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How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the on-a-scale-1-10 dept.

Education 715

theodp writes "'You go to these charters,' gushed Bill Gates in 2010, 'and you sit and talk to these kids about how engaged they are with adults and how much they read and what they think about and how they do projects together.' Four years later, Gates is tapping his Foundation to bring charter schools to Washington State, doling out grants that included $4.25 million for HP CEO Meg Whitman's Summit Public Schools. So what's not to like? Plenty, according to Salon's The Truth About Charter Schools, in which Jeff Bryant delves into the dark side of the charter movement, including allegations of abuse, corruption, lousy instruction, and worse results. Also troubling Bryant is that the children of the charter world's biggest cheerleaders seem never to attend these schools ('A family like mine should not use up the inner-city capacity of these great schools,' was Bill Gates' excuse). Bryant also cites Rethinking Schools' Stan Karp, who argues that Charter Schools Are Undermining the Future of Public Education, functioning more like deregulated 'enterprise zones' than models of reform, providing subsidized spaces for a few at the expense of the many. 'Our country has already had more than enough experience with separate and unequal school systems,' Karp writes. 'The counterfeit claim that charter privatization is part of a new 'civil rights movement', addressing the deep and historic inequality that surrounds our schools, is belied by the real impact of rapid charter growth in cities across the country. At the level of state and federal education policy, charters are providing a reform cover for eroding the public school system and an investment opportunity for those who see education as a business rather than a fundamental institution of democratic civic life. It's time to put the brakes on charter expansion and refocus public policy on providing excellent public schools for all.'"

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teach us about the truth about us (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939033)

the location/setting is is everywhere already

Test scores (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939039)

As long as people take test scores seriously and refer to test scores to see how 'good' schools are, you can continue to know that something is wrong.

Re:Test scores (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 10 months ago | (#45939275)

What else is there to grade schools on?

How students do a decade in the future? which may or may not have anything to do with that school?

Re:Test scores (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939373)

What else is there to grade schools on?

Having standardized tests is useful, as long as you don't take the results of those tests as the be all and end all. To use test results as the only way of judging schools is to fall prey to the MBA mentality - if there isn't a simplistic metric then it doesn't exist. Think of how that mentality has affected so many businesses.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Re:Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939421)

Having standardized tests for extremely basic things like reading, writing, and basic math is useful, but only if you don't give them too often.

This desire for simple-to-understand numbers is one of the things that has always held true education back. Education, when done properly, focuses on understanding whenever possible (almost always), not rote memorization.

Re: Test scores (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 10 months ago | (#45939447)

"Not everything that can be counted counts."

That is exactly the problem... We have so many children that are lousy at math, and yet people throw up their hands and ask "what can I do?"

Level the playing field (5, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | about 10 months ago | (#45939045)

If charter schools are allowed to operate, then they shouldn't benefit from special privileges that public schools don't have. They should have to accept any students in the area (regardless of academic level, just like the public schools). They also should be required to have all students take the standardized tests (instead of finding reasons to exclude children who they know won't do as well, so the school looks better ranked in comparison).

If charter schools aren't cheating and they are showing an improvement that is one thing. But too often they are cheating to make themselves look better compared to public schools.

Re:Level the playing field (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45939151)

the point is to take students who's parents care from bad schools and put them in an environment where they can get a decent education. the rest will end up in their crappy neighborhood school where the parents don't care about checking their homework and will be passed and graduated just to get rid of them. if their parents don't care there is nothing the school can do

the good public schools already attract parents who want the best for their kids

Re: Level the playing field (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 months ago | (#45939243)

The ghetto culture will never change because the urban black culture is full of "parents" (just the mother, father is AWOL) who act like children themselves. They don't want to change!!! They want to change others around them to suffer in the "struggle". Well, fuck that shit! There isn't any kind of school system that can prevent classroom disruption by this culture, and a bottomless pit of money cannot solve. Chicago, I'm looking at you!

Re: Level the playing field (1, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | about 10 months ago | (#45939383)

The "ghetto" culture will never change because they by-and-large believe themselves to be victims of a system gamed against them, and their only hope for change must come from some external force (the government, Al Sharpton, etc.). Their victim mentality is reflected not only in the poor quality of their schools, but also in the poor quality of the neighborhoods, their homes, and their parenting.

I was raised poor relative to many of the people around me, but my parents told me I could accomplish anything I put my mind to, they continually improved the living environment for my siblings and I, and they never once implied that our problems were anyone's doing other than our own. That is what creates success; not white skin.

The government can't stop those with the mind to provide a better education to their children from finding a way. Close the inner-city schools and force so-called "desegregation" on charter schools, and while the inner-city kids fuck up new schools, those with the means will move on. And then repeat. Always repeat.

Re: Level the playing field (-1, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#45939545)

"Locus of control"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control [wikipedia.org]

The reason why blacks and muslims generally do so badly, is because IT'S ALWAYS SOMEBODY ELSE'S FAULT. Usually Whitey's.

Re:Level the playing field (4, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | about 10 months ago | (#45939269)

the point is to take students who's parents care from bad schools and put them in an environment where they can get a decent education.

Its not always about level of care the parents are providing but what they can provide. How much care towards education can a low-income single parent working two full time jobs provide?

What is the parent doesn't have a great education themselves and aren't able to help their child academically (and only motivationally)?

Should that child suffer, not only because of that, but because of dwindling resources in the public school system that are being drained by the charter schools?

The students who are struggling are the ones who need the best resources/teaching/etc. If charter schools are as great as they are made out to be - they should be VOLUNTEERING to take students who are struggling academically, not shunning them like lepers.

Re:Level the playing field (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | about 10 months ago | (#45939543)

How much care towards education can a low-income single parent working two full time jobs provide?

What is the parent doesn't have a great education themselves and aren't able to help their child academically (and only motivationally)?

The amount they can help is less, but I'd take the motivational help if they'd give that. The majority of parents can't successfully help their children with school work by the time students reach high school anyway, but the parents that show their kids education is important and support their kid's learning do dramatically better. Even those single parents working two jobs. The real problem is people having children they aren't prepared to support properly. There's probably not much we can ethically do about that though.

Should that child suffer, not only because of that, but because of dwindling resources in the public school system that are being drained by the charter schools?

If they have less kids to teach, the resources aren't really dwindling. They have the same amount per student. If they want to retain more students they need to improve. There are plenty of options available to them including teacher training and union reform.

If charter schools are as great as they are made out to be - they should be VOLUNTEERING to take students who are struggling academically, not shunning them like lepers.

Agreed, they should have to take every student and have no ability to cherry pick. That's completely unfair to start with an unlevel playing field. The data from charter schools so far is that their results are even more variable than public schools. There are a few successes and several disasters. Those opposing charter schools on a philosophical or other basis will point out the failures and those promoting them will point out the successes. Overall though charter school results are pretty close but not better than public schools. I'd say that's actually the most damning fact. For all the things holding public schools back, charter schools shouldn't have that much trouble getting significantly better results, but they don't on average.

Re:Level the playing field (3, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#45939171)

So what? They don't need to "make it look" they are better. They are better.

And regarding your problems with selective acceptance, in the absence of resources to attend everybody better schools the best resources should be used to teach those that have the greatest potential.

Re:Level the playing field (3, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939291)

They don't need to "make it look" they are better. They are better.

Obviously something schools aren't teaching well is the scientific method and intellectual skepticism. "They are because I say they are" is not an argument.

Re:Level the playing field (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 10 months ago | (#45939521)

Obligatory xkcd...

http://xkcd.com/703/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Level the playing field (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 10 months ago | (#45939391)

So... those who need the least help should get the most help, and those who need the most help should get the least amount of help?

Should we apply the same rationale to other areas? Maybe health care?

Re:Level the playing field (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939177)

I'd suggest that a better way is to include an asterisk on data from those without a level playing field. There is a place for charters serving those under-served by the present system - remedial as well as advanced. It does not make sense to compare raw data between them and regular schools, but that doesn't mean they are 'cheating.'

Re:Level the playing field (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939319)

There is a place for charters serving those under-served by the present system - remedial as well as advanced.

What you're talking about is specialized schools. Those can be charter or public, just as charter schools can be for regular students.

Re:Level the playing field (0)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 10 months ago | (#45939225)

Agreed. I can't speak for around the world, but the charter schools in Baltimore City, MD meet all of the requirements you listed.

When my family lived in Baltimore City, we started attending charter school meetings. The charter schools got the same amount of money per student as public schools. They had to meet all the same testing requirements. Overall, they ran at a significant disadvantage, since they had to do everything themselves. But everyone there was interested in getting their children a better education. The founders priority in the queue of students who got to go to the school, but the majority of the students were chosen from the public. The charter schools seemed to do much better than the city-run schools, and I suspect it was mainly because it consisted of parents who actually cared enough to take time out of their lives to make the school work.

Re:Level the playing field (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939427)

Agreed. That's a tough one to control for, and one that charter school advocates aren't interested in controlling for. "Lies, damn lies, and statistics" apply to those who don't, or don't want to, understand statistics.

Re:Level the playing field (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 10 months ago | (#45939317)

If you want to be fair, then all the parents of the public schools should have to pay tuition to the Charter/Private schools since the parents of those students continue to pay property taxes for the public schools.

And did you ever notice that the biggest cheerleaders for Public schools usually have their children in private schools? Sidwell Friends, anybody? Even many pubic school teachers send their kids to private schools. [slashdot.org]

Re:Level the playing field (5, Informative)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 10 months ago | (#45939337)

I attended a charter school when I was in high school.

We had to take all the standardized tests and meet all the state requirements to graduate. I ended up having to take American History from the local university because I could not fit the required course into the art curriculum I has elected to pursue.

We also had admission requirements. We had admission requirements because in 9th grade we were expected to take Algebra. If you did not have the math background to succeed in Algebra, you were not going to do well. It was a college prep school and you were expected to be able to handle the curriculum upon admittance. This school expected it's students to graduate with gobs of AP credits and to test out of a lot of freshmen college classes. I started college with almost 30 credits from AP tests. Admitting someone who could not read or add numbers would have done no one any favors. It does not help the students who are prepared and ready for the advanced curriculum if they have to be held back for students who aren't. It does not help the students who aren't ready to throw them into a curriculum they are not prepared for.

My brother did not attend the same high school. Instead, he attended the public high school down the street from our house because he always struggled with school work and would not have done well in the high pressure environment.

This idea that every child should get exactly the same education is ludicrous. Not everyone can do calculus in high school. Not everyone wants to play football. Not everyone wants to study art. There is a difference between opportunity and forcing everyone into cookie cutter education. My brother could have also attended the college prep charter school I went to, but it was not an environment he would have succeeded in so he didn't.

Re:Level the playing field (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939397)

I work for a public school. I won't say where, hence anonymous, but I agree 100% with you. Not only can charter schools cherry pick their kids but at least my state the people backing them have already been indicted for corruption by letting some of the richer ones fudge their test scores.

Charters are the flavor of the money in education and many if not most are worse than public schools. Some whole states who advocated for them have gone back to public schools (Virginia comes to mind).

Too many people not involved in education are making decisions. Then there are the predatory corporations looking for a cut of everything. The entire thing is a disaster and all you need to do, as always, is follow the money. Qui Bono?

CAPTCHA: unguided

Re:Level the playing field (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 10 months ago | (#45939419)

You use the word "should". So I think you're making a statement about how it's either a moral imperative, or a pragmatic imperative, for schools policies to be the way you described.

Which of those is it? And, can you make an argument in support of your position?

Re:Level the playing field (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939431)

If charter schools are allowed to operate, then they shouldn't benefit from special privileges that public schools don't have. They should have to accept any students in the area (regardless of academic level, just like the public schools). They also should be required to have all students take the standardized tests (instead of finding reasons to exclude children who they know won't do as well, so the school looks better ranked in comparison).

Yep. And that's exactly how it works in Colorado. In fact, there's so much variation in "charter schools" between states that it doesn't really makes sense to make any blanket assertions about "charter schools" at all. Far better to have a real discussion about which ones work and why, and which ones damage public schools and why.

Skewed stats (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 10 months ago | (#45939535)

Private schools come and go. if you start 100 private schools then some time later most will be out of business. A few, ones that could draw good students from wealthy families, will remain. If you now compare those to public schools they may shine. Bussinesses that succeed always look like their outperforming the governments delivery of similar services. In aggregate, including all the places they fail, they may not. How many failed charter schools did Bill Gates look into. How many of those failed before they even chartered because the demographics just would not work.

Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939051)

Of course, when Bill Gates goes to a charter school he is impressed. One assumes that he would be shown the best students from the best school in any given area or ditrict he was visiting. Empirical data should drive these decisions, not the "gushing" (really slashdot? he "gushed"...) of Bill Gates. He's a fine guy, and seems to really want to do some good with some of the fortune he made, but if he trusts the evidence of his own eyes in these kinds of situations, then he is a fool.

Re:Of course... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939441)

One assumes that he would be shown the best students from the best school in any given area or district he was visiting.

Wait until he visits schools in China.

its for fucking snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939061)

http://www.charterhouse.org.uk/ [charterhouse.org.uk]

And children of public school cheerleaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939069)

Also never seem to attend public schools. Usually these cheerleaders are wealthy, and wealthy families tend to use private schools.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 10 months ago | (#45939113)

Also never seem to attend public schools. Usually these cheerleaders are wealthy, and wealthy families tend to use private schools.

And exactly what is wrong with people that can afford to help their children get a better education doing so? Should not every parent try to provide the best life skills and education for their offspring that they are able to provide?

Are you advocating that people who have these means...sacrifice the lives of their children, send them for a poor education merely to prove a social "point"?

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#45939195)

It is hard to believe, and like you, I think the idea totally absurd, but some people actually preach that. There is no limit for human stupidity...

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#45939207)

...sacrifice the lives of their children, send them for a poor education merely to prove a social "point"?

The point is people who have a stake in the public school system are motivated to maintain a quality public school system. People who don't often have other motives.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939241)

(Different AC) The point is generally "Why do you want to deny charters/vouchers as a way out for the poor when you have already opted out yourself?" I agree that every parent should do their best for their children. That said, the "Finland model" advocates view school choice (including private schools) as a negative sum game - one student benefits at an even higher cost to other students.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939295)

People who can afford to send their kids to private school should not be pushing to prevent vouchers for private schools for the poor.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45939179)

not really
lots of towns in the northeast with public schools that are better than almost private school in the USA. of course these towns have property taxes which in some cases cost more than a lot of people earn in a year.

if you look at the newsweek or us news annual high school rankings, a big percentage are in NY, NJ and Connecticut. California has a lot and a few other liberal areas are represented as well. the red states with their low tax ideals have very few good schools

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 10 months ago | (#45939451)

I went to a private high school in a red state. Virtually indistinguishable from the education my college classmates received in public schools in those northeastern suburbs, except that my parents only had to pay tuition for the years I went there, not every year of their lives.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45939507)

Oops, you let the cat out of the bag. Don't you know that the official line is that all public schools in America suck? Thankfully my kids attend some of those schools whose existence you should no longer mention.

Re:And children of public school cheerleaders (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 10 months ago | (#45939407)

Also never seem to attend public schools. Usually these cheerleaders are wealthy, and wealthy families tend to use private schools.

I am a public school chearleader.

My grandparents attended public schools.

My parents attended public schools.

I attended public schools.

My children attend public schools.

I don't know what you think is wealthy (about 100 KEUR/year in my case).

In California (2)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#45939081)

We spend over $10,000 per student every year for public education.

Teachers (being very generous here) make $80,000 a year. 30 students to a class.

In nearly every school:

1. No computer curriculum/no practical science materials
2. No district/state funding for athletic equipment
3. No district/state funding for clubs
4. No district/state funding for field trips
5. No district/state funding for new books/supplies
6. No district/state funding for musical instruments/art supplies
7. No district/state funding for theater/drama sets/costumes
8. No district/state funding for industrial arts/woodworking
9. No district/state funding for automotive repair classes
10. No district/state funding for uniforms (cheerleading, band)

Where is the other $220,000?

Re:In California (2)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#45939293)

80K? In my area it is about 30K

Re:In California (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939375)

80K? In my area it is about 30K

Yeah, but what are the housing prices/rents like?

80K in the San Francisco area will get you about as far as 20K would in Metro Atlanta.

Re:In California (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939463)

OK, I don't have exact numbers for your situation but here is a of possible item based on my experience in our area

Instruction
Instruction Support (special ed)
Student Support (nurse, guidance counselor, speech therapists, etc.)
Transportation/Busing
General Administration(admin staff)
School Administration (principal)
District Administration
Facilities Maintenance and Operation (heating, cooling, cleaning, etc.)
Food Service (salaries, low income supplements, the food is usually covered by lunch fees)
MediaDept (copiers, printers, paper, network, school website, TVs, computers, etc)

Re: In California (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939549)

$20,000 facilities
$200,000 administrative costs

Yeah, like the present school system is working... (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 10 months ago | (#45939091)

Yeah, like the present public school system is a shining beacon of success.

Yep, we're just churning out bright, qualified students one right after the other.

Geez, our present system is an utter failure in most of the US. I would posit that pretty much anything is worth trying, in an effort to start trying to reign in cost, and get more results from our efforts.

There is one thing, however, which I don't know how we can fix, at least not from a legislative or policy standpoint, and that is the lack of parental participation.

So many parents think of the schools as a dumping ground for their progeny for day long child care. They don't participate except to raise hell with the administrators they their little Bobby or LaTonya is accused of mis-behavior (MY child would never...), or if they need to be held back due to lack of progress.

Do they even hold kids back anymore?

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939139)

Of course they don't hold kids back. Every year they hold a kid back is one more year of that kid dragging down the test scores for the school. Much better to push them out as fast as they can. You see the same thing in government, where you can't fire employees very easily. Bad employees tend to get promoted the fastest so that they can be sent somewhere else.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45939221)

yes
i've heard of two kids held back in kindergarten
i don't know about flyover country, but here in NY, kindergarten is now what first or second grade used to be when i went to school. my first grade older son is doing some work that i didn't do until third grade

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939239)

I'd be careful on the anything aspect. I was a proponent for vouchers until I realized that a big company would take over the educational system, similar to how prisons are privatized and how testing is scored by a single firm. What would result would be laws passed that would be a hefty barrier for entry for anyone else other than a well-heeled company, and we would get very crappy private schools that replace our already crappy public schools.

Of course, there is homeschooling, but that is being quickly outlawed state to state. Some states require a social worker sign off on a parent removing a kid from a public school. Not like homeschooling is much better, but our educational system is so bad that the homeschooled kids I encountered are actually better off come college time (as they pass the high school equivalency around 12-13.)

Colleges is where one sees the failure of the US educational system. I live in a city with a first tier university. When it comes time for admission and staying in, a student in the top 10% of a US high school just does not have the ability to compete with his/her counterparts who come from China and India [1]. It is like someone wheelchair bound competing in a 100 yard dash against 10 Usain Bolt clones for a single spot.

The school system in the US is a sign of the times. It is just shameful. Virtually every other country out there produces more educated and socialized students.

[1]: The China and India college student also get their education at no cost to them. The US student has to get student loans that they owe for life just to be even in the ball game.

Re: Yeah, like the present school system is workin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939579)

India education is very expensive, I don't know where you get the idea it's provided it's not.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (2)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 10 months ago | (#45939257)

While I agree with most of your points, I will add the problem is also the teachers and the schools.

The teachers make it as difficult as possible for working parents to communicate with them or be involved with their kid's school work. My daughter has been to 4 public schools and the only way we are able to get information from the school is to continue to hound the school.

At the school my kid is at now, my daughter's grade in math went from a 84 to a 33. When I asked my daughter to see her work, she said it was on on the school's computer. When I emailed the teacher (they don't answer the phone), she told me that parents are not able to help since all the work is done at the school on the computers and the next day my daughter's score changed to a 100.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | about 10 months ago | (#45939279)

There is one thing, however, which I don't know how we can fix, at least not from a legislative or policy standpoint, and that is the lack of parental participation.

While I agree with some of your points, I'll take issue with this statement. In my opinion, the lack of parental participation and school/legislative policy have degenerated in a vicious cycle. Schools try to do more to help kids, while discouraging/preventing parental influence on school policy. As a result, parents are less involved, which leads the school to do more, etc.

As for "day long day care" - so true. Look no further than the push for 4k and Head Start, which have repeatedly and consistently failed to produce lasting benefits, while costing taxpayers *billions*. There's no educational justification for it.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

guytoronto (956941) | about 10 months ago | (#45939299)

Parental participation is NOT the problem. The problem is administration and the U.S. litigious attitude. School boards have members pushing personal agendas in terms of education, while stripping power and responsibility away from front-line teachers for fear of any potential legal action. Teachers should be granted "legal guardian" status for every child in their class during the school day, superseding the parents. This would allow teachers to act more like parents and deal with kids, instead of having to throw their hands up in the air in frustration that Little Johnny has a rich, douchebag lawyer for a father.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 10 months ago | (#45939501)

No no Hell's no. Teachers are effectively representatives of the state and you want them to supersede the parents? Remember children are required by law to go to a public school, or if you can afford it out of pocket a private or home school. Public school already indoctrinate students. Worse yet they are managed by the board of ed.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939389)

The misconception is that "everyone can do well". If everyone does well in school, goes to college, etc., then in a generation, we'll have college educated burger flippers and janitors. That's the reality. Someone must end up doing those crappy jobs---and it's usually folks who don't do well in school (or drop out) and don't end up going to college (or drop out). Not saying there aren't exceptions or hard luck cases, but society needs that segment! (yes, YOU wouldn't want to be in that segment, but those there aren't there by choice).

Like in that "Incredibles" cartoon, ``if everyone's super, then nobody is'' or something along those lines.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939449)

Yeah, like the present public school system is a shining beacon of success.

Yep, we're just churning out bright, qualified students one right after the other.

Geez, our present system is an utter failure in most of the US. I would posit that pretty much anything is worth trying, in an effort to start trying to reign in cost, and get more results from our efforts.

There is one thing, however, which I don't know how we can fix, at least not from a legislative or policy standpoint, and that is the lack of parental participation.

So many parents think of the schools as a dumping ground for their progeny for day long child care. They don't participate except to raise hell with the administrators they their little Bobby or LaTonya is accused of mis-behavior (MY child would never...), or if they need to be held back due to lack of progress.

Do they even hold kids back anymore?

Too many parents are burned out, working all day not getting home until after 6pm only to crash and wake up and do it again. They don't have as much time or energy for their kids as in years past because wages on average have not kept up with the cost of living, so people are working harder for less. It's an effect from the short sighted economic policy in this country. And considering how many kids have been pushed (sold) to go into debt to go to college only to find themselves without a good enough job or enough income for the decent standard of living they were promised, it's only going to get worse.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 10 months ago | (#45939513)

Another problem may be modern limits on parental power.

My dad's father came to the U.S. from Ireland, and both my dad and his father attended Catholic parochial school. They had two tools that are denied to modern parents:

1) The schoolteachers could hit you with a ruler if you didn't do your homework.

2) The father could beat the shit out of you if you didn't do your homework, or mouthed off to the teacher.

I'm not saying that all physical punishment is warranted, and I'm not saying it's the only way to motivate a kid to learn. But I suspect that at certain junctures in a kid's life, it's a very effective tool. And when there's something very important at stake such as a kid's future, it may in some case be in the kid's best interest. But it's not a tool that can be legally used in most of the U.S. or western Europe currently, AFAIK.

Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45939553)

The sad thing, that this post glosses over, is the current school system educates better than any time in U.S. history. It's just the rest of the world doing even better that.

Good or Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939099)

To the extent students exchange charter for public, that is good. To the extent low performing students are relegated to public schools, that is bad.

To reduce the resistance to charter schools, they should put at least as much emphasis on lower performing students as high. It will require separate experiences and possibly facilities, and that will meet with criticism on an anecdotal and shallow basis. That is the solution. Once it is shown charter and other nontraditional schools reduce dropout rates, they will be accepted (by an informed public).

In the mean time the current bureaucracy will defend itself mindlessly by comparing results of the different styles using "standard testing" as the criterion. Fail. It will be a propaganda war with the media the willing shills for whoever prevails. Not logic or reason.

Re:Good or Bad (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about 10 months ago | (#45939157)

I haven't seen low-performing students turned away, rather, parents who sign up too late are on a waiting list. That's about it.

Re:Good or Bad (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | about 10 months ago | (#45939315)

I think there's a false assumption here--that separating students into different schools based on academic performance is a Bad Thing. On the contrary, such segregation would enable the schools to tailor their teaching to the needs of their respective students. So the higher-performing students aren't held back due to a lower-performing student, and the lower-performing students don't feel lost because the teacher has to trying to teach an arbitrary curriculum at an arbitrary speed.

Turning away student (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939101)

The big difference is that Charter Schools are not compelled to accept a student. The standard public schools cannot turn away a student who is disruptive or below the curve academically. Charter Schools can. This allows them to select the best students and avoid the ones which would drag down the school and the other students. This has positive and negative implications, but it does mean that statistically the Charter Schools are going to show higher grade point averages.

Re:Turning away student (3, Insightful)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about 10 months ago | (#45939149)

In my experience, charter schools in Oregon have only one prequalification: you have to get in early enough before the classes are full. Otherwise, the main difference is that the schools are not closely managed by their local school district, because they receive federal funding and not state/district funding. And in our situations, this has been a generally positive experience.

Re:Turning away student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939265)

From my understanding (and reinforced by statements here from others) it's not that the charter school can deny students admission, but that they can kick out students who are disruptive or cause problems... When I was in school we actually had special classes for those students that reminded me a lot of prison... The teachers only cared about accounting for your whereabouts, not about you actually doing anything (sleeping was in fact encouraged, because you were not fighting if you were sleeping).

Re:Turning away student (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about 10 months ago | (#45939475)

Actually, they can. Here in New York City, as part of the "no student left behind" initiative, the schools are given the opportunity to do that every year. The student provides a list of schools they want to attend and the school then picks from the pool of candidates that want to go there. Unfortunately, the 'progressives' that have a choke hold on the schools and control the teacher's union won't allow students to be picked based on merit. They actually use a bell curve; 1/4 from the top, half from the middle and 1/4 from the bottom. This is to ensure that they have a well-rounded and diverse student body. This method was specifically devised to undermine the initiative.

And two years ago, there was a mini-scandal, never made it to the papers, that the higher-ups in the union made sure that their kids got accepted at the better schools.

Ever heard of 'Bronx Science'? Their reputation is gone as they as they prescribe to the bell curve.

Peter Stuyvesant on the other hand, thrives. They are too well known for the union hacks to touch them. But they circle.

There are as many different reasons... (3, Insightful)

unitron (5733) | about 10 months ago | (#45939115)

...to be involved in charter schools as there are people involved, some more laudable than others.

But I don't see much upside for public schools.

Years ago Lester Maddox said that if you want better prison systems you need better prisoners.

Naturally everyone had a cow, but he had a point.

If charter schools bleed off all of the kids from homes where learning and education are prized, whose parents are going to be involved, and all that's left in the public school are the kids rounded up by the truancy officer, it's not going to go well.

Re:There are as many different reasons... (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#45939141)

If charter schools bleed off all of the kids from homes where learning and education are prized, whose parents are going to be involved, and all that's left in the public school are the kids rounded up by the truancy officer, it's not going to go well.

Since we're talking about public schools here, the question has to be one of balance of benefit to society. Can those parents make a significant difference in a sea of indifference, or would everyone be better served if they at least made sure their children were well-educated instead of being dragged down by the public school system?

Re:There are as many different reasons... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939357)

I'm not sure that is the correct question. Even if utility is increased by forcing children of well-meaning but poor parents to attend schools with their less-involved neighbors, I would not say that is just.

Re:There are as many different reasons... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 10 months ago | (#45939517)

Heaven forbid that we should dedicate resources to those who are best able to benefit from them.

Re:There are as many different reasons... (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 10 months ago | (#45939547)

Years ago Lester Maddox said that if you want better prison systems you need better prisoners.

Naturally everyone had a cow, but he had a point.

So. as we all privately thought, American men a really into gay rape?

Nice to see it confirmed.

(Who is Lester Maddox? ... wikiwikiwki... Ugh, some kind of racist shithead.)

Public Schools should all be shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939119)

Public schools have transformed into something they were never supposed to be, and no longer serve their initial intended purpose - the education of children.

Today, they are simply political indoctrination camps. Not a fuck is given about making sure they learn the material. Every fuck is given to coddle and spoil them so they associate government with being coddled and spoiled - essentially ensuring the next dependency class.

Making people stupid and dependent is the mission of the DOE. Shut it all down.

Re:Public Schools should all be shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939145)

Today

"Today"? That almost makes it sound like you're saying they weren't abysmal before, which simply isn't true. They've always offered rote memorization educations, and most products of the school system are and always were garbage.

why are Charter Schools so big on college but not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45939127)

why are Charter Schools so big on college but not so much other post secondary education?

Pay your taxes, of US kids die of diarrhea (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 10 months ago | (#45939159)

Bill "My charity is better than yours" Gates "I Don't have to Pay Tax". Is looking increasingly unhinged. He needs to go back to what he does best, stabbing his fellow employee in the back...or the from in the case of Ballmer. Seriously "When a kid gets diarrhea,"...hold on, aren't these the sort of thing that your taxe....ahhh I see.

It depends on the school. (5, Informative)

wcrowe (94389) | about 10 months ago | (#45939183)

They're called enterprise schools in my district, but the one that I was involved in was a big success. We had a plan, which was to bring E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum to middle school students, to prepare them for high school and beyond. We wanted the entire school to be an honors school. Students had to have a B average to get in. The school district went along with the plan, and we opened the school in 1998, and my daughter was in the first class. The NAACP warned us that they would be watching us closely because they suspected that we were creating the school only for middle class white kids. What happened surprised them and us. Middle class white kids ended up being a minority in the school. The biggest ethnic group came from lower class hispanic families who saw the school as an opportunity for their children with good grades to get ahead. We also had a number of black and asian kids from poorer neighborhoods. The district was more than happy to bus the kids from all over the city to the school. The NAACP quietly shuffled off. I think they were actually disappointed.

The school was a success, but it required the interest of parents, administrators and teachers who agreed with the vision, diligent oversight, and a district that entusiastically cooperated. If any of the above elements are missing you have a potential disaster on your hands.

Re:It depends on the school. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939483)

The public magnet high school that I attended was also quite a success (frequently ranked among top public high schools nationally, despite being from a state not generally famous for educational excellence). Guess what? Picking the brighter students who want to attend an academically-focused school results in a high achieving school. Being privatized to enrich some investors is not what makes this work.

The things that charter schools do right can (and often have, to a limited extent) be done in public school settings, too. Unfortunately, a major barrier to this is people of the political persuasion with an ideology that insists that all public efforts must fail. Rather than expanding the public academic magnet schools programs (since the available ones only had seats for one in five qualified applicants, chosen by a lottery), enemies of the public good throw a fit whenever additional funding/resources are requested to expand on public school models that work. But, give plutocrats a chance to get their fingers on the billions in education spending, and suddenly there's support for private schools doing what public schools aren't allowed to try by the same factions of right-wing goons.

Re:It depends on the school. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939541)

This would have been a success without the charter. There would have been the same outcome if you designated an existing high school in the district as an honors school requiring a B average to get in and nothing else. This also subtly degrades the surrounding schools, since they lose the good students.

Aha! Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939197)

Today, charters have become part of a campaign to create a less stable, less secure, and less expensive teaching staff. Nationally, charter school teachers are, on average, less experienced, less unionized, and less likely to hold state certification than teachers in traditional public schools. In a word, cheaper.

There it is folks.

Out of curiosity, I googled to see if there are any charter schools in the US using the Finnish model [smithsonianmag.com] .

There are none.

I would think if educating our children to the best techniques available, there should be Finnish type of charter schools popping up all over the place here in the States.

No. Because it's all about the money and creating a cheap working class for as little money as possible.

From I've seen I've been impressed... (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 10 months ago | (#45939217)

I volunteered at a charter school (BASIS Tucson North) in Tucson, spoke with some of the teachers, and later one of my friends worked there. It's a wonderful place; the teachers are given a great deal of freedom to teach effectively, since they were hired as professionals who can figure out what the students need on their own, rather than being micromanaged by policies and administrators. This fellow taught physics, and was encouraged to do things like make the senior class a special projects course, teach quantum mechanics in high school, etc. The same's true for a friend who teaches Latin at the Basis school in Flagstaff. These are public charter schools: anyone who wants to attend is on equal footing with anyone else who wants to attend (unless they have a sibling who already goes there), and may attend for free.

Now I'm in Washington DC, where 40% of students go to charters. They do that because the schoolboard-run public schools here are in many cases awful, and the charters give kids in the projects another option. Test results (if you put any stock in them) show that children at charter schools do somewhat better than children at the schoolboard schools (they're all "public schools"), but there's a hidden variable there. In Northwest DC (the wealthier, low-crime, white area), there aren't that many charter schools, since the schoolboard schools here are actually somewhat decent; in Southeast and Northeast (the black areas), the schoolboard schools are bad and there are more charters. So, despite a less favorable demographic, the charter schools have higher test results overall.

Are all of them good? Of course not; the ones that are bad wind up becoming known as bad, and attendance goes down. But they at least give parents and children an option to get out of awful schoolboard schools if they can't pay for a private school. A first-grader doesn't have time for all sorts of excuses about schoolboard politics or administrative red tape or curriculum standards; she just needs to be taught to read and write. If her neighborhood schoolboard school isn't doing that, charters give her a second shot at getting what her parents are paying for when they pay taxes.

If the schoolboard-school advocates want charter schools to go away, then they can sort their own house out first.

I think ultimately it's about unionization: in places where teachers are heavily pressured (or forced) into joining the teachers' union, charter schools represent a crack in the monopoly the union has on teachers' labor. The unions hate charter schools for that reason, and I think a lot of the anti-charter rhetoric comes from the unions' dislike for non-union teaching going on.

Teacher's Unions (-1, Flamebait)

rlp (11898) | about 10 months ago | (#45939227)

One thing is certain - teacher's unions and their allies on the left do not like competition and thus do not like charter schools.

Re:Teacher's Unions (2)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 10 months ago | (#45939399)

Lots of charter schools have union teachers so you have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Teacher's Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939423)

One thing is certain - teacher's unions and their allies on the left do not like competition and thus do not like charter schools.

Yes. And it is remarkable that the alternative to eliminating charter schools -- making all schools charter schools -- is never mentioned in these diatribes.

Since when is the only fix for broken public schools to eliminate all alternatives? I would think a good fix for broken schools is to eliminate the broken schools, no?

Re:Teacher's Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939443)

Teacher's unions are gutted hollowed out shells of their former selves. You should be thanking unions for 40 hour work weeks and weekends anyway. What you advocate is the same race to the bottom you see in IT with Google and Microsoft trying to get as many foreigners through our borders to destroy working conditions for everyone already here.

Normal People Love Them (0)

footNipple (541325) | about 10 months ago | (#45939245)

The US teachers unions and reflexive leftists hate them because their intent is to "raise the bar" so to speak.

Charter schools in Oregon (2)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about 10 months ago | (#45939253)

I've had experience with charter schools in Coos Bay and Redmond, Oregon. Both have been a sort of alternative place for kids who don't fit in to the social mainstream. Both have been accepting of kids regardless of performance. Both have used alternative teaching styles, both have been free from district funding and district control for the most part. And it comes down to the desires of teachers and parents, and the kind of environment they want to create and participate in. They aren't particularly better or worse than the mainstream schools, and they take away less funding from the local district because they receive federal dollars. That can't go on forever, the whole experiment seems fragile. But it has been better for our family to have more options, because hey I'm sitting here posting on Slashdot at 7 AM, and frankly, our family doesn't fit it with the social mainstream (if you want to summarize it that way).

I have no idea if the quality of education is better, but at least in my experience, there is no elitism, if anything the 'alternative' charter schools are generally looked down upon. But so are the regular schools anymore. All I can say for sure is that some of our kids like attending the charter schools more because of the curriculum, the teachers and the attitudes, while others don't. And that is what it comes down to, is the kids getting the best experience, which I certainly didn't in school.

The charters are renting old school district properties in Redmond, (as well as many other services from them) the net effect being that the local school district gets more money per non-chjarter student at least while federal funding is in place.

Public School System can DiaF. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939255)

The public school system is deep in the hands of people for whom the education of children is not paramount. There are factions there who wish to indoctrinate, and factions who simply wish to enrich themselves at the expense of all of us. There are some well-meaning good people who are in that system, but they don't control it and are more and more tightly constrained and restricted from being able to effectively educate with each passing year.

Strip everything above the state level, and maybe the state too. Education belongs in local hands.

Charter schools are great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939327)

as a source of pork for privateers.

Good for some, not so great for others (1)

BradGwart (961302) | about 10 months ago | (#45939343)

I graduated from a charter school in 2003. It was an absolutely amazing experience. Through my own childish stupidity I had failed out of public schools, and found myself in what was supposed to be my last semester of high school still needing a full year's worth of classes. So I ended up at the charter school, because it was setup to be work at your own pace. I never witnessed, or heard of, anything like what is mentioned in Jeff Bryant's article. The sketchiest thing that I felt went on was they allowed under age high school students to take smoke breaks. Granted they more or less had to, as a lot of the kids there would have not gone to school at all if it meant not being able to smoke. This was absolutely amazing for me. Instructors did not bother me, and they handed me as much material to work on as I wanted. I managed to finish a full year's worth of school work in about six weeks. I was able to graduate on time, and get out. That said, it was not a good fit for the other students. My fellow classmates, for the most part, fell into two distinct categories: drug addicts and pregnant women. These were not the type of people that benefited from being able to work at their own pace, largely unsupervised. The instructors did very little teaching. Most of them just read the newspaper, and made sure the class was orderly. As a result the majority of the other students never did any work, and very few of them ever graduated. Of course not every charter school is going to be the same, but that was my experience. Ultimately I feel like the school I was in was an abysmal failure for the type of kids they were trying to help. I have always been one who prefers to teach myself out of books, and not be stuck in a rigid curriculum that limits my ability to learn at my own pace. I was highly motivated to get my crap done, and get out. The other students were your more traditional drop outs, who genuinely struggled with the school work, and they were not getting the help they needed.

Bizzare description of recent events in Turkey (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 10 months ago | (#45939345)

But Gluen [sic] is no mere charter operator. In fact, as Al Jazeera reported, he is the head of a powerful movement in Turkey involved in “the most extensive and sensational corruption investigations” of that country’s recent history.

Indeed, the Gülen movement is "involved" in corruption investigations, in the sense that it's Gülen members who are accusing the AKP of being corrupt.

But this article seems to be being deliberately vague in an attempt to insinuate that it's Gülen that is corrupt.

What is really wrong with the educational system (1)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#45939347)

Applying an industrial paradigm to what is not an industrial process. People far too often look at schools in terms of producing "widgets", streamline the operation, standardize it, and pump out the product. Which does not work when you have huge variation between children. If all children are individuals why don't they each have an individualized learning program? What's that you say, too expensive? Don't want to pay a few more dollars a year in taxes? You get what you pay for.

Local Charter School (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 10 months ago | (#45939349)

When I was in high school there was only one local charter school and it sure didn't resemble any institution such as those depicted in Waiting for Superman. Students who had no shot of graduating went there. All the coursework was on a computer (which was kind of a big deal then, I graduated over ten years ago), students only had to be there three hours a day, and there was no certified teacher present. The 'teacher' was more like a supervisor - a guy who only had a high school diploma, was only in his early twenties, and everyone knew him by his first name. The idea was that the computers were the teacher, so they didn't need a certified teacher to run the whole gig.

Despite the fact that the coursework was mind numbingly easy, everyone cheated, and the supervisor didn't care. In fact, they'd take pot breaks with the supervisor. You could just keep taking the modules until you got them right, anyway. Then, once all the coursework was completed, the students received a full high school diploma from THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL. Totally indistinguishable from the one I got. Yet none of these students were competent enough to take the most basic college courses.

The charter school existed for a couple reasons. First, the No Child Left Behind Act had just been passed and the school system was scrambling for a solution to increase the graduation rate. Second, it was a private institution which received a government grant to function (by paying the supervisor minimum wage instead of paying a certified teacher a teacher's wage, by only staying open 3-4 hours a day, they were able to pocket most of that money). Finally, it was a way to get 'problem students' out of the system -- a sort of purgatory before they either took blue collar jobs or ended up in prison.

I had a couple of friends that went that route. I'm not friends with any of them anymore. One currently lives in government subsidized housing, is unemployed, and has a couple kids. One's a heroin addict and career criminal. One lives with his mother, he just got out of prison.

I'm rather skeptical of charter schools.

Private profits, public costs (3, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#45939361)

As long as charter schools are publicly funded privately run institutions that is all it is. Not unlike the private prison movement that has turned into a disaster.

Let's focus on the public schools... (1)

will381796 (1219674) | about 10 months ago | (#45939369)

If you want to compete with these Charter Schools, then don't use these isolated instances of sensationalized journalism to try and make broad generalizations about all Charter Schools, but how about instead you focus on improving our public school system so that we're not driving families to these alternatives? I'm a product of a public school education (high school graduate in 2003), and I remember people would fail classes, students would be held back grades, teachers would grade our papers with red ink, not everyone was given a pat on the shoulder and told "good job for trying, here's a gold star." Our current public school system is one based on passing arbitrary standardized tests, where teachers are hounded by administrators that haven't seen a classroom in 15+ years to make sure their kids pass. My sister in law teaches elementary school. She is forbidden from giving any student a grade less than 50% on an assignment. Don't turn it in? That's okay! Here's a 50%! Didn't answer the question correctly. That's okay, at least you tried. Math is hard! Here's a 50%! She can't even grade students papers in red ink because of the psychological "trauma" that it will cause. Come on people...give me a break! The real psychological trauma will be when these kids are passed all of the way through high school with a 4th grade reading level, no ability for critical thinking, and a chip on their shoulder that they're smart and they'll never experience failure. What our public schools are doing is wussifying our kids and making them think that they don't have to work hard to succeed. They are going to be sadly mistaken when they go to college (because, you know, nowadays every kid DESERVES to go to college) or get their first job and they end up failing a class or getting fired because they aren't capable or willing to do the hard work. Parents that don't care are a big problem, but by schools caving to these parents and passing them up through the grades without the necessary knowledge, just so they don't have to deal with irate parents, they are doing these kids a disservice. I'm completely for criminal punishment of parents that don't support their children's struggle to obtain a basic minimum education.

Charter schools *ARE* public schools (1)

mpercy (1085347) | about 10 months ago | (#45939563)

Charter schools are simply given leeway to deviate from the bureaucratic web that dominates traditional public schools. Their charter allows for much more flexibility and to break the confines of traditional public schools. Charter schools are educational experiments, recognizing that for the reasons you list and more, the traditional public school system is no longer functional.

I don't know about their schools (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 10 months ago | (#45939425)

But Charter Internet and TV have been pretty reliable recently.
Fast too
but their rates just went up again

Public schools are mired in social welfare (1)

swb (14022) | about 10 months ago | (#45939473)

The public school system is growing increasingly dysfunctional because it is chasing the doomed goal of "closing the achievement gap" for non-white students, a gap that exists not because of inadequate teaching but because most of those students are a byproduct of a corrosive social and cultural environment.

This had led schools into the business of providing social welfare services, something they are not equipped to handle, especially in terms of budgets and personnel. There is no amount of money that the schools can spend to fix the problems of broken families, poverty and a corrosive social environment dominated by crime.

School administrators are right, Johnny can't read if he's hungry, etc, but the school system doesn't and won't ever have the money to address these problems and it seriously detracts from the educational mission to divert scarce funding into performing social welfare services.

It's an open question as to whether ANY social welfare spending (at least as structured in the US) can "solve" any of these problems. So many of the problems plaguing these students are CULTURAL issues, not issues of simply being poor. Teenage parents, missing or jailed parents, etc -- we don't seem to know how to solve these problems even in the broader social welfare system, let along trying to do it within the educational system.

Glass houses and throwing rocks (1)

EngineeringStudent (3003337) | about 10 months ago | (#45939495)

Modern American Public schools are pretty bad. If you are going to compare charter, then compare it to the actual public schools (corruption, non-education, etcetera) instead of comparing Charter to the ideal and assuming that modern state-instituted education is better than the private offering - which is what Charter is.

DOE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939539)

We literally have sunk trillions of dollars into the DOE and things continue to free-fall.. The only answer I've seen come from government stooges (on both sides) in my lifetime is to keep throwing more money at it and cut funding when GPA don't rate in their charts.

There really should not be any surprise that Charter (and other private types) schools are on the rise. The DOE has provided a huge void in getting a real education, the capitalists see the opportunity and fill it; for a price.

'dark side of the charter movement, including allegations of abuse, corruption, lousy instruction, and worse results' - What is up with this guy? Of course there will be fraud/etc - that is a fact in any type of business, but everything he mentions has been going on in the DOE for decades - like it's something new..

Silly Slashdotters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45939565)

Education is not an issue which can be properly defined and solved with a specialist approach. Slashdot is the mecca of specialization. So, what is going on here? Why are you guys pretending to have this conversation? You ARE the point of this system: You are the culture which will create our value-less scientific future. Without you, we will never get brains into space. Do not worry about this silly educational inequality stuff. Why bother with the kids who don't succeed? We have the technology. The system therefore MUST be working.

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