Charter schools see growth and continued concerns, including from Hillary Clinton

In a report released today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools finds at least 10 percent of students attend charter public schools in more than 160 school districts nationwide.

Key findings from “A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities” include:

  • Los Angeles enrolled more than 150,000 students in charter schools in 2014-15 compared to 139,200 in 2013-14 – the highest for any school district in the country.

  • For the first time, Kansas City, Mo., and Gary, Ind., enrolled more than 40 percent of their public school students in charter schools.

  • Given the success of charter schools in Washington, D.C., enrollment has increased from 25 percent in 2005-06 to 44 percent in 2014-15.

  • The number of charter school students in New York City has quadrupled since 2008 – from 20,000 to nearly 85,000.

  • Among the districts singled out in the report for high charter school enrollment is Hall County, where the district itself has converted schools to charter status. Hall ranks 8th in the country for the percentage of students attending a charter school. In noting the rise this week in the district’s graduation rate to 83.7 percent, Hall Superintendent Will Schofield cited the charter schools, saying, “As a comparison, in 2006 our district graduation rate was 67.5 percent. Through the creation of 25 charter schools and programs of choice, our teachers and leaders have worked tirelessly to support our students in finding their unique gifts and passions.”

No headDespite the growth of charter schools, reservations remain over whether the schools are on the same footing as the traditional public schools down the street. Among those voicing concern was Hillary Clinton at a South Carolina event over the weekend.

Clinton said, “Most charter schools — I don’t want to say every one — but most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody, and then they don’t get the resources or the help and support that they need to be able to take care of every child’s education.”

In a statement, Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said: “We appreciate Secretary Clinton’s decades-long support for charter public schools…That being said, we do take issue with Secretary Clinton’s overgeneralizing of charter schools not serving these so-called ‘hardest-to-teach’ students, particularly when the facts are so strong to the contrary. There is no difference in the percentage of English Language Learner students served between charter and non-charter public schools. Nationally, in the 2013-14 school year, charter schools served a higher-percentage of low-income students (57%) – than district-run schools (52%) – and have better outcomes.”

 

 

Reader Comments 0

11 comments
And the beat goes on...
And the beat goes on...

Nina Rees seems to suggest that the "hardest-to-teach" students are either English Language Learner students and/or low income students.  I am quite sure that is NOT who Mrs. Clinton was referring to.  English Language Learner students and low income students whose parents support these charter schools and their teachers and expect much from their children are not the hardest to teach.  Mrs. Clinton is referring to those students whose parents could not care less about their children's education or their behavior in school.  In fact, they care so little about their children that they do not seek out a charter school for their children to attend, and they certainly do nothing at all to support their neighborhood school.  If the students who attend my school had to either pass a test or meet certain criteria to be admitted, and had to maintain a certain GPA or show progress on an IEP to stay enrolled, and had to maintain a clean behavior record or else be sent back to the assigned neighborhood school, my school would be the number one school in the state, regardless of whether the students attending were English Language Learners or low income students.  Mrs. Clinton was noting that traditional public neighborhood schools do not get to choose the students they teach; they, by law, MUST accept all students, and some of these can definitely be the hardest to teach.  However, I and my colleagues are up for the challenge, but it is so disheartening when we lack the financial and parental support to educate these tough students (but we are there anyway!).  I don't need a higher salary; I don't need the latest technology; and, in my school I do not need administrative support because I have that.  I don't even need kids who are eager to learn - I know how to motivate students and get them to succeed.  However, it takes me longer and a lot more effort to get my students to that point, and what is even more remarkable about my colleagues and me, we thrive on showing the charter schools, the private schools, and the totally-out-of-touch policy makers that we can get our students to achieve.  Just please quit complaining that we don't do it well enough or fast enough or with as much enthusiasm.  We do wonders with the students we have, and it would be nice if that were recognized.  Every time I read that some _________ (you fill in the blank) Fine Arts School or __________Science and Technology Magnet School or whatever private school is the top in the state.  That is not news when you can select the students you will teach, send them away if they misbehave, or don't maintain a certain GPA.  It would be news if that weren't the top school in the state every year.  

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@And the beat goes on... 

I saw a movie on TCM, I believe, in the the last week (or possibly on a PBS channel), entitled "Blackboard Jungle" with Glenn Ford (as the teacher) and Sidney Poitier (as a student).  I recommend seeing this excellent movie to anyone who is interested in teaching rough, high school students in some urban, deprived, impoverished neighborhoods - and how doing so can be more rewarding than teaching in easier environments, for some teachers.
  (Released in 1955, and written and directed by Richard Brooks, also starring Anne Frances, Vic Morrow, Jamie Farr, Richard Kiley, Louis Calhern, among others)

Sugarbear 1
Sugarbear 1

@And the beat goes on...


Well said. I  think Ms. Rees purposely misrepresented Secretary Clinton's observations.  Charter and Private schools choose who they want to attend and traditional public schools have no choice and most times no support when dealing with the many challenges that they face daily.


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To the Tech Dept.  More computer program difficulties.  Notice that the box in which I was allowed to post would not allow the final two letters in my word, "expense" below.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I would add, Jerryeads, that the reform charter movement not only is motivated by racial resegregation but by greed to make a quick buck, at taxpayers' expen

jerryeads
jerryeads

Since the end of busing, which by most accounts was the ONLY "reform" that ever made much of a difference, we've been very, very busy resegregating schools - and society. We are more segregated now than before Brown vs. Board. Charters didn't start out to be one of the many approaches to separate one group from another, but it rapidly became one of the gambits for doing so and stands now to be one of the more successful - at resegregation. Yes, there ARE some very well designed and run charters - just as there are very well designed and run "regular" publics. Bravo to both. But the TENDENCY is that the formation of charters is motivated by nothing more than pure, simple economic, social or racial bigotry - not school quality.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Ideally, there is nothing wrong with having a certain number of students served through public charter schools.


A problem materializes, however, when legislators, with a political agenda, try to usurp traditional ("government") public schools in favor of public charter schools by cutting funding, and needed resources, to traditional public schools. These resources are needed to tailor the programs within traditional public schools to a greater personalized and individualized instructional delivery.


Other problems are that charter schools, in the long run, may lack the cohesion and continuity of traditional public schools because they may be too scattered in proximity and design, and they may be financially less accountable for the intent behind their individual raison d'etre.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

In addition, Ms. Rees' statement about improved outcomes has been shown in numerous studies to be disconnected from reality.

CSpinks
CSpinks

Everybody, except socks manufacturers, doesn't expect one size to fit all. In this light, is expecting the traditional public school model to fit all circumstances reasonable?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Mr. Schofield "forgets" that recently (after 2006) we have had a different method of determining graduation rates which boosts the apparent rate, which appears to have gone up all across Georgia.


In addition, I would point out that we now have ChSINOs--charter schools/ systems in name only--which largely account for the increasing percentage of students enrolled here in Georgia.  These have been thrust on systems over the last few years as one of a few alternatives the state allows.  Many systems found the other (2?) choices so unpalatable that they went with the ChSINO designation.