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Old 03-10-2013, 04:45 PM
 
2,237 posts, read 4,457,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvols View Post
My concerns (expanding a little on my previous post) as they deal with Nashville is that a widespread charter system in Davidson County will further the gap between the good or decent and the bad schools. Conceivably, the charter schools could siphon off a lot of the "good" students in the bad schools, making them downright awful and bringing average schools down to the ranks of bad schools. It could also have a negative effect on the top level magnet schools, shrinking the pool of overall quality students that they can draw from. At that point, we could be left with a public school system with a similar or even worse reputation than Memphis City Schools.

I realize charter schools give parents that cannot afford private schooling a more attractive option if they live in a below average school zone...parents that care, but generally don't have the financial means to improve their child's situation. But what about the children of parents that don't care so much? It just creates a worse situation for students who can't help but be stuck in their situation.

I'll admit, I'm a bit ignorant to the details of how this would work out...but how do the charter schools choose their students? Is it open enrollment? If they fill up, can they be picky about the kids they let in? What rules do they operate on in regards to expulsion? Can they expel just the behavioral problems, or could they also kick out poor performing students in order to boost or maintain a higher academic standing?

There are just a lot of questions I have as to how this will operate. It's something that is being pushed hard by the state...but I think the county is right to not just be jumping head first into this. It has to be something with a very sound structural plan.

The idea should be for it to complement or enhance the local school system, not to compete or detract from it. Otherwise school districts like Nashville (and Memphis) should just consider essentially dissolving their systems in favor of a number of privately run schools that operate as open public schools.
Most charters are "lottery" but the mere fact that the kids are applying for the lottery means their parents are somewhat involved in their education giving them a leg up. However there is no rule that says a charter must keep a student so even if a student "wins" the lottery they can be "counseled out" and return to their zone school for any number of reasons (don't think they'll score high on the tcap, needs speech/ot services, is a behavioral problem, etc).

I think there is a place for some charters, for example there is a charter school in NYC that has partnered with a local community college and IBM so after 6 years the kids graduate with a diploma, an AA and are first in line for positions at IBM. (I've heard this particular school discussed twice on NPR). I don't think there is a need for a "classical" charter school. That will just draw students away from traditional comprehensive high schools without giving them anything special/extra.

The current legislation says that the schools accepting vouchers wouldn't have to provide any services currently provided by public schools such as transport, lunch, etc. The only students who would currently qualify for vouchers under the plan are kids receiving free lunch and in a failing school.

The voucher won't pay enough for a student to enroll in any of the top private schools, but it probably would encourage pop up private schools as it has in Louisiana. Some of the curriculum taught in schools receiving vouchers in Louisiana is suspect at best. For example:
School textbook defines
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:31 PM
 
286 posts, read 612,148 times
Reputation: 483
Always interesting to see the talking points of those opposing charter schools...

- "Taxes will increase." Unspoken is that tax increases will be more than offset by the fact that most middle-income+ parents will no longer be horrified at the idea of sending children to Metro high schools, which they already fund through property taxes. Nashville's lousy public schools have been an boat anchor on luring in high-paying professional jobs to Davidson County. The few high-paying jobs that have moved to the area have gone straight to surrounding counties, where coincidentally the schools have "fewer social problems."

- "It will hurt Nashville's public schools." Always interesting to see do-gooders use other people's children as public policy instruments to prop up crappy public schools. Even more amusing when people making this claim 1) have children in private schools, or 2) did the standard Public-Elementary-to-Private High School shuffle with their own children while of course, still claiming they support MPS, or 3) the last time they set foot in a Metro high school was when Jimmy Carter was in the white house. Also ignored is the fact that despite Davidson County's population having grown by approx. 70% since the 1970s, Metro public schools have the exact same enrollment numbers. In other words, Nashville's high schools have lost approx 30% of the higher-achieving students (overwhelmingly white) to private schools and surrounding counties. Then end result is that Nashville's education system more racially segregated than ever.

- "Charter schools won't provide transportation." Nor do Nashville's magnet schools.

- "Charter schools can pick and choose the top students." Legally, no. In practice, still unlikely. The biggest academic gains charter schools have made are with low-income minority students. See Nashville Prep scoring among the highest in the state. One area where charter schools do "cherry pick" is students with behavioral problems -- i.e, disrupting class, fighting faculty, spitting at teachers, tormenting other students, etc. And they should. It's unfair to let one misbehaving child (overwhelmingly the result of crappy, irresponsible parenting) derail the educational outcomes of every other student in the class.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:31 PM
 
6,416 posts, read 10,813,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcredux View Post
Always interesting to see the talking points of those opposing charter schools...

- "Taxes will increase." Unspoken is that tax increases will be more than offset by the fact that most middle-income+ parents will no longer be horrified at the idea of sending children to Metro high schools, which they already fund through property taxes. Nashville's lousy public schools have been an boat anchor on luring in high-paying professional jobs to Davidson County. The few high-paying jobs that have moved to the area have gone straight to surrounding counties, where coincidentally the schools have "fewer social problems."

- "It will hurt Nashville's public schools." Always interesting to see do-gooders use other people's children as public policy instruments to prop up crappy public schools. Even more amusing when people making this claim 1) have children in private schools, or 2) did the standard Public-Elementary-to-Private High School shuffle with their own children while of course, still claiming they support MPS, or 3) the last time they set foot in a Metro high school was when Jimmy Carter was in the white house. Also ignored is the fact that despite Davidson County's population having grown by approx. 70% since the 1970s, Metro public schools have the exact same enrollment numbers. In other words, Nashville's high schools have lost approx 30% of the higher-achieving students (overwhelmingly white) to private schools and surrounding counties. Then end result is that Nashville's education system more racially segregated than ever.

- "Charter schools won't provide transportation." Nor do Nashville's magnet schools.

- "Charter schools can pick and choose the top students." Legally, no. In practice, still unlikely. The biggest academic gains charter schools have made are with low-income minority students. See Nashville Prep scoring among the highest in the state. One area where charter schools do "cherry pick" is students with behavioral problems -- i.e, disrupting class, fighting faculty, spitting at teachers, tormenting other students, etc. And they should. It's unfair to let one misbehaving child (overwhelmingly the result of crappy, irresponsible parenting) derail the educational outcomes of every other student in the class.
All I listed were my concerns. I don't have a problem with Charter schools per se, but if they are to be implemented, then there better be a pretty well thought out plan, rather than just "let's do it!" Like I said, I'm not opposed to it...I want to know more about it.

I agree with the premise that it is more likely to keep higher achieving students (especially those with educated parents, higher paying jobs, ability to send to private schools or relocate out of county, etc) in the system. That is a good thing.

I'm not surprised that the biggest gains have been made with low-income minority students...likely because their parents do wish them to succeed.

Metro's concern with Great Hearts, though, seemed to be that their plan did not match the system's plan for diversity. What does that mean? I'm not sure, without knowing the specifics. If I had to guess, they didn't want Great Hearts just opening schools in the white areas of town where there would naturally be a greater imbalance of diversity. That's just speculation on my part.

We could go into a whole mess of issues about how parents tend to segregate their kids, and kids tend to segregate themselves in schools. But beyond that, the concern is if you made the impression (even unintentional) that you were catering to a more privileged class in a minority-heavy school district, that lawsuits galore would ensue, and it would possibly draw more negative nationwide attention than it could as just being a subpar school district.

Like it or not, if charter schools are successful, even among the minority population, if the leftover "public" schools get a lot worse as a cause of that (and even more heavily minority dominated), then it will appear as if these other kids were abandoned. It won't be PC, and it won't fly. So as I said before, it needs to be a complement to the system, not a detriment.



I don't think transit is a big issue. City buses already serve the magnet schools as well as a number of other schools. I'm sure MTA would work with them to serve charters as well. That should work for all but the elementary schools...and I'm sure they'll have a solution for that.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:25 PM
 
Location: East Nashville/Inglewood
933 posts, read 2,424,373 times
Reputation: 780
I'll have to wholeheartedly agree. It's easy to theorize as to what people "should" do, but when your a parent and YOU are faced with sending YOUR child to...let's say a middle school that performs in the bottom 5% of the state, it's a whole new ballgame. I will say this though, I've seen some amazing turnarounds with schools like Lockeland Elementary, Dan Mills, and now Rosebank Elementary schools through the dedication and hard work of teachers, administrators, and parents. I wonder if that might be derailed when these kids are ready to enter middle school. With the core becoming quite the destination, there are many young, new families that are choosing to live in Davidson County everday and they do not want to automatically move to the suburbs when thier kids do become older. Five to ten years ago, it was a gimmee for most of them, it's not anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcredux View Post
Always interesting to see the talking points of those opposing charter schools...

- "Taxes will increase." Unspoken is that tax increases will be more than offset by the fact that most middle-income+ parents will no longer be horrified at the idea of sending children to Metro high schools, which they already fund through property taxes. Nashville's lousy public schools have been an boat anchor on luring in high-paying professional jobs to Davidson County. The few high-paying jobs that have moved to the area have gone straight to surrounding counties, where coincidentally the schools have "fewer social problems."

- "It will hurt Nashville's public schools." Always interesting to see do-gooders use other people's children as public policy instruments to prop up crappy public schools. Even more amusing when people making this claim 1) have children in private schools, or 2) did the standard Public-Elementary-to-Private High School shuffle with their own children while of course, still claiming they support MPS, or 3) the last time they set foot in a Metro high school was when Jimmy Carter was in the white house. Also ignored is the fact that despite Davidson County's population having grown by approx. 70% since the 1970s, Metro public schools have the exact same enrollment numbers. In other words, Nashville's high schools have lost approx 30% of the higher-achieving students (overwhelmingly white) to private schools and surrounding counties. Then end result is that Nashville's education system more racially segregated than ever.

- "Charter schools won't provide transportation." Nor do Nashville's magnet schools.

- "Charter schools can pick and choose the top students." Legally, no. In practice, still unlikely. The biggest academic gains charter schools have made are with low-income minority students. See Nashville Prep scoring among the highest in the state. One area where charter schools do "cherry pick" is students with behavioral problems -- i.e, disrupting class, fighting faculty, spitting at teachers, tormenting other students, etc. And they should. It's unfair to let one misbehaving child (overwhelmingly the result of crappy, irresponsible parenting) derail the educational outcomes of every other student in the class.
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