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Charter Schools Continue Their "Meh" Record


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#1 LFC

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:59 PM

I'm putting this in Political since it's this is Betsy DeVos's hobby horse. The right-wingers believe that charter schools will do great and wonderful things for education despite more and more evidence that they really don't perform any better on the average. This was a particularly brutal report on the failure of many California charter schools' to perform while taking gobs of public money. IIRC, that's what the right-wingers call "picking winners" and it's supposed to be a bad thing.

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A blockbuster report detailing how California’s charter school industry has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars by opening and building schools in communities that don’t need them and often end up doing worse than nearby public schools, is a nationwide warning about how education privateers hijack public funds and harm K-12 public schools.

“This report finds that this funding [building, buying, leasing] is almost completely disconnected from educational policy objectives, and the results are, in turn, scattershot and haphazard,” the report’s executive summary begins. “Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent each year without any meaningful strategy. Far too much of this public funding is spent on schools built in neighborhoods that have no need for additional classroom space, and which offer no improvement over the quality of education already available in nearby public schools. In the worst cases, public facilities funding has gone to schools that were found to have discriminatory enrollment policies and others that have engaged in unethical or corrupt practices.”

The report, “Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning in California Charter School Funding,” was written by the University of Oregon’s Gordon Lafer for In The Public Interest, a research and policy center based in Oakland, California.

Its findings are significant on national and statewide levels, especially since California has more charter schools than any other state and the Trump administration has proposed spending $20 billion for a range of “school choice” initiatives, from charter public schools to tuition vouchers for religious schools or to subsidize homeschooling. Charter schools are privately run K-12 schools and have become an industry dominated by corporate franchises seeking rapid growth.

The school reform template embraced by the Trump administration’s K-12 privatization agenda would use many of the same fiscal devices and tax-based incentives the new report has documented as wasting California taxpayer funds and harming nearby traditional schools.

Viewed from the level of state politics, where most of the nation’s K-12 education policies are sanctioned and administered, the report highlights a fundamental injustice. California’s charter industry accessed more than $2.5 billion in government-backed bonds, tax credits and grants to lease, build or buy schools in communities where school districts could not meet the legal criteria to build new schools because current or future enrollments would not justify that expansion.

“The most fundamental question to ask about any type of school construction is: how many schools are needed for the number of students we have?” the report asks. “Nearly 450 charter schools have opened [across California] in places that already had enough classroom space for all students—and this overproduction of schools was made possible by generous public support, including $111 million in rent, lease, or mortgage payments picked up by taxpayers, $135 million in general obligation bonds, and $425 million in private investments subsidized with tax credits or tax exemptions. Moreover, since this data was available for only a portion of the state’s charter schools, the real amounts of funding devoted to schools in communities that had no need for more classrooms is almost twice as great.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#2 HockeyDon

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:37 AM

Doesn't it really depend on what the end goal happens to be?

if the goal is to provide education, then sure, I can understand your criticism.

However, if the end goal is to funnel money into the pockets of people wealthy enough to own charter schools, while simultaneously ensuring a less public less educated, knowing that low information voters are more easily swayed by Team Red's constant barrage of misinformation, thereby keeping aforementioned funneling of money going, then I'd say they're on the path to success.
Well, fuck.

How can I be expected to distinguish BS from reality when so much of my reality is utter BS?!

"There seems to be a lot of people dying of ignorance while living in the information age." my sister-in-law.

#3 LFC

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 04:54 PM

The great right-wingnut hope for transforming education continues its "meh" performance.

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When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and first lady Melania Trump visited Excel Academy Public Charter School last spring, DeVos praised the school as a “shining example of a school meeting the needs of its students, parents and community.” Melania Trump called the charter school “an exceptional example of a school preparing young women both academically and personally so that they may succeed in a global community.”

The visit made international headlines due to the fact that it also featured Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan. In terms of publicity, a school could not ask for a better platform.

Unfortunately, we now know the praise the school got during its brief time on the world stage did not match its poor performance.

On Jan. 11, the DC Public Charter School Board voted unanimously, 6-0, to shut down the Pre-K-8, all-girls school at the end of the current school year. The board action wasn’t because of some sudden turn of events after Secretary DeVos, Melania Trump and Queen Raina paid their visit. Instead, records show, it was because the “trend for student performance over the past several years has been negative, despite any benefits that may have occurred from learning in an all-girl setting.”


So that's one glaring example but just how common is this? Looks like about a 3-5% annual failure rate based on the closure number below and the fact that they need to be measure against 2017's peak number of schools..

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Excel Academy charter school now joins the 200 to 300 charter schools that are shut down each year across the nation due to poor performance, financial shortcomings and low enrollments.
[snip]
In 2017, the number of students enrolled in charter schools surpassed 3 million nationwide and the number of charter schools reached 6,900.


And here's the problem I've had with private charter schools since I first learned about them. If the business succeeds they make the profit but if it fails they simply declare bankruptcy and walk away while the residents are forced to pay for the absorption of the students tossed out on the street. That's why I advocate for any school taking public funds to post a bond that will pay for those costs and take the risk off the residents.

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The Excel case magnifies how the cost of charter school failure is born by parents and their children, communities, educators and local residents. Indeed, many of the 700 or so girls who currently attend Excel must now scramble to find another school by next fall.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#4 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 05:13 PM

The Right Wing “hope” doesn’t involve good educations except for the .01%.

I’m sure they’d happily ban literacy for the rest of us if they could.

Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#5 LFC

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 05:36 PM

View PostProgressive whisperer, on 16 January 2018 - 05:13 PM, said:

I’m sure they’d happily ban literacy for the rest of us if they could.

Then attach a literacy test to the right to vote. It's a twofer!
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#6 LFC

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 04:24 PM

Republicans like Betsy DeVos loooovvveee themselves some charter schools. This article explains how costly the Republican push for them in Pennsylvania has become and how their costs are rising in an out of control fashion due to a lack of price regulation. The price is being paid by higher local property taxes so the Republicans in the state legislature get to claim they didn't raise taxes. Of course they didn't. They just caused the municipalities to decide if they wanted to raise taxes and/or cut school funding. They want to turn our education system into the same shitpile they created in Kansas. Bold is mine.

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Although much of the debate is stuck to a bumper sticker message about the need for families to have a choice to attend charter schools, few if any candidates seem willing to acknowledge providing families with an option to choose charters can come with considerable costs to everyone else in the community.

To understand those costs, consider Pennsylvania, where the costs of charter schools are most blatantly apparent but nevertheless representative of the cost of charters everywhere.

Across the state, charter schools are part of what Dan Doubet tells me is “a perfect storm of economic factors crushing down on middle- and working-class families.” Doubet is executive director of Keystone Progress, a Pennsylvania-based activist group focused on progressive issues and community organizing.

Pennsylvania passed its charter school law in 1997 and now has 179 charter schools enrolling 135,100 students, the sixth highest charter school enrollment in the nation. One in four of these students attends “cyber charters,” statewide schools that operate online.

Although charter schools are promoted to Pennsylvania families as a free option to look outside their neighborhood public schools, the costs of charters are borne by local school districts—and all the taxpayers who support them. Charter schools now cost Pennsylvania taxpayers over $1.8 billion annually and account for over 25 percent of the state’s basic education funding.

Pennsylvania’s surging charter school costs are direct causes of rapidly rising property taxes across the state. When public school students transfer to charters, and per-pupil costs “follow the child,” Doubet explains, the bill for that cost comes due at the end of each budget year when local public schools have to make “tuition payments” to compensate charters for students who transferred. These mostly unplanned, unforeseen costs are often enough to tip district budgets into the red. And the only way to pay off the deficits and right the fiscal ship is to raise local property taxes.

“Everywhere you go you hear complaints about the huge burden that local property taxes have become,” Doubet says. “It’s tough for middle- and working-class families to come up with the money when their wages have stagnated for decades. And retirees on fixed incomes are especially hard hit.”

Recent reports by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) seem to back up Doubet’s observations about the increasing financial burden posed by charter schools.

A recent PASBO report finds, “Charter school tuition is one of the largest areas of mandated cost growth for school districts.” With the current cost of charter growth at 10 percent annually, PASBO calculates at least $0.37 of every new dollar raised in property taxes in 2017-2018 went directly to charters. That figure will likely grow, the study says, and school districts will continue to see the costs of charters gobble up larger chunks of their basic education funding.

Because the state does virtually nothing to help alleviate these costs, school districts are forced to turn to property taxes. Another PASBO analysis, based on a survey of district superintendents in the state, finds more than one-third face a worsening financial picture in their districts—and they blame charter schools.

“With the state providing no state support for mandatory charter school tuition costs,” the study says, “the increases in this single budget item have the potential to decimate school district budgets.” To stave off the decimation, “school districts shifted resources from other areas of the budget, cut programs, and raised property taxes to cover the difference” created by rising charter school costs.

Another report, a 2017 study by the state’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, found that 51 districts now have “significant charter enrollment,” which the study determined is over 5 percent of student population in the district enrolled in charter schools. Of those districts, 40 percent were facing fiscal challenges, and over half of those districts requested and received approval to raise their school real estate taxes.

The financial strain is caused by Pennsylvania’s formula for funding charter schools, which is unique to the state but has, at its heart, a principle all charter funding methods share.

“The Pennsylvania charter funding formula is a dumpster fire,” Mark Weber tells me. “If you paid me to design a funding system that advantaged charter schools over public school districts—but did so in a way that the advantage was hidden in technical details—I’d probably come up with something that looks a lot like it.”


Look back at those bold numbers. That's 135,100 students eating up 25% of the state's "basic education funding." To put that in perspective there are over 1.7 million children enrolled in PA public schools. My state's charter school program is (no surprise) nothing but a scam designed to siphon money from the taxpayer while shielding state level pols from the fallout.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#7 Traveler

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:03 AM

That is unacceptable. Typical PA legislation.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire





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