Why we send our kids to a charter school, and why we wish more liberals would start charter schools


This post has no content

Wish it did.

The Absence Of "Why"

Me too. Maybe the "Regulator" will head back over here and let us know.

At the moment

The post is completely blank.

Which makes it equivalent to these other posts:

  1. Reasons that Thom Tillis is qualified to be US Senator
  2. A compendium of Phil Berger's displays of compassion
  3. The complete list of true statements uttered by DAG McCrony
  4. All of Art Pope's actions that have no ulterior motive
  5. All the ways that John Skvarla is protecting North Carolina's environment
  6. Queen Aldona's demonstrations of competence

"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

My kids went to a charter school

for a couple of years. It was an international school...very liberal education. There were some bumps along the way and we moved after only a couple of years. It wasn't a terrible experience...but my girls weren't as happy as they were at public school. Then...they didn't much care for public school either. I think they just wanted to go straight to college...hehe

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I put the picture up there

I have this mild obsessive-compulsive thing about blank walls...

If the author wants to provide some actual content, I'll be more than happy to take down the picture.

Be careful, though

They can grow up to be this

"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

Many Apologies

I'm pretty new around here, other than as a reader.

I thought I was beginning a draft of a diary I want to write. I have no idea how I "posted" this.

My kids do go to an excellent charter school. It IS a public school. They don't have "a room in the Central Office where they light hundred dollar bills on fire", like our large, bureaucratic County system where our area's middle school has 900 kids and our high school has around 1500. In our charter's middle and high schools every teacher actually knows every kid. My children's school is all about what goes on in the classroom. The administrators are sharp and competent. No gutless "Ed.Ducrats" to be found. Because our school is small the kids don't have to be elite athletes to play soccer, volleyball, baseball and golf for their school.

I am saddened that so many of my fellow progressives are so reflexively anti-charters. We should be starting our own schools, just like our conservative friends and neighbors have done.

I understand it though. I know the rightists in Raleigh are pushing charters, especially for-profit chain charters as a means of privatizing public education and weakening our existing public school system. Vouchers too. It's "divide and conquer". I get it.

But what if we started more of our own schools and did it the right way?

Sorry for the mishap. I'll be back when I get my thoughts better organized. Meanwhile do we have a copy Posting at Blue NC for Dummies?


Glad you found your way back.

I totally agree with you about charters and the need for liberals to take charge. In fact, I have long hoped that DPI would become an engine for charters, helping "charter-minded" teachers start up their own schools in droves.

Start more. The right way. I love it.

I had an idea many years ago

When my daughter was still tiny and I was deciding whether or not I wanted her in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system I read many books on homeschooling, but felt that idea wasn't right for us.

In the process I read something about the old one-room school houses. My great-grandmother taught in one of those long ago, and it occurred to me that such an approach might be well suited to many of our urban and suburban communities today. In a one (or two) room school the older children typically helped the younger ones, and in so doing reinforced their own lessons. Back then I wasn't thinking of it in terms of a charter school, but it could easily be adapted.

What I imagined was a structure large enough to hold 30-50 students during school hours, and perhaps containing apartments for teachers could be an option as well.

I haven't thought about this in many years (baby girl is three semesters from becoming a teacher herself), but perhaps this will start a broader conversation on the subject. There are many possibilities, and in a state where any parent can call themselves a home school, it certainly wouldn't be inconceivable.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

There was a special report on CBS Sunday Morning

just a week or so ago on one room school houses and how they work well in very remote, rural communities. I love the idea.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Some number

of kids would do better at non-traditional schools. That's where genuine charters, catering to kids who truly need them, come in. We don't think that number is massive.

The fact we need to face is that charters rob traditional public schools of resources. Sorry, but that's how it is. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's how it is.

The right wing has perverted the genuine reasons for having charter schools (SURPRISE!). Not all charters are bad; indeed, some are excellent and fill a void and serve various populations quite well.

But until the advantages of charter schools don't result in a commensurate disadvantage to traditional public schools (there are several ways this could be fixed, but the NC GOP sure as hell ain't gonna do that), they should be capped and overseen with an iron hand. And that ain't what the GOP intends, believe me.

"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

The fundamental flaw I see

in the charter school formula is not so much the partisan/religious issues, or even the "for-profit" angle. Many of those types of schools have self-destruct mechanisms built in, although their supporters don't know it until it happens.

My real problem is that I view them as a distraction. Unless you build the new charter school with an eye towards replicability on a state-wide scale, they won't provide us with the answers we need. Sure, having 15 students for every teacher is a great idea, but it's also an idea that public school proponents have been pushing for years, and they were lucky they got a cap on the ratio at 27:1. And now that is gone.

Don't get me wrong, after watching my three kids swim upstream at densely-populated county schools, I'd love to see us build more and smaller schools. I'd like for at least half the kids that are enrolled to be able to ride their bike to their small local school, like I did in elementary school. But the number of children we're talking about is staggering, and so would be the price tag for revamping our education system in the way some have suggested.

The bottom line is, only a small percentage of students could ever benefit from expanding non-traditional schools. Yes, it's good for them, or it could be good for them if done well. But we (as Democrats) should not be in the business of pursuing policies that can only help a small subset of the population. There can be none left behind, or we may as well hang up our hats.

I agree that charters rob the public system...

But if we can't stop them we ought to be offering better options. Once these things get established it will be very difficult to shut them down. Genies rarely go back into the bottle willingly.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Agree with that

although we COULD stop them (indeed, we did until recently -- the number of charter schools was capped). And the state overseers are doing their darnedest to ensure that charters offer the best options. That, of course, is what Tillman is so upset about. He wants every charter approved, period, no matter now slimy it might be (especially the ones proposed by his buddies).

Because Jerry also understands how hard it is to get the genie back in the bottle, and he knows if he releases enough genies they'll suffocate the public schools.

That said, this need not be an either-or proposition. I agree that we need to make the best of the GOP's bad situation by supporting good charter schools, while simultaneously trying to make the situation better by getting laws (and legislators) changed.

"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

Charter schools, in and of

Charter schools, in and of themselves, are not as big a problem as is the concept of a for-profit management company that has a vested interest in short-changing the education of our children to create a profit for its owners. These companies want to eat up our tax dollars to line their own pockets. They create large corporate structures that allow one part to manage the school, which buys its supplies from a second part, rents classroom space from a third part, and so on, until the money is gone.

Yet our Sen Tillman said that if a for-profit management company had been approved to do business in another state, then, that was good enough to let them do business here as well.

The willy-nilly creation of charters has led to a situation in Durham where it is almost impossible to know when the traditional public schools need to build another school building as they cannot predict if another charter will open and pull kids out of the traditional schools.

To do charters right would mean making a real effort for each to use different instructional methods, and have a rigorous accountability plan. This is our kids' future we are playing with and we cannot leave them in an inappropriate environment for too long. There also needs to be a means of sharing their success stories with traditional public schools and a method of allow the traditional public schools to adopt from that what they need to be better. But none of that was put in place by our laws.

In the long run, we may learn that our children simply learn better in a much smaller school environment than we have allowed. Elementary schools have often been 600-700 children. They might all learn better in an environment of about 200. Building for that would be incredibly expensive unless we could create some kind of campus with 2-3 small elementariness grouped together.

And we need to set up a separate revenue stream to support the charters, rather than robbing the traditional schools of resources.

Charter Schools should be limited in number and started

for educational reasons not political ones. If this political divide crap continues we will be shooting at each like Sunni and Shia are doing right now in Iraq.
Serving special needs students is a good reason for starting a charter school as is using teaching methods that are nonstandard to enable students who learn differently to have a chance at academic success. Providing a smaller setting without all the social drama is also a good reason, but social segregation along political lines is counterproductive for long term social harmony.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?