where they are successful) work so well, I think the answer lies in the idea of parental involvement and setting high expectations. To explain this idea: if charters (even seem) are desirable, parents who have high (higher than average) expectations for their kids see the potential, they would be drawn to the charter model. If, on the other hand, a parent is indifferent, they won’t care where their kid goes to school. Before everyone goes nuts, there are parents in both schools (no pun intended, well maybe). So, there is (presumably) a random assignment, selection of kids for limited charter openings. The greater percentage of those on the list are kids whose parents demand a higher performance and more than likely, will not tolerate unruly behavior, substandard effort, etc. So, even though the selection is random, its not really from a random group. The group from which the student body is selected is from kids whole parents are more involved etc etc etc. So, the results are better. The problem is that the student body is not really representative of the general student population in that area. Everything that is ‘measured’ passes muster, but the intangibles of level of parent involvement and so forth creates a school whose students have high expectations, demanding parents, and so forth. I do not know the answer other than to reinstitute rigorous discipline, high expectations, hold kids back when they do not meet the standard for the next higher grade, put trouble makers in a segregated spot so they do not disrupt those trying to work. Get rid of the nonsense perpetrated by unions and let teachers teach.

    1. Let every kid be left behind who doesn’t pass muster, right? Especially students coming from low-income homes who will be left to languish in an even more diminished and inferior learning environment.

      1. Better idea, as what used to be done decades ago, so that those with ambition and drive are not drawn to mediocrity. We seem to want to level the field by dragging back the workers, not lifting the dead beats. Some kids will never make the grade, why pretend?

    2. You are correct that comparing public school and charter school “results” are like comparing apples and oranges. In some instances it may be because of parent involvement, sometimes it is simply because charter schools can choose who they service. Regardless, charter schools don’t necessarily out perform public schools.

      1. Forget the apples and oranges for a minute. There are many states where the ‘tangibles’ say that there is a level playing field. No one would argue that being selective will produce better results. But consider where the observations indicate there is a homogeneous mix of students. Why do the charters perform better?

    3. it isn’t my union that perpetuates policies that interfere with my teaching, it’s the high stakes testing. Of course this is something that Charter Schools are not required to do because they don’t have the same level of accountability as Public Schools.

        1. The Union has been broken; it certainly is not “all-powerful”. Teachers in my state are right back to unequal pay, dismissal without cause or proof and little to no representation. This has been going on for at least the last 30 years

      1. The accountability of charter schools may vary by state dependent on their charter and educational laws. In Maryland, based on the law, Charter schools are public schools in the school district serving the students of that district. The charter schools have the same expectations for state testing and special education as two examples. Students enter the charters through a lottery system, validated and observed by district personnel. They have to renew their charters with the district every 1-5 years, dependent on their contract. The renewal is a very rigorous process that includes an in-depth multi-measure audit, interview and observation of the school. As it should be, since they are supported by public school funds.

    4. MarineBob – Let’s be honest. It’s not all parental involvement which makes the difference. In my state, charters have been found guilty of finding creative ways for not accepting those kids which they deem “undesirable” and which coincidentally also happen to be poor and minority. Those measures take the form of pre-interviews, entrance exams, not providing free and reduced breakfast/lunch programs, and not providing transportation. One innovative end-run strategy was locating the school in a largely affluent area and then stipulating the enrollment zone a five mile radius which made it impossible for any poor kid to attend. In a word, DISCRIMINATION is what often happens when you allow these charter schools local control w/o oversight. It’s easy to say it’s ALL the work of involved parents which these schools will inevitably attract. But if you pull back the curtain the truth of the matter is that your population of attendees in many instances has been carefully cherry picked.

      1. Forget the bias situations. Of course if there is selection, the results are skewed. That is not the point. If there is provable bias, call out the lawyers. Putting bias aside, why is the charter model so seemingly desirable? It can not possibly be just selection and anyone who says parental involvement and expectations is not a huge indicator of good results…… well go find a better reason.

        1. MarineBob – Sorry Bob, but this IS the point. I’m not saying the charter model is not desirable or suitable for some folks or parental involvement isn’t important, but you can’t simply overlook the bias problems I’ve outlined. When charter schools carefully skim the best kids or choose to eliminate undesirable ones, this creates an uneven playing field. The result is a re-segregated school system where the poor and kids with special needs are all relegated to underfunded public schools. This speaks to a need for more rigorous oversight of charters.

          1. In NY they cannot “skim” the best kids. The studies support the fact that charters work better for less. This holds true with the most needy students.

            1. I would buy the idea that ‘skimming ‘ is not practiced in some places but the selection (of students) pool is not random. Tpool is made up of kids whose parents are more driven to success rather than complacency. Not all, but more than in the general population.

    5. I do not believe that you mean any harm but you are promoting information that does not include enough factual information.
      In a nutshell, this country is truly doomed if we do not find fair and equitable methods to educate our children in diverse atmospheres. We have more in common than not and must allow our children to learn that while young than to turn into zenophobic and low level thinkers who fixate on skin color rather than character!

    6. Sir, your post reads plausible. I think that since our public school system has fallen under both political and parental attack for so long, it has unfairly been stereotyped and branded inefficient and unsuccessful. However, i don’t believe those titles to be absolute. I’m in my 40s. Public schools were the only option against private schools when I attended school. Everyone cosigned private school education programs superiority above public schools, possibly because parents paid with the premise that their child would fair better academically and subsequently socially and economically. Another reason was to segregate their child from others…When the charter school buzz began, many uneducated people likened it to private schools and subscribed to the belief that charter schools were a better alternative to public schools, a proposition to which I initially remained neutral because I had to learn exactly what charter schools offered that public schools didn’t. Well after retiring from the military in June 2016, and having two elementary schools aged daughters, whom my ex-wife had enrolled into a charter school in Lancaster, Texas, I experienced the difference between charter and public schools. A brief summary of my experience with this particular charter school is there is no accountability, the principal is frequently absent from the campus for entire days, many teachers are uncertified, inexperienced, and cannot reach students where they are, poor time management, etc…This school is a prime example of the school to prison pipeline. Needlesstosay, my daughters won’t attend next year. I would have removed them this year, but a bitter divorce required caution and consistency. After I finally caught him at the school, I spoke with the principal about several situations within the third and sixth grade classrooms. His reply was maybe I should enroll my daughters into another school since I appear unhappy with their school. I almost lost it. However, my reply was the school is for the students, not the teachers or the principal. Although I am removing my daughters, your response shouldn’t be to get rid of students because their parent cares and is concerned enough to address those concerns. School privatization would definitely bring about the worse in this already divided country. I believe the answer is for parents to support public schools, connect with their community members and community programs, and for everyone to dedicate two hours per week volunteer time within a school or an organization that reaches into other communities. All hands on deck. Realistically, everyone won’t be able to volunteer for whatever reason. However, more could start and that would make a difference. I believe that we will either stand united or establish separate agendas, which is where it appears we’re headed.

  14. I work in a public charter school I’m Illinois that is not for profit. We follow open meeting laws, take the same standardized tests as the traditional public schools, include children with disabilities and have a wonderful PTO. We are successful and are coming up on 20 years. Please when you bash charter schools, do not make blanket public statements about charter schools. Your stereotypes do not belong to every charter school. Oh by the way, we are unionized and members of IEA/NEA. You are bashing paying members.

    1. Great comment Schelli. I too work in a public charter school, but I’m in North Carolina. Every time an article makes a blanket statement about charter schools it angers me. It angers me that the person who wrote the article didn’t take the time to do their research. When the person writing this article is NEA, I am very disappointed and appalled, Public charter schools that are not for profit are held just as accountable as regular public schools. DO YOUR RESEARCH NEA!

    2. I’m sure there are excellent charter schools, but I believe that if the money and effort put into creating and maintaining those schools were put into supporting and improving public schools, more kids would have an equal chance to succeed.

    3. Just a question for my own curiosities. I have been told that when a teacher in a charter school gets too high on the pay scale they “let them go”. You say you are in a union so this is not true correct?

    4. Schelli, Congratulations on finding an exception to what a lot of teachers have seen in charter schools. We have several in our area, and it seems to be the solution for some kids, but for others, they bounce back and forth between charter, cyber and public schools, sometimes all in the same school year. There are some who have been taught something in the charter schools, but there are many more who return to the public school behind their classmates. In one charter school, students were returning so far behind their public school counterparts that they were retained. My objection is giving tax dollars to a for-profit entity. In my opinion, if you want to send your kids to a for-profit school, you should be responsible to pay the tuition.

  15. Charter schools are a bad idea.
    Our country became great because of GOOD traditional public schools that brought everyone into the concept of

    1. Our country didn’t always have public schools, it was a foundation built on God and Country that made our country great, not any system. Although education is important, history has shown that children can be educated by their parents or by themselves, many of our early presidents were home educated and they turned out fine.

  16. When I taught there, about ten years ago, Burton High School in San Francisco was given about five day’s notice to vacate the entire first floor for a charter school to take up residency. Teachers had to give up their own time during a regular school week to pack up their things and move to second and third floor classrooms. A huge parent protest meeting was a sham, with more than a thousand people speaking out against the move, it happened anyway. After the charter school moved in, I observed that charter school students were very lax in their behavior and dress, a contrast to our regular students. They even sat on the tabletops and called teachers by their first name, in contrast to our students who wore school uniforms and who certainly never called us “George” or “Sally” instead of Mr. or Ms. Our students certainly also observed it. One year later, the charter school moved out. After all that hooplah, our campus was not good enough for them. Our district was very callous towards parents and the teachers who objected to this travesty. It was one of the most disgusting displays of administrative arrogance that I ever observed in twenty five years of teaching.

    1. Robert, i’m glad you were there to witness it-hopefully some of the people here will read your post. While public schools do their best to teach children & i should know, i drive a school bus for special needs m/h, elementary & pre-k, I know our teachers care about our students here & do everything within their power to help them succeed.
      Now i’m sure there are ‘great’ public schools & ‘great’ charter schools, but I think what everyone is saying is the charter schools are failing as a whole/with the statistics of closures ect…or i could be wrong, i don’t know?

  17. In Ohio the largest online charter school is sponsored by a man that keeps a certain percentage of the money from each student, he owns the 2 software companies that the online school has to buy from. He has become a millionaire off the backs off our students and give huge contributions to the Republican to keep the charters going. His school is fighting with the state auditor because that school states that they should not be held accountable for students hours in school. They should get the money as long as the students (or someone with the password) signs on. They feel that as long as they provide the curriculum, computers, teachers and books, that they do not have to make sure the students are actually doing anything else. The state auditor says they should have to account for students attending and participating so many hours a year or give millions back they cheated to get.

  18. Public education is a cornerstone of our democracy Call your rep in the house and senate while HR610 is still on the floor. Call them repeatedly. Inform them of these facts and the loopholes that allow charters to operate without public oversight and accountability on our tax dollars. They lack information as much as the public. Charters have done a great job making profits on our tax dollars. We have to do a better, more united job of pushing back.

    1. bruno, i did write both my congressman & they said they were going to vote for it anyways-seems they had their minds made up already & weren’t going to change it—so sad that our senators/congressmen believe the rhetoric that is stated about some of these bills & candidates & no, they don’t do their research-they don’t want to-it’s easier to just go w/the flow is what i think.

  19. As I public school teacher for 31 years, I see many, many, pro’s and con’s of charter schools. When a charter first came to our little area, it was started by a parent of a special education identified student, who felt special ed classrooms in public schools, with 12 to 20 students did not offer her child any true”special” services- she was absolutely correct! She recognized teachers are NOT MIRACLE WORKERS when overwhelmed!

    Her “charter” school employed retired teachers and one adult assistant per class. No classroom had more than 10 children. And her child bloomed! As did the other 9 kids in every classroom.

    The needs of kids should be met in EVERY school- public schools with no limits on class sizes, school boards and administration bent on “saving money,” should be worried.

    I say to the government, “DIVE in to the schools BYPASS; school boards, administration, teachers that coach, coaches on any level- FIND THE staff that actually work with kids and ask THEM what needs to be done to improve schools- only then will you find what really works and you will find it many not cost as much as you think to improve schools!

    You need to find US- teachers who touch the lives of kids and LOVE what we do…..we don’t need millions. WE need smaller classes so we can make contact with kids, we need to have the chance to get to know kids and their families, we need to know what makes EACH STUDENT tick!

    I retired last summer- I plan to write a book about the “Phil Ferry’s” of the world- look him up, he was the darling, sweet little boy I sat next to for the first 6 years of my education- if Phil had had more “Mrs. McDonald’s in his life, I believe he would have taken a different, more productive path. Thanks again Mrs McD- you touched many of us in all the right ways and it stuck! Sadly Phil needs a few more years of your kind heart and our classes were too big and teachers too busy to recognize “Phil Ferry” in the back of the room!

  20. Of course, there’s never been any fraud or waste in public schools. Not a bit. And public schools do such a great job of teaching. And students in the public schools are so well-disciplined, so respectful. And when a public school fails year after year, it too closes down and goes out of business.

    Here’s how I see it: after decades of pouring vast amounts of money into public schools we have little to show for it. We’re ranked lowly on any international study. After a while, you just have to say that you’re not throwing any more money down a rat hole. In most places, charters are giving the public want they want: safe schools that teach kids well. Is the system perfect? Of course not. But if charters can turn the crisis in education around, more power to them.

    1. I tried to hit the ‘thumbs up’ icon but apparently was closer to the ‘thumbs down’ so that’s what it registered – sorry! I agree with you wholeheartedly – charters aren’t perfect but many are VERY good and are solving some problems. We shouldn’t deny the kids that are getting a better education at some of them their chance at improving their situation.

  21. I agree with DMH. Many of our California charters are not only high performing, but models of integration and excellence. I have worked in public, private, and charter schools and see the wide range of school options, benefits and perils.

    In Los Angeles, our school district is in disarray due to mismanagement bureaucracy and and parents of all socio-economic levels who have options flee. Charters are not the “bad guy.” Teacher unions spout blanket single perspective rhetoric, weakening public support for their issues. Schools districts and public education need overhauls. Don’t lump all charter together or you will shoot yourselves in the foot getting public support.

  22. Michigan has so little oversight on its charter schools they don’t know how many they have. I bet Betsy DeVos owns or bankrolls a few herself.

    1. DeVos has a long and controversial record of advocating for school choice nationally, but especially in her home state of Michigan. DeVos and her family members have collectively spent tens of millions of dollars to further the issue.
      The DeVoses helped support a drive by then-Gov. John Engler to overhaul school funding in the state. The effort, which was ultimately successful, also allowed for the creation of charter schools aimed at replacing alleged failing public schools.

      1. And, bottom line, the purpose of charter schools in Michigan was to get rid of teacher’s unions and get our tax money into private hands. Always look behind fRight Wing rhetoric and find what source of power for ordinary people they are trying to destroy and who are they trying to make richer.

        1. ruth, do you mean that a charter school will not let it’s teacher’s be unionized & that private individuals or companies are making money or a profit off of charter schools? If that’s the case, then you are absolutely one hundred percent correct in your statement!!

  23. I, too, am clear about the value of public charters. Have observed great success in 2 Ohio districts where public charter addresses needs of certain student populations with specific learning/live-skills/disabilities, etc.

    I still don’t know who got the bright idea to use tax-dollars to fund private charters. Is it common to give tax dollars (that’s DOLLARS, not incentives, tax breaks, etc) to private businesses? Private charters need to sell their program and services and attract parents who choose to pay for said programs and services. Why aren’t the parents paying to send their children to private charters? My parents paid for my parochial education–their CHOICE. What is my reasoning missing?

    1. As far as the parochial education is concerned you’re not missing anything. But, not everybody can afford to send their kids to parochial schools. Plus, the parochial schools don’t have to take a student that needs special education. I would assume that most parochial schools do real well and they should, the kids that are there are there because they want to be and their parents want them to be there. Also if it’s a good parocial school there might even be a waiting list to get in. If you are in a parochial school and you get kicked out for some reason where do you go? Why of course you go to the public school and then they have to deal with you. What if you are a special needs kid where do you go? Certainly not to Detroit Catholic Central, right on their application they ask if this student needs special education classes. They say this will not be held against them but if that’s the case then why do they ask the question?

    2. Please find me any major study proving that private schools outperform public schools in providing well-rounded education for all students.

      1. Come on Jack, who do you think runs the country and the largest most successful businesses ? People who did not attend private schools? Speaking for my personal experience, attending a private, parochial high school after 9 years in a public school system was a real eye opener. There was zero time spent on discipline issues, expectations were exceptionally high, tolerance for slugs did not exist. Yes, a private school, no kids with disabilities, no discipline issues, no nonsense, just learning. Obviously everyone can’t afford that luxury and taxpayers ought not to have to pay. But public schools for many many reasons have become substandard in too many instances. For a minute, forget the reasons and face reality. Then do something.

  24. Charter schools are held accountable by the contract goals approved by the state. If they do not meet the goals educational, testing, attendance they can be shut down. Public schools rarely if ever close down. Charter schools also have given my children a great education. My children deserve a smaller school which is better equipped to educate my children with ASD. Quit blaming the huge regular public schools problems on charter schools. Our district superintendent’s attitude has finally turned around. He is seeing the charter school is successful and how he can integrate some of the educational techniques in the regular public school system. I believe the focus on the checks and balances in regular public school systems. I won’t ever send my child to a large public school ever again where they are a number and not a person.

  25. You are probably focusing on privately-owned charter schools. In San Diego County, we have some very successful public charter schools including the Classical Academy, High Tech… ( is a list) When you say charter schools, you might want to be more explicit because those problems are not an issue for these schools and since people don’t realize there are for-profit charters and public charters – they might just think you don’t know what you are talking about.

  26. Thanks for educating the public about this important issue. Low STAAR scores could probably be there soon!

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