Georgia charter schools: Uneven results and delays in closing failing ones

The AJC had a long front-page story this morning examining the state’s push for more charter schools despite their mixed record and the failure to close the ones that don’t live up to their contractual performance commitments.

Does Georgia need to expand school choice options for parents and kids? (AJC Photo)

Does Georgia need to increase charter school options for parents and kids? (AJC Photo)

In response to the complaint failing charters are not closed, posters on this blog often note failing traditional schools aren’t closed, either. But those failing schools are eligible for an escalating series of state sanctions, and, if the voters agree next year, will also be candidates for absorption into a new state-run school district.

My own view on charter schools has been simple: There are good and bad ones, and any state effort to expand charters should focus on how to replicate the good and prevent the bad. It does not make sense to expand school choice if there are only bad choices.

In covering charter school applicants over the years, I’ve found a precise mission statement, a focused curriculum and a veteran, visionary educator somewhere in the leadership make all the difference in a school’s success.

But even those elements cannot assure continued success in every case. Replication is not easy.

Since opening in Gwinnett in 2008, Ivy Prep Academy has been held out as a model charter school by the state Legislature. The all-girls school graduated its inaugural class of seniors in May.

Buoyed by its success, Ivy Prep expanded to offer two new campuses for boys and girls in DeKalb County in 2011. But the formula has not worked as well for boys. Ivy Prep Young Men’s Leadership Academy is among the Georgia public schools eligible for the proposed new state recovery school district due to its persistently failing scores.

The AJC’s education writer Ty Tagami reports: (This is an excerpt. The MyAJC.com story has a lot more great information.  Please read before commenting. )

From the start, the Intown Charter Academy in Atlanta proved a failure. It didn’t meet federal performance guidelines in 2011, its first year, and it remained a disappointment, with unacceptable scores on an annual state measure.

Despite the lackluster performance, it was allowed to continue, serving more than 300 students by the time it was shuttered this spring.

The promise of charter schools was that they would outperform traditional public schools or close. Schools like Intown do eventually get shuttered, but it can take half a decade, with students spending nearly half their school years in a subpar environment.

However, some studies, including one by the state entity that authorizes charter schools, suggests charters are about on par with traditional public schools. The Georgia State Charter Schools Commission recently issued a report that found that 62 percent of the charter schools it authorized did no better than comparison school districts on the state’s new report card, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, or CCRPI. Since charter schools are often accused of skimming the better-performing students from traditional schools, the commission also measured performance using a so-called “value-added method” that adjusted for student characteristics “so that schools can be equitably compared.”

Under that measure, no state charters outperformed their comparison districts in “relevant” grade levels. Only 8 percent performed at the same level as their districts, the report said.

And at least 18 state and local charter schools, more than one in six in Georgia, received a failing score on the 2014 CCRPI, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s about the same as the failure rate for all public schools. (Failure means a score less than 60 on the 100-point measure, according to a new proposal that would allow the state to take over bad schools.)

Charter schools get taxpayer dollars though they are privately operated, sometimes by for-profit companies. They have more freedom than traditional public schools, and in exchange must show academic gains. Failure can mean closure, but state and local officials tend to wait until charter school contracts have run their course — usually five years — before shutting them down.

“Closure during the life of the charter is typically reserved for extreme circumstances,” said Andrew Lewis, executive vice president of the Georgia Charter Schools Association.

A new state school district proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers would take over schools after three years of failure, but Lewis said there is a good argument for exempting charters. They need more time, he said, citing the experience of Atlanta’s first charter school: Drew Charter got off to a rocky start in 2000, performing at or below the level of nearby traditional schools for several years. Then, the performance improved; the school has been scoring in the 80s and 90s on the CCRPI.

Georgia charter schools failing in 2014*

* Atlanta Heights Charter School

* Intown Charter Academy, Atlanta

* Ivy Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy, DeKalb County

* DeKalb Preparatory Academy, DeKalb County

* Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence, DeKalb County

* Gateway to College Academy, DeKalb County

* Smokerise Elementary, DeKalb County

* Odyssey School, Coweta County

* Lanier Career Academy, Hall County

* Hapeville Charter Middle School, Fulton County

* Georgia Connections Academy, statewide

* Provost Academy of Georgia, statewide

* Mountain Education Center High School, statewide

* Savannah Classical Academy, Chatham County

* Berrien Academy Performance Learning Center, Berrien County

* Bishop Hall Charter School, Thomas County

* Cairo High School, Grady County

* Jenkins-White Elementary School, Richmond County

*AJC research based on Department of Education records

 

 

 

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248 comments
insideview
insideview

@ CharterStarter_too , everything you said about the Onconee charter is technically true, while it follows the letter of the law , it   does not  follow the spirit. Yes, it's primarily attendance zone is in direct proximity to the school, which effectively eliminates low income and diverse students. I wonder what percentage of low income african americans or hispanic students live within the attendance zone. Let's keep it real, the school was created so the rich folks on Lake Onconee could have some place to send their children, and Georgia tax payers are footing the bill. Let's not make this about charters. 

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@insideview 

Thanks for responding to the conversation.  As I stated, LOA's demographics are outliers for the sector.  The majority of the sector serves a highly diverse population, including a large proportion of at risk students.  But to address your thoughts ...


Regardless of socioeconomic status, even "rich" children have the same right under the state's Constitution as any other child in this state to an adequate public education.  Now that term is pretty subjective, but given the performance in Greene County, I believe anyone could argue that it has not been adequate for many.  Contrary to your statement about Georgia taxpayers "footing the bill", whether the "rich" children attend Greene County schools or LOA, the state (and all Georgia taxpayers) are paying he same amount towards that education, as the students are public school students.  In other words, if LOA didn't exist, they'd still be paying it - it is a wash financially for taxpayers.  Local funds, which are exhorbitantly high in Greene County, are so because of those "rich" taxpaying homeowners, many living in the zone that LOA serves, so they are footing their own bill for that school, so to speak, and STILL putting tons back into the local system.  Not to mention that the economic development benefits of having a great school option positively impacts the local school system's local tax base as well and all other students in Greene County.  So while on its face, your argument has merit, if you really consider the facts, your argument has logical fallacy.  With your reasoning, if broadening the argument beyond LOA, no district school in an affluent area would have the right to exist, because don't think for one minute affluent communities don't lobby their local districts hard for zoning considerations, because they do.  Bottom line, every kid, regardless of socioeconomic status, deserves the right to a decent education.


And as for "letter of the law versus spirit of the law" .... do you really believe that those drafting the charter school legislation intended for a charter school student to be "worth" less than a traditional public school student?  And yet, the districts and state follow that "letter" as close to the line, often crossing it, as they can, irrespective of the intent of the law or even just fairness, and charter students are often at the disadvantage. The law provides (even in its legislative INTENT) FULL autonomy, and yet, the districts and even the state don't follow this at all, and autonomy is severely constrained year after year. We all just follow the law, as "intent" is pretty subjective if not clearly stated, which is a good lesson for lawmakers in making sure that you say what you mean and you mean what you say.


I appreciate your commentary very much.

class80olddog
class80olddog

People on here are of the opinion that if you tell a lie often enough, people will eventually believe it. "Charters take money away from school districts." Yeah, right - and the school district gets to keep all their local money.

class80olddog
class80olddog

AvgGeorgian is one who wants ALL children to drown because the ones who might get on the lifeboats are the wrong color or income status.

class80olddog
class80olddog

I am 100% in favor of segregation - in segregating those who care about education from those who do not. Traditional schools that are failing have quite a number of students who COULD succeed, but are pulled down by those who will not let them. Parental choice allows those parents who care, black or white, rich or poor, to get their children out of the cesspools in which they are drowning. Of course, a better option would be to clean up those cesspools, but I have seen ZERO will to attempt that.

class80olddog
class80olddog

I compare the failing educational system to a sinking ship. and charters are lifeboats to escape the sinking ship.  Traditional schools, in response to the sinking, are not plugging the holes in the ship, they are frantically rearranging chairs on the deck.  Then they try everything in their power to keep all the kids on the sinking ship under the premise that if you can't save EVERYBODY, then everybody should drown.  And then we find that a lot of the lifeboats that are provided by the ship's company (conversion charters) have holes in them, too, so they are worthless as lifeboats.  Then the people on the ship point to those lifeboats as evidence that no one should get on a lifeboat. Indeed, a lot of people on thee ship even refuse to believe it is sinking, despite volumes of evidence that it is getting lower and lower in the water.


We are trying to give those who want a lifeboat at least that opportunity.  And parents are crowding around those lifeboats, with waiting lists to get onto them.  And the people on the ship are desperately holding those people back, because they don't want people to see that the lifeboat people are surviving and they are sinking. 


Of course, the easiest way to keep people from getting on the lifeboats is to plug the holes in the ship and get it turned around and steaming in the right direction.

JA_educator
JA_educator

Since they receive public funding, charter schools should be treated in the same way the state treats the traditional schools. Charter schools are taking money away from the traditional schools, that are already underfunded.  For-profit charters should not receive any government money, plain and simple!  


The original purposes of charter schools were to: have the flexibility to try new educational methods and approaches, while being free from the usual regulations, share what is working in those schools, and collaborate with the public school system, not compete with it. 


Nowadays, charter schools devise ways to limit or exclude students with disabilities, English language learners, and students with low skill levels.  The lottery system, which seems fair, is a selection mechanism, since the least functional families seldom take the steps required to enter. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

If parents don't even care enough to apply, then their kids DESERVE to stay in the failing school system

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

"Failing schools are eligible for an escalating series of state sanctions." This applies to charter public schools as well as district public schools that are labeled as failing.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Charters are like every other school - they are a collection of students. High performing students perform well in TPS or charter. Low performing students do not perform well in TPS or charters. 


The charter school, voucher, private school tax credit crowd works hard to paint a negative view of TPS. Why do you think this is?-So they can get their hands on public taxpayer money. Charters are a distraction for the most part. Drew is an example of the time, effort, partnerships, structure, and money it takes to work with a challenging population. The state is not interested in committing or perhaps able able to committ that level of resources to solve educational problems.


Charter school, voucher, private school scholarships for mostly wealthy people,all have problems including lack of accessibility for all interested parents(screening devices to keep people out) segregation, lack of financial accountability, and the idea that they are the answer to Georgia's educational problems. Again- it is often about the money for the people at the top and it is an extra cost to taxpayers in GA.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian @CharterStarter_Too 

Charters are required by law to provide for an open lottery based on their attendance zones.  Lake Oconee is no exception.  Their primary attendance zone is the area in closest proximity to the school, which is how district school zones are comprised. They have 2 other attendance zones, all related to proximity as space allows.  This is similar to a district who allows for intra-district transfers as space allows.   So, Lake Oconee's attendance zone approach mirrors Greene County's (see GCPC  policy JBCCA).  You can also find out more about the charter's attendance zone as described in their petition:  http://archives.gadoe.org/DMGetDocument.aspx/Lake%20Oconee%20Academy%202007%20to%202017.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F603917A84349C083D439B4E78C214FB52248EE9675EE31557&Type=D (page 8 of the document) addresses attendance zones; page 26 addresses admission policies; page 27 addresses reaching diverse communities).  Demographics of any school - Lake Oconee included, are based on students who apply and the outcome of the lottery. 

The charter petition (link above) again answers your questions.  Page 28 addresses commitment to a highly qualified staff.  It helps that the CEO keeps class sizes low (not to exceed 25).  Staff is not only evaluated on traditional instructional performance, but also against a leadership model (p. 28), meaning that the CEO wants teachers LEADERS who have the capacity to make solid instructional decisions and contribute to the direction of the school.  


I don't have the most recent budget in front of me or easily accessible, but I daresay if the teachers were not compensated adequately or given respect and authority to teacher, they wouldn't stay.  LOA has earned national recognition as a one of the top 50 schools in the nation as well as a national Blue Ribbon Award, a 5 Star Climate Rating from the state, and recently was awarded the top large business award by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.  I'd say their staff is pretty effective.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian @CharterStarter_Too 

I am not versed enough in the tax credit scholarships as an option to address it as an option.  Although I am on the school choice spectrum, my experience and commitment is to public charter schools. That is why I have not responded on that matter. 

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian @CharterStarter_Too 

Thank you - I went further down and found the link.  Cracking up, because it is the same study by Christine Ries that I provided you. I am not sure you really understood the point she was making though.

Note her conclusion on the first page that the theories espousing charters financially damage districts "fail to recognize the real economics."  In other words, charters do not damage districts. The districts that MIGHT incur a loss are too small to make that even reasonable of a risk because a charter cannot sustain without adequate enrollment to fund the overhead, and a small district does not have enough students to make a charter interested in planting there .... too risky.


Also important to note is that districts are "held harmless" financially, meaning that if their revenue falls below where they are in a given year, they stay status quo going into the upcoming year.  This is a HUGE financial burden for the state, but one that is put in place to protect districts.  Unfortunately, the charters, even our LEA ones, are not given the same benefit of financial protection and are not held harmless if they lose enrollment, but I digress...


Let's go back to your supposition from Dr. Ries's article that, hypothetically, a charter in a small district throws reason to the wind and takes the risk to plant a charter in a tiny district, which COULD pull away enough kids to sustain and potentially "damage" the district financially.  What that would mean is:


1.  The parents in the district are REALLY dissatisfied if that many would enroll in a charter.

2.  The district would likely fail to afford to sustainably operate and would close, and the charter would be responsible for educational outcomes in that district.


So, assuming that hypothetical, highly improbable charter does what it promises to do and effectively educates kids (and cheaper too, given the language in state law), what's the problem?  Are you saying it is better to protect a district institution that is not successful and/or where parents/taxpayers are GROSSLY dissatisfied than ensuring kids are well educated?

Therein lies the crux of the matter.  Charters exist IF they are successful and IF they can attract students.  They close if they do not perform or cannot attract or retain students.  Period.  The sector is NOT concerned with protecting institutions or bureaucracies, even their own.  Those supporting the efficacy of the whole charter sector actively seek to close poorly performing charters or those acting with poor integrity or business practices, as it brings the whole sector down when you don't.  There is  ZERO benefit for the charter sector to protect crappy charters.


Generally, we find those that oppose charters do not advocate for what is good for kids and families, but rather, what protects a district institution.  We will never see eye to eye if this is the basis for the argument.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

I cited the GA Tech. study to show that it could be a gain or loss. Reading more of the article I see flaws in the logic of gains by a system. The article states "In this example, the original regular district spends $7,130 on costs that are directly related to a particular child’s education. When the child transfers to a charter school, the regular district can adjust by that amount. Since costs fall by $7,130 and revenues decline by only $5,500, the district retains a net of $1,630. This can be a real gain for the students who remain in the traditional system" 

Anybody that understands marginal costs sees that "Since costs fall by $7,130" is either a ruse or ignorance of school costs, funding and economics. 


As to: "Generally, we find those that oppose charters do not advocate for what is good for kids and families, but rather, what protects a district institution.  We will never see eye to eye if this is the basis for the argument" Your stated commtment to public charter schools and your defense of Oconnee charter does seem to indicate quite a difference in what we believe is good for (all) kids and families.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian @CharterStarter_Too 

Good grief, you are short sided.  First of all, you are picking ONE charter in the state with demographics that are an outlier from the sector as a whole. For a reason specific to that district, but an outlier in any case.   Nonetheless, why don't districts stop the district zoning?  Typical public schools typically have demographics of their neighborhoods, which is why you have some schools with a vast majority of low socioeconomic students, affluent schools, etc.  Districts don't mix up the demographics, as it is inefficient.  As for LOA, there was a need for a school in an area where there was max exodus from a low performing district.  They added tiered zones so that they could attract a more diverse population.  You won't find districts doing that.  MOST charters are placed in struggling areas, but chartering is about CHOICE and filling a need a community demands,  In this outlier case, LOA did just that - it fulfilled a need by a community. Why hammer them for that?


Automatically enrolling students is just an ignorant statement.  Charters are required to demonstrate the ability to sustainably serve a projected enrollment.  They are required to build a budget around these targeted, sustainable numbers.  How in the world would you know what size of a building to procure?  How many staff to hire?  Etc.  Districts get furious when a charter goes over their numbers, so that would not even be acceptable, even if it was practical.


Greene County superintendent earns $184,000 per year.  Dr. Tucker is as qualified, if not more so than that individual.  Greene County enrollment (removing LOA) is 1877.  LOA is 377, as you mention (but growing to grade 12).  The GCSD superintendent's salary is the tip of the iceberg, as they have finance, personnel, instructional, legal, and a variety of other staff to support a district that is only 4 times as large as LOA. Also, LOA contracts for district services, which is pays BACK to the district.  And finally, Greene County has one of the highest per pupil amounts in the state .... a great deal of this because of local funds paid by property owners in Dr. Tucker's attendance zone.  Despite GCSD having about $13,000 per pupil, LOA is less than $10,000 per pupil, and operates the school without all of the added administration the district has.  I believe, as I have said before, that the school's financial model works, as is evidenced by the fact that it runs on significantly less with significantly less administrative expense and its achievement.


Do not get your class ratio comment, as LOA never professed to having 1:6 ratio.  Nor am I sure how this is relevant to anything.  LOA caps at 25 per classroom .... class sizes in district schools are serving in excess of 30 students per classroom.  The district earns a middle school student with 23 children ... the funds for the additional 7 students do not get piped back into teacher salaries, it is dispersed in other areas of need in a district.  As an FYI, whenever student to teacher ratio is listed, it always includes ALL instructional staff (SPED, gifted, ESOL, remedial, etc.).  It does not refer merely to a classroom as one might thing. And this is not the case for charters - this is the case for all education sectors.  LOA has a max of 25 per class, per their charter.


Local chamber has acknowledged the positive economic impact to the community.  It likely means a lot to the Greensboro area.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian 

So, you are saying that you, "Average Georgian," without looking at the data Dr. Christine Ries utilized, are more knowledgeable about public school finance and economics theory than Dr. Ries?  You truly have the audacity to find "flaw" in logic of a SUMMARY of a report.  Wow.  Just wow. 


My stated commitment, which I have said multiple times on this site is to EFFECTIVE charter schools.  I also support EFFECTIVE TPS, of which there are many in this state.  Further, Lake Oconee Academy has given me no reason to feel that they are ineffective.  Academically, their students continue to excel, regardless of their demographic.  They have unqualified audits year after year.  They have received numerous local, state, and national awards and recognition.  They have had a consistent and highly qualified board, leader, and staff.  LOA IS a successful charter, which I can support.  Just because you have a bone to pick with their financial model doesn't make it accurate, logical, or even reasonable. 


I think I am done with further discussion with you.  Upon first reading your commentary, I thought you were, perhaps, thoughtful, even if we did not agree.  I like thoughtful dialogue and educated debate.  The more commentary I read from you, the more I realize you have an unsubstantiated opinion based on cherry picking, politically tied/charged sources, flawed logic, downright absurdity, and now an obvious arrogance.  Over and out, buddy.  All the best to you.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian


You made my argument for me. The community "needed" a mostly white school with few harder to educate kids paid for with tax money? Interesting. Now you are getting to the problem. Charters were supposed to be laboratories to discover what works for all kids that have difficulty meeting performance goals. I can't see what Oconee teaches the rest of the county.


Are you saying that Oconee only gets about $5,000 but spends 10,000 per student? Where does the extra come from and does it not cost extra to all GA taxpayers, especially those who don't live in Greene county?





AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian


Let's consider your comment  -"So, you are saying that you, "Average Georgian," without looking at the data Dr. Christine Ries utilized, are more knowledgeable about public school finance and economics theory than Dr. Ries"-.

That really smacks of elitism if you think an average Georgian cannot understand the economic principal of marginal cost that Dr. Ries fails to consider in his/her example. Marginal cost is part of common core and is not too difficult a concept for us average people to grasp - here is a link to an 8th grade video for marginal cost. http://ccss8.watchknowlearn.org/Video.aspx?VideoID=38887&CategoryID=1528 if it helps.


Enjoyed the discussion. I would not deign to call you "buddy" or other derogatory term because we disagree and I urge to strive to create charter schools that help struggling students in a way that those lessons can help all GA students.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian @CharterStarter_Too 

The children Lake Oconee serves have parents who are taxpayers, and in this case, many of these parents are actually paying more into the school district where their students don't attend than they do where their children do attend (LOA).  Whether those children attend the TPS or LOA, and whether they are rich or poor, the children have a right to be provided, under the state's Constitute an adequate public education.

LOA earns state funds for serviing those children, just as the district would if they served them.  LOA also  earsn some local funds based on the formula in the law, which ends up being less per pupil than the district keeps.  LOA earns a little less than $10,000 per pupil, a portion of that they pay BACK to the district for authorizer fees and services that are negotiated.  LOA's per pupil revenue is not "extra" money taxpayers pay.  This is money the students earn by being enrolled in a public school, regardless of where. 

My point is that Greene County is operating at $13,000 per pupil PLUS the extra LOA pays them back, while LOA provides the same services to students at less than 10,000 (even with the CEO salary you disagree with.)  The school is doing well with the students it services, and therefore, is a good return on investment for tax payers across the state AND in that area.


One last thing.  You make the assumption that only poor kids are at a disservice in systems that do not work for them.  I believe that ANY child who is unable to reach their full potential in a safe environment is at at a disservice.  This impacts our local, state, and national economy, so it behooves us to ensure that ever child, regardless of socioeconomic status, can not only graduate, but are prepared to be nationally and globally competitive citizens.  Georgia students are lagging, for many reasons, but they are lagging, behind the nation, and that is not just the poor kids.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian


LOA cherry picked easy to educate kids that don't have the costlier requirements. I think that those 377 kids could probably be educated for less that 10,000 apiece if folded back into the county system (marginal cost savings) at a savings to taxpayers or benefit to all students.


Public education is public education. The LOA students were probably high performing kids before they stepped foot in LOA. Full potential is not in the constitution and if folks in Greene county want a certain type of experience at taxpayer expense, they can move to the district of their choice. I also fail to see how  LOA helps the kids at Anita White Carson meet their full potential.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian


I am for all parents securing an adequate education for their kids just not at the expense of enriching a few and taking away from others while bemoaning "failing schools" Charters were an experiment to try new things that would help all students. It has somehow morphed into a way to help already high performing Lake Oconee Charter students meet their full potential.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

I have already a asked you to exain to me HOW it costs more. Those children have to be served in the public school system. State funds are equivalent, local funds in charters are less. Charters pay their district 3%. Charters have been funding their own facility. Mathematically, how is that even possible to cost more?.

Do me a favor. Go to APS's funding on the state DOE website and look at what percentage goes to instruction. It has been some time since I have checked, but the last time I did, it was 48%. General admin. was outrageously high. Check DeKalb.

And for the record, I don't mind outsourcing operations IF it is more cost effecient and effective than doing it in house. That is not always the case with management companies, but same goes for bloated district offices. BOTH need to be cleaned up, as they are taking funds from the classroom.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too


I tell you what. You answer my questions about the Oconee charter school in a way that shows they are not under serving serving  the general population of Greene County and I'll work on your question (you did brag on the Superprincipalintendent and his singlehandedly(I guess - you didn't answer whether teachers contributed to school success and were rewarded financially) boosting his school to high performance). Also please address the private school tax credit scholarships for mostly wealthy families( PSTCSFMWF I guess although they call it GOAL which I think stands for Giving Out A Lot(of money to wealthy folks to pay private school tuition). I did give you the link to a study that said charters could cost more or less depending on the situation.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian

Your explanation of Oconee's charter seems to indicate that a lot of thought and planning went into producing a small school that is 85% white with low ESOL, EIP, Remedial and IEP,  while a similar TPS Greene County school is 10% white with higher rates of students that need extra services. Well – what a surprising result of charter school policies ! However in the world did that happen?

Your explanation described several problems and many of the things charters do to screen out "undesirables":

1. Attendance zones - why not all of Greene County?

2. Lottery - Why not automatically enroll all children? - Parents could give up the slot if they chose.

3. Application process - If you can't look at the process and see the barriers to poorer, less educated parents, you need help in understanding diverse students and families.

4. Enriches a few - Superprincipalintendent makes about $190,000 at a cost of about $500 per student in his/her 377 student school - that is about double avg. principal pay and the school is still part of the county school system that already has a superintendent(who is paid less) and infrastructure.  Hey if the Greene County Super was paid $500 per student , he would make over $1Million – Check my math.

5. Teacher’s salaries are posted online as they are for all county school system employees - I didn't see them making twice the avg. teacher pay like SPI(superprincipalintendent). SPI make almost 200K for being principal to only 377 students.

6. Class size – I counted 59 teachers for 377 students. Is that a 1:6? BTW, SPI could give 59K of salary to teachers each year (that would be a 1K raise for them) and still make 130K(still about $344 per student).

Lastly – An Award by the COC as proof of what? That explains a lot.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@AvgGeorgian

Charters under current contracts will finish them out, but when renewer must use the accountability template with set goals.

Management companies are contracted service providers. A district does not post the salaries of contracted workers either. Let me say that management companies can be very helpful in many circumstances IF the board is on its game, compares costs prior to contracting, negotiates a contract that is favorable to the school and not a management boilerplate, and oversees performance. That goes to the strength of the board. Weak boards whether TPS or charter waste LOTS of money. Authorizer a are doing much better in providing oversight of schools with management contracts.

I want to clarify something you may not have considered with charter school leaders. They are not typical principals who just run a school building like in a TPS. They do the job of a princip AND a superintendent. They must be versed in school finance, accounting,, school law, Special Education, risk management, human resources, Title reporting, grants management, etc., etc. Several have been involved in negotiating bonds or large finance transactions for facilities. It is a HUGE job, even if the school is small. If a well qualified school leader is recruited from a savvy board, negotiated a good contract for themselves, and delivers academically, I think it is a well spent investment. Lake Oconee is that example. It is, however, atypical with a school leader making a high salary. Lake Oconee's leader is an exception, as he had started MANY schools and was an authorizer at a state dept. In NC. He is exceptionally qualified and has the outcomes to match.

The 38% is the school comparison the state uses, which, as I stated, has flaws. I sure wish an individual child's progress was tracked and compared. I think the charters would fare a heck of a lot higher.

Look, charters aren't the best fit for every kid. But for some, they are perfect. TPS work fine for some kids, and if that is the case, great. We want kids where they can flourish, no matter the environment.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too


Seems that Greene County's Oconee charter has about 377 students in an area where 500K homes are not uncommon. Greene county's Anita White Carson school  has about the same number of kids.


Funny thing is Lake Oconee Charter is 85% white while TPS Anita White Elementary is only 10% white. Is that right? To a casual observer it could look like the charter process was used to produce a segregated public charter school as a substitute for private school. Maybe you could explain this situation so that it doesn't look quite so bad.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too


No TPS do not specify the salaries of their vendors but neither do they contract out the bulk of their services that can account for over half their funding. 


If the charter school principal is a superintendent, call her that. If she can do all those things you mentioned, that is one more reason that charter schools need much less money than TPS. As to their delivering academically, there seems to be no evidence that charter schools in GA make an appreciable difference in individual student performance. Hey I don't begrudge higher pay for someone, but let me ask you- are the teachers getting higher pay in Oconee or is it only the superprincipalintendent? maybe the teachers have no effect on the school or students. Just asking.


A charter school may be the best fit for a student, but maybe spending more money and better ideas on that student's school would help that student and the hundreds of others who don't get to go to a charter school. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@CharterStarter_Too @AvgGeorgian @MaryElizabethSings @Wascatlady


The time for "proving" the validity of various points-of-view, regarding whether the charter school movement will be advantageous or disadvantageous to all of Georgia's children, is over.


The answers to the validity of this movement will, now, be found in how the  educational delivery to all students throughout Georgia is played out in practice. Time will reveal truth.  

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@MaryElizabethSings @CharterStarter_Too @Wascatlady @AvgGeorgian


I would say a hunch by person with ME's experience might likely be on target. It is not a stretch to assume from years of experience in different educational capacities that a group of high performing students might have less severe disabilities and special needs characteristics.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@MaryElizabethSings @CharterStarter_Too @Wascatlady @AvgGeorgian 

@MaryElizabeth, what you said is that if a child comes from a more affluent background, then IF they have a disability, THEN it is more likely than they will also be gifted.  Which is completely preposterous, grounded in nothing, including your vast experience. I have seen your resume on this blog more than once, as you like to bolster your often farfetched commentary with it - I could probably write your resume for you.

What you stated was simply meant to be ugly and damaging, not truth.  From one educator to another - shame on you. 

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@MaryElizabethSings @CharterStarter_Too 

Is this not what you said?

"And, the IEPs are probably mainly for the Gifted children or for those children who are both LD and Gifted."

I made a statement that your comment was not only absurd (which it was), but also that it was intended to be ugly and divisive (which it was.)  You and I both know that gifted children do not have IEPs.  Further, you have ZERO basis for assuming that the majority of SPED students are both LD and gifted.  That is grounded in nothing.  No years of experience you continue to say you have can make that statement based in anything, and you know it.

So where is my generalization?  I think I was pretty specific.

 

class80olddog
class80olddog

I am in favor of reducing a school's state funding by 10% for every 3% of students that miss more than 15 days. And if the principal cheats on the attendance reporting- five years in prison

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog What authority does the principal have?  If the social workers, and the courts, will not uphold attendance requirements, what can the principal do?

class80olddog
class80olddog

Can he/she not hold students after school if they are tardy? Require Saturday detention if excessive absences? Refuse to promote to the next grade? Not allow participation in sports?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog


Since charter schools are experimental, you could start with them to see if it works. If it does, great. If not, it will have impacted a smaller % of schools.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog I agree, but nothing will change till judges quit acting so soft on parents, and until REAL sanctions are in place, and until we track kids whose parents move them around so they "start all over" on absences and tardies.  I have heard for YEARS about Georgia's "new" computer system that can follow kids' records as they move around, and certainly there was a lot of money spent on it, but have NEVER SEEN IT USED TO GET RECORDS, SHARE RECORDS, GUARANTEE CORRECT PLACEMENT, OR CRACK DOWN ON NEGLIGENT PARENTS!