Massive invasion of charter schools coming in 2015

Instead of just one bandwagon it's becoming a wagon train:

As many as 170 new charter schools could open in North Carolina in 2015, including 39 in the Triangle and 43 in Mecklenburg County.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. They are also independent of the school districts in which they’re located.

They may be "independent" of local school districts, but that doesn't mean they won't be draining resources from local taxpayers, and other traditional public schools they are competing with.


Dave Ribar looks at demographics

of Greensboro's whitewashed charter schools:

In Greensboro, this has led to one publicly-funded charter school--Greensboro Academy--being the whitest public school in all of Greensboro. Figures from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction indicate that in the 2012-13 school year, 81.7 percent of Greensboro Academy's students were white. By way of contrast, just under 38 percent of public school students in Guilford County are white. Greensboro Academy's current composition represents progress of a sort; a few years ago just over 90 percent of its students were white.

Greensboro Academy and Cornerstone Academy are both located near the northwest fringes of Greensboro (they're less than four miles driving distance apart), a section of the city that is predominantly white. For example, the district elementary school for children who live very near Greensboro Academy is Claxton Elementary, which is 59.7 percent white, and the district middle school is Kernodle, which is 64.5 percent white.

However, these locational choices are compounded by another factor--the lack of general school bus transportation to the schools. Parents at these schools are responsible for transporting or arranging transportation for their children. This makes it much harder for low-income parents, especially those who lack cars. The schools assist parents who want to locate car-pool partners, but this would still be a substantial barrier for those without cars in the first place. Additionally, neither school is especially walkable.

Charter schools are allocated a share of the state and local transportation funds, but part of their academic "flexibility" includes being able to use those funds for other purposes.

The lack of transportation is a huge factor in determining the economic/racial makeup of the student body, and would be even more pronounced in a rural setting dealing with hundreds of square miles.

I believe so

I didn't see any from NC on this list, but several charters have filed bankruptcy nationwide, and many others have lost their charters due to financial mismanagement.

But NC's absence from that list is likely to change in the near future. See if this sounds familiar:

More than almost any other state, Ohio shows that change is possible. The state originally took the “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach, encouraging rapid expansion of charter schools with minimal oversight. Ohio educators expected that parents would stay away from bad charters, which would then be forced to close down, said Todd Ziebarth, vice president for state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Instead, the state became something of a national embarrassment in the charter movement, with headlines about gross mismanagement and financial scandals. When the automatic closure law was written in 2006, more than half of Ohio’s charter schools were rated a D or F under the state grading system.

While pushing for more charter schools might be a debatable policy, pushing for less (or no) oversight is not debatable, it's a recipe for failure and massive misappropriation of taxpayer's money.

charter schools, graduates, transcripts,

I have grown concerned over the issue of record keeping. With traditional public schools each district keeps a record of grades, usually for a very long time. Applying to college and to grad school requires the applicant to have their high school academic records be sent from the school district directly to the college. What happens to a graduate of a charter high school if that high school goes under and closes? Who is tasked with maintaining records of the children who attended that charter school and their grades?

A Wisconsin Family found out just exactly what this means when their daughter applied to college and was told her degree was not valid. Amanda Sheriff was told by Milwaukee Career College (MCC) that her degree was not valid because the high school she attended was not accredited. While the school Amanda attended was chartered, it lost its charter shortly after she graduated.

Thankfully, MCC was incorrect in its initial assessment, but it highlights a seemingly new area of concern for parents. With so many choices between voucher, charter and online schools, parents are pushed to ask questions about a schools future plans regarding chartering and accreditation. If Amanda had graduated the year after the charter was pulled, her degree would have been worthless.

According to MCC, parents should inquire into school accreditation, and be particularly weary of schools that require payment and online schools. MCC stated that these schools which are not accredited are not giving students the real code to college, and are providing them with little more than a piece of paper with “Diploma” etched on it.

To avoid being scammed by one of these schools, Julia D’Amato, the principal at St. Anthony High School, one of the largest, private, Catholic voucher schools in the nation, says to visit the school, and ask to sit in on lectures, view the syllabi, etc. Also, Ms. D’Amato suggests to look into your state school accreditation, and make sure your school survives the cut.

I would hope NC's laws on charter schools require accreditation by the appropriate organizations. But I have not seen anything regarding a central organization keeping track of charter school records of grades and graduates..

Anderson Creek Charter School

Anderson Creek Charter School was one of those approved recently. It will be located in Anderson Creek Club, the most exclusive gated community in Harnett County. No transportation will be provided so parents will have to enter the ACC through the gates that protect the neighborhood from the local riffraff. While everyone is welcome to apply for admission members of the school's board of trustees will have their children automatically admitted and there is no clear limit on the number of members of the BofT. My best guess is that there will be a direct correlation between the number of families with elementary school age children in the ACC and the membership on the board. I wonder how many families in the starter homes and mobile home parks nearby will feel welcome driving through those gates every day?

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Brass tacks

Let's call it like it is.

Charter schools are a way for right-wing nut jobs to:

  • Legally fund religious schools with tax dollars
  • Allow unqualified people to teach kids things such as "evolution is false"
  • Perform a massive wealth redistribution
  • Put your tax dollars into the pockets of a few rich private school owners
  • Indoctrinate kids into weird twisted right-wing nut job delusions

The NCGA allowed charter schools to have teachers who are not qualified and who do NOT EVEN NEED TO PASS A BACKGROUND CHECK (those are the types of folks who teach mental rot to our kids). They tried but failed to have a separate board for charter schools.

At least two charters schools have failed recently in NC.

This is a major prong in the extremists' attack on public education. Once they force public education into failure, they'll point at it and say, "See? We need more charters! And we'll need more of your money, but don't worry...the public schools are history".

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014