Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

Four of California’s largest charter school organizations received three-quarters of the $36 million in competitive grants that the federal Department of Education awarded this month to help charter schools expand their operations. Most of the money for the California organizations, however, will go toward growing schools outside the state in markets that are easier to navigate or more welcoming, the chief executives of two of the charter groups said.

Only one of the four, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, headquartered in Los Angeles, will use all of its $2.3 million to add schools in California.

The other grantees are :

  • Green Dot Public Schools, based in Los Angeles, $7.4 million;
  • Aspire Public Schools, based in Oakland, $3.3 million; and
  • KIPP Foundation, the nation’s largest charter school management organization, whose home office is in San Francisco, $13.8 million.

All four are among the highest performing charter school operators in the state serving primarily low-income, minority students. All are nonprofit organizations.

The grants are part of the $220 million that the federal government will spend this year to seed charter school development nationwide. The one-year, $36 million piece will jump-start schools serving high-needs students in 12 states, according to the U.S. Department of Education; the California grantees expect to double their initial grant over the next five years, assuming Congress continues to fund the program. The money will underwrite startup costs. Most charter schools start with a grade or two and run at a loss before ramping up to full enrollment.

Green Dot CEO Marco Petruzzi and Aspire CEO James Willcox cited the cost of facilities and difficulty in finding sites as a primary reason that both organizations have slowed growth plans in California.

Green Dot expects to use half of its initial $7 million to open three middle schools in Los Angeles that will feed into existing charter high schools. One of the few charter operators in the state with unionized teachers, Green Dot operates 21 schools, 19 in Los Angeles, serving 10,000 students. The remaining money will subsidize the opening of two schools in the state of Washington, where it will be among the first to operate under a tightly contested voter referendum that passed in 2012, and in Tennessee, said CEO Marco Petruzzi. It has approval to take over 10 schools in Memphis as part of the Achievement School District, which has assumed control of the lowest performing schools in Tennessee. Next to Louisiana’s all-charter Recovery School District, primarily in New Orleans, the Achievement School District is the largest experiment in charter school takeovers in the nation.

Aspire will also use its federal grant to phase in 10 charters in Memphis, three of which have opened with 1,100 students. In California, where it is the largest charter school operator, Aspire runs 35 schools with 13,600 students in 10 cities in the state, with a plan to open only one more school in the state at this point, said spokeswoman Heather Vega.

KIPP operates 162 schools in 20 states serving 58,000 students, including 21 schools in California: 10 in the Bay Area and 11 in Los Angeles. About one-fifth of the $14 million federal grant – $2.4 million – will be spent on opening four K-4 schools in California – two in Los Angeles, one in Redwood City and one in San Francisco – all feeding into existing KIPP middle schools, according to spokesman Steve Mancini. If, as KIPP anticipates, it receives another $14 million over the next five years, it will use a combination of federal and philanthropic dollars to continue growing in Los Angeles. This week, KIPP announced that it hopes to open nine more schools in Los Angeles by 2020, doubling students served there to 8,000.

The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools will use all of its federal money to help open 10 schools, two each year over five years, said President and CEO Judy Burton. The Alliance runs 26 middle and high schools, all in Los Angeles.

Both Green Dot’s Petruzzi and James Willcox, CEO of Aspire, cited the cost of facilities and difficulty in finding sites as a primary reason that both organizations have slowed growth plans in California. Under Proposition 39, which voters passed in 2000, districts are required to offer charter schools facilities that are “reasonably equivalent” to other district schools. But charter operators in Los Angeles and elsewhere have complained that their facilities are inadequate and they’re not permanent. And some operators, like Green Dot, have chosen to build their own schools. But real estate, particularly around Los Angeles, is in short supply and expensive, Petruzzi said. “It’s tough to find buildings that we can afford as the economy has picked up,” he said.

Added Willcox in an email, “Not all of our California schools are in facilities truly big enough to support the programs. Finding solutions for these schools is a priority. As it’s challenging to ensure our current schools have what is needed, finding space to open new schools is also not easy.”

Mancini agreed that financing facilities is a challenge but expressed optimism that KIPP can work through it by partnering with Los Angeles Unified and building its own facilities, like the $8 million campus for KIPP Empower that opened last spring in South Los Angeles.

Jed Wallace, head of the California Charter Schools Association, said he is hopeful that Gov. Jerry Brown will propose a solution for schools struggling to pay for construction and maintenance. Despite financial obstacles, he predicts steady growth of charters – about 100 new charters throughout the state in each of the next two years. The association estimates there are currently nearly 1,200 charters, serving 8.5 percent of the state’s 6.2 million public school students. The Local Control Funding Formula equalized funding between charters and district schools, he said, providing hundreds of dollars more per student than new charter schools would have received without the formula. He said that most of the growth will be in the state’s 56 charter management organizations, which the association defines as operators with three or more schools.

The state of Washington and the Achievement School District present unique expansion opportunities, Wallace said. California’s charter sector should see it as a “huge compliment” that they have reached out to “marquee operations” to open up schools there, he said, and that the federal government has chosen to fund them.

 


Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

Expand Comments
Collapse Comments
  1. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    So the Feds openly are investing against traditional public education. Great.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Charter schools are public schools, not private. If you spent as much time railing against actual private schools (proven to provide zero academic advantage after adjusting for income and the cause of tremendous racial and class segregation, which is why they are hugely popular in areas where whites live in integrated districts with black and brown kids and nearly unheard of where whites live without much integration, see Oakland, SF, LA vs. Los Gatos, … Read More

      Charter schools are public schools, not private. If you spent as much time railing against actual private schools (proven to provide zero academic advantage after adjusting for income and the cause of tremendous racial and class segregation, which is why they are hugely popular in areas where whites live in integrated districts with black and brown kids and nearly unheard of where whites live without much integration, see Oakland, SF, LA vs. Los Gatos, Orinda, Marin, Burlingame, Palo Alto) as you do charters you would at least be morally consistent.

      I think the real reason for the popularity of charter schools is the inability to address social wrongs in the traditional sense, and as a means of pressuring vast bureaucracies to change. Once they allow for forced tutoring of underperforming students, mandatory summer school, one on one support and reasonable ability to fire poor teachers, as well as economic incentives for attendance and strong performance, the growth in charters will be over. Vergara may have sealed this fate, if it is upheld. If Vergara is overturned and we’re suddenly a decade or more from changing employment laws for teachers, I will be in favor of more charters. We see some things in charters which flat out work. You don’t see teachers everyone knows is horrible lasting decades at Charter Schools. You don’t see people openly telling friends they took a “mental health day” off when they weren’t sick just because it’s in the contract. It may happen, but if so they are quiet and ashamed, as should be anyone who hurts children under their responsibility that much without just cause such as a valid illness.

      Charters brought about much progress. And remember, most teach kids the status quo-loving union-backed bureaucracy had openly given up on before the charter movement, expending more energy complaining about poverty and the children’s bad parents and attitudes than actually trying to find reforms which would close the achievement gap.

      These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        Floyd, the term "traditional public education" is not inclusive of charter schools as is well understood. "Forced tutoring". What is this? Mandatory summer school? Where will the money come from to pay for 6-8 weeks of summer school? "One on one support" - ditto I can understand that there is no reason to get bogged down worrying how to pay for fantasy reforms. I agree with you that traditional public education is bogged down … Read More

        Floyd, the term “traditional public education” is not inclusive of charter schools as is well understood.

        “Forced tutoring”. What is this?

        Mandatory summer school? Where will the money come from to pay for 6-8 weeks of summer school?

        “One on one support” – ditto

        I can understand that there is no reason to get bogged down worrying how to pay for fantasy reforms.

        I agree with you that traditional public education is bogged down in laws and regulations..

        But it doesn’t do any good to claim charter schools have solved those problems when it is well documented that ON AVERAGE they don’t do any better than traditional public schools by the the very test scores that you support so vehemently. And that IS an indisputable fact.

        I send my own son to a charter school and I am a proponent of well run, non-profit only charters that offer alternative programs to what traditional schools offer. As a charter proponent, making false claims about the charter industry isn’t going to help me make the case against skeptics. It is only going to solidify the opposition.

        I could get into what’s wrong with the present charter law, but suffice is to say – why should even one dollar of public education funding go to profiteering? For-profit charters should be outlawed for the long term sake of public education in general and the future viability of the charter industry as a viable counterpart to traditional schools.

        You claim private schools don’t outperform public schools but charter public schools don’t outperform traditional public schools either. What is your point?You seem to be hinting at some kind of non-democratic ban on private education or are you simply trying to convince the wealthy they have nothing to fear by attending public school? If the latter is the case, you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone to attend a traditional public school with all the inherent functional problems you ascribe to them such as those in your comment.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          The book proved there's nothing to fear. It was very thorough. Charter schools tend to serve a lower demographic. They do outperform regular schools if you adjust for income. Private schools outperform public schools if you don't adjust for income, but Lubienski and Lubienski (The Public School Advantage) prove that is not the case if you do control for income. I've always bristled at the idea public schools are unthinkable … Read More

          The book proved there’s nothing to fear. It was very thorough. Charter schools tend to serve a lower demographic. They do outperform regular schools if you adjust for income. Private schools outperform public schools if you don’t adjust for income, but Lubienski and Lubienski (The Public School Advantage) prove that is not the case if you do control for income. I’ve always bristled at the idea public schools are unthinkable for some, yet acceptable for millions. It is the definition of a caste society. If it’s unthinkable Matt Damon’s kids go to a public school, all should be changed until it is thinkable. The rich do however choose private more the more diverse an area is. I feel they don’t help academically but do hurt the poor by isolating and demotivating them. Let’s face it, this is a double standard.

          I don’t advocate any law except reforms to public school and employment.

          Some charters require staying after school if you are behind. Some require summer school and provide good tutoring. The Harlem Zone Schools are like this.

          We should adjust input to achieve output. The average kid, if they study 5.6 hours a week, get no direct tutoring, have average parenting and have average teachers, doesn’t graduate college. I believe over 90% of kids are capable of doing so. It’s sad to see so many not reach their potential.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            What is “a lower demographic”?

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Demographically, outside of Asians and a few other immigrant groups (Russians, Cubans, Persians, Nigerians and other Africans, Arabs, Polish, South Africans, Lebanese, Armenians), the most reliable predictor of academic success is parental income, followed by mother's education. It's fairly reliable in large groups, with the exception of these immigrant groups who have very strong moral character, reject TV and laziness and simply outwork their peers and gain impressive results. Therefore if you have a demographic … Read More

            Demographically, outside of Asians and a few other immigrant groups (Russians, Cubans, Persians, Nigerians and other Africans, Arabs, Polish, South Africans, Lebanese, Armenians), the most reliable predictor of academic success is parental income, followed by mother’s education. It’s fairly reliable in large groups, with the exception of these immigrant groups who have very strong moral character, reject TV and laziness and simply outwork their peers and gain impressive results.

            Therefore if you have a demographic that would predictably perform far below average and you get them to average, the charter school is achieving a lot. Say it’s a poor Latino area in East L.A., or an African American dominated school in Oakland or Richmond of low income, or a rural school of poor whites whose parents didn’t graduate from college such as Redding, for example. Or Bronx/Harlem in the case of Geoffrey Canada’s schools. If you get these to average, you’ve achieved a lot. On average about 30% of kids graduate college, but in these communities it’s closer to 10%. If you can get any of these to 30, kudos to you.

            That is one factor which is generally ignored when they compare charter schools to mainstream public schools. If you factor this in, the results are more impressive.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Each region likely varies, Floyd, but what I am seeing in our region is lots of attendance in charters with test scores that average well below the modest scoring conventional public schools in the same region, despite similar demographics, which are largely white. This doesn't keep the charters from pushing lots of hype about excellence and their programs to parents even as their teaching staffs turn over frequently and bad scores are posted. … Read More

            Each region likely varies, Floyd, but what I am seeing in our region is lots of attendance in charters with test scores that average well below the modest scoring conventional public schools in the same region, despite similar demographics, which are largely white. This doesn’t keep the charters from pushing lots of hype about excellence and their programs to parents even as their teaching staffs turn over frequently and bad scores are posted. Real charter accountability and ultimate consequences for poor performance seem to be non-existent in this state. I would dearly love to see stellar achievement in charters of the sort that was originally anticipated (and hyped), for the sake and future of the kids involved, and to set a high bar for conventional schools. As it is, I’d homeschool all over again, in a heartbeat.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Homeschooling shortchanges kids in terms of social development. It also hurts the kids left behind. You have to remember, an educated person can homeschool their kids, but what if that causes the school they avoid to be all first generation Latino immigrants without those advantages? No PTA, no friends of American culture. You have to look at the full footprint you leave, not just on your kids.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Not going to prison also limited my kids’ social development. And shortchanged the prisoners who could have benefited from their presence. Since they are very well employed , and highly valued at work, with good friends and get along well with each other and with their parents, I assume that they weren’t too stunted.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            I should also mention, Floyd, that large numbers of those parents who choose to homeschool lack college educations themselves, but their children still excel and become the first of their generation to attend and graduate from college. My children networked enthusiastically with such students, and not only served as examples to them, but learned from them. There are a number in our circles where the homeschooling parents lacked degrees and lacked a family … Read More

            I should also mention, Floyd, that large numbers of those parents who choose to homeschool lack college educations themselves, but their children still excel and become the first of their generation to attend and graduate from college. My children networked enthusiastically with such students, and not only served as examples to them, but learned from them. There are a number in our circles where the homeschooling parents lacked degrees and lacked a family history of involvement in higher education, but their homeschooled children attained high SAT’s, excelled in studies, and now have degrees including doctorates. Homeschooling does not necessarily mean social isolation, it often means interacting with a broad range of people, not all of whom are same age peers, an artificial construct. And it means doing so in an atmosphere of personal freedom and responsibility rather than a highly structured atmosphere of interdiction, sitting for hours on hard plastic chairs in rows. Intellectual curiousity and a love of learning bloom in such an environment of freedom.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            The fact that you compare it to prison says a lot. Lowell High School is better than any homeschooling environment. You have to think about the impact your decisions have on others. If everyone with time and money chose this, it would hurt the poor and the immigrants. I am proud to educate my kids without causing harm to anyone. I homeschool as a supplement, but not to remove them … Read More

            The fact that you compare it to prison says a lot. Lowell High School is better than any homeschooling environment. You have to think about the impact your decisions have on others. If everyone with time and money chose this, it would hurt the poor and the immigrants. I am proud to educate my kids without causing harm to anyone. I homeschool as a supplement, but not to remove them from the school. You can do both. Then you’d help other kids.

            You sound like Rick Santorum. Generations always like connecting people their own age. I get it, I was once cool and now am the old square just like my parents, it’s part of Americana and not a bad thing. People connect with their contemporaries. Rick Santorum also wanted gays and lesbians to go to therapy and was against interracial marriages as late as 2002. My guess is he still is but doesn’t talk about it at parties.

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          The Charter movement seems to have mastered Rationalization 101, whatever else they have or haven't mastered. There are rationalizations for generally mediocre test scores relative to conventional schools. There are rationalizations for abysmal charter teacher turnover rates. I suspect that they will start achieving more on the whole when they stop rationalizing about these problems, which are likely related, come out of denial, and start addressing them intelligently, constructively, altruistically and … Read More

          The Charter movement seems to have mastered Rationalization 101, whatever else they have or haven’t mastered. There are rationalizations for generally mediocre test scores relative to conventional schools. There are rationalizations for abysmal charter teacher turnover rates. I suspect that they will start achieving more on the whole when they stop rationalizing about these problems, which are likely related, come out of denial, and start addressing them intelligently, constructively, altruistically and with determination.

          When there is public money to be had, for-profit and quasi-for-profit organizations flock to tap it, and every vulnerability in oversight will be tested. They mount slick PR campaigns and produce images with little connection to reality. Some supposed “non-profits” involved with charters are actually essentially “for-profits” except that they pay out in hefty salaries and bonuses to key executives what would otherwise be dividends distributed to shareholders.

          Being part of the pioneering homeschooling movement throughout the K-12 education of my children, I’ve noted with interest the average standardized test scores of homeschooled students surveyed. Homeschooled students standardized scores have averaged in the upper 80’s in percentile, compared to the 50th percentile range for conventional and charter schools, and this homeschool outcome has been relatively consistent across differing parental education levels and differing economic circumstances.

          What prevents charter schools from reaching the much higher attainment level of homeschooled students? Both modes of education involve motivated self-selected parents. But charter teacher turnover stands in stark contrast to the stability of staff in a homeschool staffed by one or two parents. And perhaps more importantly, the goal of most homeschools is solely to what is best for the homeschooled students. There is no profit motive, no huge executive compensation, no slick PR, no pseudo-altruism, just a simple overriding desire to do what is best for the students.

          Funding in California is now largely equalized between charters and conventional schools. Isn’t it time for charter rationalizations to end, for denial to be abandoned, and for the charter movement to operate altruistically in the best interests of the students, which includes obtaining and retaining for the long term the best teachers? Our own exceptional success in homeschooling K-12, and that of most homeschoolers, isn’t a testimony to the efficacy of homeschooling, it is indicative of how ineffective, needlessly ineffective, the alternatives are.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Andrew, there are now thousands of charters across the country and no one speaks for the industry at large. There are some louder voices to be sure, but many independent charters have no relationship to these voices. Despite Floyd's replacement of fact-based interchange and thoughtful consideration of the charter scene with one-sided righteous indignation of anyone who faults his notions of educational progress, when you look at charters as a group using the most … Read More

            Andrew, there are now thousands of charters across the country and no one speaks for the industry at large. There are some louder voices to be sure, but many independent charters have no relationship to these voices. Despite Floyd’s replacement of fact-based interchange and thoughtful consideration of the charter scene with one-sided righteous indignation of anyone who faults his notions of educational progress, when you look at charters as a group using the most recent and expansive but highly controversial CREDO study, there is effectively minimal academic difference between the outcomes of American charters and American traditional public schools. This study’s methodology while generally well-conceived, has been legitimately faulted by non-partisan groups for certain methods and models that favor charters. When Floyd says the charters outperform when adjusted for demographics, who knows what he’s talking about? Certainly not him. He might have read it in a book somewhere and he certainly has no personal experience with charters to draw on either. It should be noted ( especially by Floyd) that any study that didn’t adjust for SES would not be considered useful or even valid.

            I think Floyd is correct in that the lack of innovation in traditional schools has spurred charter growth. That is not a reason to support every charter and assume the movement is 100% positive.

            For myself, I’m critical of charter laws and some players because I want charter to succeed and miscreants, profiteers and provocateurs like Floyd do the movement an injustice. I don’t tie my wagon to whether the charter my son attends gets higher test scores. I’m looking for a different experience than what is provided at the local traditional schools – something that would fit better into his learning style. As long as see he’s getting a high quality version of what I’m seeking, it doesn’t particularly matter to me how students score on summative assessments..

  2. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    I'm not a proponent of the State picking winners and losers in any market place. So, in principle, I'm against it when the Feds decide to hand out sweets to their favorite charter operators or any charter operators, for that matter, just as I was against the federal largess called the ARRA stimulus that favored certain companies and unions, just as I was against picking winners and losers in the Green industry (another massive … Read More

    I’m not a proponent of the State picking winners and losers in any market place. So, in principle, I’m against it when the Feds decide to hand out sweets to their favorite charter operators or any charter operators, for that matter, just as I was against the federal largess called the ARRA stimulus that favored certain companies and unions, just as I was against picking winners and losers in the Green industry (another massive example of cronies capitalism), or just as I was against picking certain winners of RTTT and School Improvement Grants, the “improvement’ portion of which failed to materialize. Of course, all of these payouts where paybacks or seed monies for certain preferred federal programs, policies and political patrons.

    One could also argue that after all the federal stimulus to schools (again to emphasize – the vast majority of which showed preciously little or any school improvement and has flown under the radar of the press) charter schools deserved a piece of the action. Well, no. Why should these big charter operators get favored treatment over smaller operators or independents? Again, this money smells like same political favors that is the hallmark of the Obama presidency.

    That said, I’m curious about the new KIPP schools feeding into existing KIPP schools. Currently, California law requires authorizer approval for a feeder assignment. SFUSD just authorized both KIPP and Gateway middle schools to feed into the charter high schools ( strange because SFUSD doesn’t allow its own TPS middle schools to feed into assigned high schools). Have the feeders mentioned in the article already been approved? What strings are getting pulled to overcome the state law? Recently a bill to allow charter feeders never made it out of committee.

  3. Caroline Grannan 2 years ago2 years ago

    KIPP is only nominally based in San Francisco (where it runs two low-profile middle schools with a history of struggling to fill their seats). It reportedly set up a token headquarters here in S.F. to be close to a key funder, the Fisher Foundation. KIPP's soul is really in Houston, where it began. (Disclosure that in my past as an unpaid volunteer education blogger I've done extensive research into and commentary on KIPP schools, including applying … Read More

    KIPP is only nominally based in San Francisco (where it runs two low-profile middle schools with a history of struggling to fill their seats). It reportedly set up a token headquarters here in S.F. to be close to a key funder, the Fisher Foundation. KIPP’s soul is really in Houston, where it began.

    (Disclosure that in my past as an unpaid volunteer education blogger I’ve done extensive research into and commentary on KIPP schools, including applying for my then-seventh-grader — now a college junior — to KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy to learn firsthand whether it would require a test as part of the application process, which it did. KIPP had publicly denied requiring tests as part of the application process.)

    Replies

    • Jim Mordecai 2 years ago2 years ago

      Seldom is mentioned charter schools using summer schools as a filter of students without a work ethnic. American Indian Model charter schools held a rigorous summer school. School told parents it was mandatory. Only those students willing to stand the rigorous workload they experienced would show for the Fall enrollment. Except for students that flunked a grade, under California Constitution summer school cannot be made mandatory.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        Kudos to Charter Schools for evading an idiotic law. There are so many idiotic laws and rules and regulations out there that you must be clever to avoid adhering to status quo mediocrity to not offend some PC group (don't point out that Asians dominate by studying more and doing workbooks all Summer, that's racist), violate some obscure rule which should have never been made in the first place, or offend the omni-present status-quo … Read More

        Kudos to Charter Schools for evading an idiotic law. There are so many idiotic laws and rules and regulations out there that you must be clever to avoid adhering to status quo mediocrity to not offend some PC group (don’t point out that Asians dominate by studying more and doing workbooks all Summer, that’s racist), violate some obscure rule which should have never been made in the first place, or offend the omni-present status-quo obsessed union.

        Summer learning loss represents, according to some estimates, over half the achievement gap. This is far more important than any positive reason for the existence of said ludicrous law and/or regulation. Kids need to learn year-round.

        And if summer school is against some rule as you say, why does Argonne Elementary School in San Francisco go year-round while most SF Schools are limited to 180 days?

        If you really want to help kids, instead of looking for justifications for not doing something which will benefit children, let that go and get behind the important effort. Be a can do person pulling us forward, not a can’t do person dragging us backward.

        If a group of kids is headed to poverty, summer school is worth the effort.

        The constitution also says you have to go years, 5 steps and huge expense to fire a bad teacher and there are many roadblocks to even measuring who’s bad or even observing them. That’s about to go the way of the DoDo bird.

        Our national constitution, the longest-lasting governing document in the world, allowed for slavery and denial of basic rights to women and Gays. Kudos to America for finding ways around that. Many things Lincoln did were not technically constitutional. The way the 13th Amendment was passed, as well as the next few, were not constitutional. Kudos to Lincoln for his achievements.

        You’re not part of the solution man. You’re part of the problem. You’re in the way of progress.

        • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

          Requiring additional summer school for all students on top of the regular school year is what's out of bounds. OFFERING it is well and good -- REQUIRING it is what's improper. That's a separate thing from schools with a non-traditional schedule like Argonne (and others around the Bay Area and beyond). The issue that Jim brings up is when charter schools impose a requirement that inherently screens for motivated, compliant students with motivated, compliant, supportive … Read More

          Requiring additional summer school for all students on top of the regular school year is what’s out of bounds. OFFERING it is well and good — REQUIRING it is what’s improper. That’s a separate thing from schools with a non-traditional schedule like Argonne (and others around the Bay Area and beyond).

          The issue that Jim brings up is when charter schools impose a requirement that inherently screens for motivated, compliant students with motivated, compliant, supportive families, and de facto gets rid of the rest. This is rampant throughout the charter sector and is resoundingly, vigorously, indignantly denied throughout the charter sector (and by its supporters.) I’m pretty sure that even “Floyd,” who fully approves of the charter sector’s doing this, has has voiced disapproval of the fact that the charter sector DENIES doing it.

          What if this practice is the entire basis of the success of those charter schools that are successful? In that case, what if public schools did it (or “non-charter schools,” for those of you who insist that charters are public)? Would there be a reason for charter schools to exist? If charter schools owned up to doing it, would the opinion leaders all ask the same questions: What if public schools did this, and if it’s the key to success and public schools could do it, why do we need charters?

          The other question is: What schools, if any, would serve the unmotivated, noncompliant children, those with unmotivated, noncompliant and unsupportive families (or no families)? Discuss among yourselves.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Caroline, did you ever see 'Waiting for Superman'? Part of the problem is the 10% or so of teachers who would be moved out in just about any other line of work, in some districts, though it may be 5% nationwide. But another part is what Geoffrey Canada said so eloquently. Why do we have one input to children's education and then see what happens? Why not see what it takes … Read More

            Caroline, did you ever see ‘Waiting for Superman’? Part of the problem is the 10% or so of teachers who would be moved out in just about any other line of work, in some districts, though it may be 5% nationwide. But another part is what Geoffrey Canada said so eloquently. Why do we have one input to children’s education and then see what happens? Why not see what it takes to make a kid successful in school and put that in?

            I do believe we should spend much more on education and much less on prisons, the military industrial complex and other things, and that we should even have higher taxes if we need them. For instance, why is a pair of jeans taxed at 10% sales tax, which hurts no one, but private school tuition, which devastates poor, black and Latino children, not taxed? Why not have a sales tax (with exemptions for low income private school families so you’re truly taxing the well off who are hurting poor kids by fleeing the system) on this and use it to pay for tutors for poor kids?

            Why not require Summer School for all kids who are not advanced or proficient? Getting them to the level where they would get a degree would improve their future income and increase voter participation (The Republicans are about to have a huge win because low income people don’t vote at the same numbers as high income people, or at the same rate as in presidential elections).

            I think anyone failing to do their best and learn should have a consequence. I bet a lot more kids will test advanced or proficient if they know it means Summer in a classroom. Having summers off is an anachronism from when over 90% of people worked in direct food production, 60% as late as 1900. Let it go.

            We have to assume some kids have bad and even terrible parents. Asians have proven what can be achieved with responsible parenting (60% prepared for kindergarten vs. 16, 13.8 hours studying per week ages 11-17 vs. 5.6 for whites, over 3.5 times the likelihood of admission to a UC). So if a kid has bad parents and is failing, why not use tax dollars to try to make up for parents who refuse to change and provide tutoring and summer school? Plus, they will be better parents to their kids. It will pay for itself in a higher taxable GDP in the future. Why just accept that they have bad parenting and not give them enough education to have anything better than a minimum wage job?

            There’s nothing wrong with saying to disadvantaged people, we’re going to give you something but you have to give something back. That was the basis of Clinton’s welfare reform. Workfare. We’re going to give you a great charter school, but you have to agree as parents to come to meetings, send your kid to school, turn off the TV and change your home life to support them, and make education a top priority. You have to honestly try your best,not just say it. We’re watching. We’re helping. We care. We love you. We want this poverty to end with you. What a beautiful thing!

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            It reminds me of the claim that welfare is better than workfare because parents have more time to raise better kids. Why not hold them to that? If you take them to the library and tutoring and turn off the TV, if your kids test advanced or proficient, you can stay home on welfare, but if your kids test below this, you have to do workfare because you aren't using the extra time … Read More

            It reminds me of the claim that welfare is better than workfare because parents have more time to raise better kids. Why not hold them to that? If you take them to the library and tutoring and turn off the TV, if your kids test advanced or proficient, you can stay home on welfare, but if your kids test below this, you have to do workfare because you aren’t using the extra time diligently.

            The entire goal to me is the changing of habits and elimination of poverty.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Caroline, your whole line of reasoning amounts down to nothing more than an accusation with no proof whatsoever, what is sometimes referred to as a hasty generalization. If you had anything more to demonstrate your assertion about cherry-picking you wouldn't repeatedly cite the same old example of your own child who took a test at KIPP. My child was given a test a Gateway before school started - an assessment to help the … Read More

            Caroline, your whole line of reasoning amounts down to nothing more than an accusation with no proof whatsoever, what is sometimes referred to as a hasty generalization. If you had anything more to demonstrate your assertion about cherry-picking you wouldn’t repeatedly cite the same old example of your own child who took a test at KIPP. My child was given a test a Gateway before school started – an assessment to help the school with scheduling and planning in general. I understand that it is hard to collect data of this kind from charter schools since they wouldn’t exactly go around announcing these tactics and for that matter I don’t doubt that they exist in some shape and form. The example that Jim gave at AIMS, (if it is true and I can find nothing to verify it as such) provides a good example of how cherry-picking can be defined differently. I don’t know if AIMS misinformed parents about the requirement of summer school as he asserts, but I see no issue with having rigorous schooling during summer or otherwise if parents and students have signed a school contract that lays out the expectations.

            Here’s what AIMS has to say on its FAQS page about cherry-picking:

            8. Do you “cherry pick” kids with the most potential to join your schools?

            “Truthfully, AIMS recruiters can’t even put their foot in the front door at most public schools in Oakland, even just to hand out applications and talk about AIMS programs. So, how could AIMS cherry pick? AIMS staff only have very basic information about applicants before holding a public lottery. When applying to an AIM School, applicants only fill out a registration form. So, their grades and test scores aren’t known. It’s only after the lottery and spots are filled that families give additional information about their child’s previous academic performance.”

            “If anything in recent years, AIMS’s reputation for providing additional resources to students who exhibit the most academic need has led some people in the Oakland special education system to begin referring students to AIMS sites, despite the high expectations AIMS staff has for all students.”

            “The AIMS story is exciting, not simply because it involves taking in a bunch of smart kids and keep them learning. The story is great, because AIMS takes anyone who comes in the door. Then they’re taught to work hard. They begin to believe in themselves, because AIMS helps them set challenging goals and then support them as they work to attain those goals.”

            I know it suits your goal to knock the charters by attributing various improprieties to them. Certainly, the episode with Ben Chavis was not a high point in the school, though the facts are murky and his overall influence made AIMS what it is today (and he was never charged with any wrongdoing). SFUSD has had high level administrators embezzling funds.

            AIMS is a spectacularly high performing school for many reasons. Cherry-picking students in advance is difficult for schools to engage in..

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        Jim, AIMS runs two of the most successful schools in the country and it isn't because it cherry-picks its students. To achieve the kind of results that AIMS gets cannot be explained away by cherry-picking. That success is why the unions relentlessly attack the school. It isn't a school for everyone. You have to work incredibly hard to succeed there. If that is what you find fault with, you need to look no further than … Read More

        Jim, AIMS runs two of the most successful schools in the country and it isn’t because it cherry-picks its students.

        To achieve the kind of results that AIMS gets cannot be explained away by cherry-picking.

        That success is why the unions relentlessly attack the school.

        It isn’t a school for everyone. You have to work incredibly hard to succeed there. If that is what you find fault with, you need to look no further than your own expectations to understand what ails so many traditional public schools.

        http://www.aimschools.org/#!faq/c1a2a

Template last modified: