Charter Schools


There are a couple of topics that keep me in conflict; I admit it. I have tried over the last few years to resolve the issue but can’t really seem to come to a good conclusion.

Lemme explain.

I am a massive market guy. I like the idea of providing proper incentives to folks in order to obtain the best outcome.

I don’t like entitlements, I don’t like paying people not to work, I don’t like incentives that don’t drive proper behavior. I don’t approve of government provided health care and I don’t like government provided retirement accounts.

But there are two, maybe one if you count them as the same, areas in which I feel the State is obligated to carry out service to individuals.

  1. Public Education
  2. Children’s Health

I know that I stand nearly along in defending these two institutions among my conservative friends. I know that I am asking that we tax society in order to provide a service that should be voluntary. However, children are not free market actors and are unable to participate in such activities they otherwise would.

And so it is, that while I am convinced, absolutely CONVINCED, that Charter Schools will improve education fro more children more economically, I can not support the concept that they are an “Opt In” institution. The parents of children who apply for Charter Schools are the parents of the children we don’t need to help. It’s the kids who have lazzy assed parents that we need to reach. And given Charter School across the street, those parents won’t take the time to attend an open house and submit the paperwork for the lottery.

In short, I agree with the North Carolina Democrat, Senator Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford):

http://mm.news-record.com/nrcom_mm_player/nrwidgetplayer.swf?pid=646&ezquery=%2Fnode%5Fid%2F646%2Fkeyword%2F%2Fterms%2F%2Fsort%2F%2Fclass%2F%2Fstartdate%2F%2Fenddate%2F%2Fstatus%2F&playNowId=4910

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6 comments
  1. Crimson Wife said:

    I stopped listening after Ms. Robinson started claiming that all children don’t have equal access to good education, so that’s why she opposes charters. She’s absolutely right that all children do not have access to good public schools- but charters are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Charters are open to any child living in the area, unlike traditional public schools where enrollment is limited to only the students whose families can afford to live within the neighborhood. All families regardless of income have an equal shot at sending their children to a charter school- all they have to do is sign up for the lottery.

    I believe that we should convert all public schools to charters with enrollment via lottery, and I would also support a voucher program for low-income families to give them further choice.

    • pino said:

      I stopped listening after Ms. Robinson started claiming that all children don’t have equal access to good education, so that’s why she opposes charters.

      Hi CW, thanks for stoppin by.

      My wife and I attended an open house for a local charter school here in Wake County. During the presentation, the administration mentioned that parents are required to volunteer in the school a minimum of 1 hour a week PLUS drive a field trip once or twice a year.

      Further, free and reduced lunches are not provided.

      Last, the Charter does not offer transportation to and from the school.

      Anyone of these things could cause a low income family to opt out. The combination of all of them considerably reduces the ability of those families.

      All families regardless of income have an equal shot at sending their children to a charter school- all they have to do is sign up for the lottery.

      You are right. However, a lower % of low income families will sign up.

      I believe that we should convert all public schools to charters with enrollment via lottery, and I would also support a voucher program for low-income families to give them further choice.

      Bless you!

      This is my solution as well. Continue to tax the community and distribute that tax money to each student in the district. They can then go to any school they want to; private OR public.

  2. Yes, and for extra measure, let’s throw in a couple school uniforms as well.

  3. Crimson Wife said:

    My kids are signed up for the lottery at our local Montessori charter school as we are not sure we’ll be in a position to continue homeschooling next year. The school does not offer transportation or hot lunches, but then none of the traditional public schools in our district offer transportation and plenty of them have eliminated their hot lunch programs to save money (I’m pretty sure our zoned school doesn’t have one).

    The Montessori charter does require 40 hours per year volunteer work per student from the families but it doesn’t have to be on-site labor. A number of the parents do correcting for teachers in other grades as a way of meeting that requirement. That can be done at home whenever and it frees up the teachers to focus on more important stuff like lesson planning.

    The biggest barrier is the school’s request for a $1000 per student donation. The principal stressed in the open house that neither the teachers nor the administrators know who has donated nor the amount of the donation (if any), but I can see where even the mention of that hefty request might be enough to discourage some low-income families from applying.

    If my kids get accepted and we wind up enrolling them, I don’t think we’d be in a position to afford the full $2k donation (finances being the reason for putting them into school rather than continuing to homeschool). We’d give what we can and then I’d try to make the rest up by grantwriting or some other sort of fundraising.

    • pino said:

      I can see where even the mention of that hefty request might be enough to discourage some low-income families from applying.

      I love LOVE the idea of Charter Schools. Break away from traditional schools, innovate and provide choice to families. However, it’s that very reason you mentioned above that gives me pause. If the cap is raised too high the public schools will be left with nothing but families who don’t opt out.

  4. Henry said:

    Twice a year all Michigan schools, public and charter, have “Count Day”. One day is at the start of the school year, the other is at the start of the spring semester. These are the days that the state counts the number of students in all schools. The figures are used to determine the amount of money that the school will receive from the State of Michigan. Here is the problem… Some/most/all charter schools go out of their way to keep students just until count day. Once the charter school has the state’s money, the student is escorted to the door. Why is all the state funding predicated upon enrollment on just two days?

    Crimson Wife wrote: “The principal stressed in the open house that neither the teachers nor the administrators know who has donated nor the amount of the donation.”

    There is no way that the principal is telling the truth. I know; we all know that word gets around. The school may not officially notify the staff, but the teachers will still find out who paid and who did not.

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