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Old 01-25-2020, 05:38 PM
 
828 posts, read 550,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wittgenstein's Ghost View Post
I honestly agree with a lot of your points, but calling something antiquated isn't exactly an argument against it. The wheel is antiquated, but no one is crying foul because we are all driving around on "technology" that is thousands of years old. The question of whether a larger central organizing body is better than many smaller bodies is a complex one that I don't think can be settled by saying "this way of doing things is old."





Very good point. I blame much of this thinking on the idea that all men are born with equal abilities and opportunities and that we all just need to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps." This is a very "American" idea in the sense that many people identify this as one of our core beliefs as Americans, but it's wrong. It's closely tied to a libertarian view of free will, which is also wrong. There is no doubt that much of our station in life is beyond our volitional control. IQ, parental upbringing, financial resources, educational opportunities, parental and peer modeling, etc. are all factors that are beyond our control in our developing years. While it might be true in a strictly logical sense that adults can choose to go back to college, work hard at a job or do many other things to improve their income, this idea isn't actually very realistic once all of these other factors are baked in. If you weren't raised to work hard or you weren't raised in an environment that values education or you weren't born with good enough genetics to have a decent IQ, the odds of you ending up a success in any financial sense are quite low.

Who we are today is largely a product of things that are beyond our control, and the person we are today determines the decisions we make for tomorrow. If the average person understood this, our political climate regarding things like school funding would look very differently.


******
Serious question: Doesn't Colorado Springs allow school choice? So couldn't someone who is zoned for Harrison go to a D12 or D20 school?
They do, and many take this route or the charter route.

The issue IMO, is the kids who are most at risk will not have parents able or willing to drive them elsewhere OR figure out the whole choice process. In D2, they will bus kids to the better schools, from within the district.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:56 PM
 
828 posts, read 550,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
Yes, with some caveats.

1. The family is responsible for the transportation when opting to go to a school out of area, especially out of district.

2. If a school is at capacity, they can turn people away who are out of area.

3. There is a "Choice Window" when people must apply to get into an out-of-area school for the following school year. That window is open right now for the 2020-2021 school year until maybe mid February. Once in, the student typically can stay there in subsequent years.

I have a suspicion that some schools get away with not playing the Choice application process fairly. I 100% know this happened at a Charter school I worked at years ago. They found ways to game the system to favor 'desirable' students.
My child's school (AACL) does a Tier III lottery for kid's with gifted education needs, then siblings/employee families, then everyone else.

Since the school has a, "gifted and 2e," education focus, this makes sense - but of course this means gifted kids will be picked first. That's 5% of the population who is eligible however, and then not all will choose that option.

For us, that was nice as I found the k-8 gifted options abysmal at every other district and most other charters. We have families coming from every nearby district and then some, and many had issues with their gifted & 2e kids getting support elsewhere.

I'm still not entirely happy with the school, and often wish we stayed somewhere with actual magnet schools. They're not rigorous enough IMO and my child could benefit from more free time & physical education.

What does make me happy though, is to see kids who are disadvantaged getting the opportunity to attend a school that's an, "8," vs. a, "1," or whatever.

But you're right. The driving, the application process, etc. etc. can leave out a lot of people.

What was the charter school you speak of doing to game the enrollment?

Our neighborhood schools take a lot of choice enrollment students. I called to complain about the class sizes & other issues and was told it was something like 30% choice. It's probably online somewhere. This is in D49. The schools are overcrowded because they make them that way, IMO.
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:19 PM
 
6,168 posts, read 8,430,896 times
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I do want to be a voice of caution re: school choice. As someone who works in schools, I have seen many kids' educations ruined by parents who keep moving them around every year or even several times in a year. And then they wonder why their kid struggles everywhere. They put them in one school, it isn't the magic bullet, and then they pull them out and put them in another and then another and then back to the first, etc.

There is something to be said for stability. The continuity of an educational experience where you stay in the same feeder system K-12 and don't move around is golden in this day and age - it prevents so many gaps, social issues, etc. If you didn't know, starting over in a new school isn't easy. And doing it mid-year is down right very, very hard. And many of the kids are learning very incorrect lessons that as soon as something isn't perfect the solution is to jump ship, quit, or run. Over and over. Many of these students end of with HUGE gaps in their education that compound more and more as they age and then they struggle to even graduate in the end.

I advise parents to choose their neighborhood schools unless they have a very particular and important reason not to. And if you have a reason not to or that just doesn't float your boat, then when you do finally pick a school stick with it until the child naturally ages out if at all possible, and help your child learn to navigate through the various trials he/she may face as a natural part of growing up and going to school. Most of the neighborhood schools provide ample opportunity for a solid education for most students, although yes, there are some I'd think twice about, and yes there are a small proportion of students who just need something very particular that not every school may have.

A lot of the charter schools appear to offer something new and shiny but in reality they are also missing things the more comprehensive schools may offer, and often the shininess loses its luster before too long. I'm not saying they're all bad, but honestly some of them are very good while some are pretty awful - worse than the neighborhood school the children would've been attending by a long shot. And parents who choose schools for particular programs often find their kids don't really care about those programs or change interests in a few years, etc. IB is commonly dropped-out of, for example. So when picking a school, don't just look at a single detail or niche that it offers - be sure to consider the whole package and the whole child and beware the sales pitch.

I am not kidding when I say at least half the parents who leave a neighborhood school for some kind of charter, online school, or other 'alternative' or niche school are back within a year and the child is behind when they come back. I am also not kidding when I say there are a significant minority of parents who will move their kids around between schools back and forth several times in a year -I have seen students' names come up for re-enrollment up to 6 times in a single school year just from school shopping, let alone family chaos that sometimes happens like shuffling kids to different guardians, homelessness and moving around to various friends-of-families couches, etc. Those poor kids don't know what classes or school they're in by that point, let alone being able to actually learn anything in them.

In a nutshell: aim for stability in your child's education. It almost always means a stronger education and a happier experience for the child.
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:25 PM
 
6,168 posts, read 8,430,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abcdefg567 View Post
My child's school (AACL) does a Tier III lottery for kid's with gifted education needs, then siblings/employee families, then everyone else.

Since the school has a, "gifted and 2e," education focus, this makes sense - but of course this means gifted kids will be picked first. That's 5% of the population who is eligible however, and then not all will choose that option.

For us, that was nice as I found the k-8 gifted options abysmal at every other district and most other charters. We have families coming from every nearby district and then some, and many had issues with their gifted & 2e kids getting support elsewhere.

I'm still not entirely happy with the school, and often wish we stayed somewhere with actual magnet schools. They're not rigorous enough IMO and my child could benefit from more free time & physical education.

What does make me happy though, is to see kids who are disadvantaged getting the opportunity to attend a school that's an, "8," vs. a, "1," or whatever.

But you're right. The driving, the application process, etc. etc. can leave out a lot of people.

What was the charter school you speak of doing to game the enrollment?

Our neighborhood schools take a lot of choice enrollment students. I called to complain about the class sizes & other issues and was told it was something like 30% choice. It's probably online somewhere. This is in D49. The schools are overcrowded because they make them that way, IMO.
AACL is a pretty special school. We have some students from there at our high school and they're pretty unique kids and some of them really excel in an area or two.

There are several schools that play the game, but the one I was at that I saw it first hand from the inside was one of the Vanguard/CMCA schools. What they did was institute rules to put any 'problem' kids to the bottom of wait list or get the parents to pull them - for example, a child got one C in 3rd grade, rest As and Bs and they told the parents if they wanted to stay at that school the child had to repeat 3rd grade and not go on to 4th - they gamed test scores that way. They also would punish kids brought tardy by their parents 3 times in a year by putting them on the bottom of the wait list for next year. In the junior high, if a student had more than a few missing assignments, bottom of wait list for next year. They would decline to offer all kinds of services like SPED, ELL, sports, lunch, etc., - to help keep out the 'riff-raff'. Meanwhile, they hired woefully underqualified teachers by using 'special rules' that allowed them to hire people without degrees or certifications, and then would hire their 'buddies', etc. They didn't want students to have full educational experiences - for example - they didn't want labs in science classes because labs didn't appear on standardized tests. ( I would be surprised, though, if the high school at least didn't have lab science today - at least I hope so.) They didn't really want to help students in need or provide a truly well-rounded education, they just wanted to have good test scores. Period. Clearly I was disappointed in what I witnessed, but that doesn't mean no kids can have an ok education there - it may be fine for some families and maybe they've improved on some things - not sure.

Another game I see commonly is what I call the bait-and-switch - they do a big sales pitch and aim for a golden period until after the October Count so they can get their money, and then they start trying to get rid of as many kids as they can to have smaller classes and "easier" students. Lots of kids come back to the 'regular' schools once Count is over.

Last edited by otowi; 01-25-2020 at 06:36 PM..
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:51 PM
 
828 posts, read 550,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
AACL is a pretty special school. We have some students from there at our high school and they're pretty unique kids and some of them really excel in an area or two.

There are several schools that play the game, but the one I was at that I saw it first hand from the inside was one of the Vanguard/CMCA schools. What they did was institute rules to put any 'problem' kids to the bottom of wait list or get the parents to pull them - for example, a child got one C in 3rd grade, rest As and Bs and they told the parents if they wanted to stay at that school the child had to repeat 3rd grade and not go on to 4th - they gamed test scores that way. They also would punish kids brought tardy by their parents 3 times in a year by putting them on the bottom of the wait list for next year. In the junior high, if a student had more than a few missing assignments, bottom of wait list for next year. They would decline to offer all kinds of services like SPED, ELL, sports, lunch, etc., - to help keep out the 'riff-raff'. Meanwhile, they hired woefully underqualified teachers by using 'special rules' that allowed them to hire people without degrees or certifications, and then would hire their 'buddies', etc. They didn't want students to have full educational experiences - for example - they didn't want labs in science classes because labs didn't appear on standardized tests. ( I would be surprised, though, if the high school at least didn't have lab science today - at least I hope so.) They didn't really want to help students in need or provide a truly well-rounded education, they just wanted to have good test scores. Period. Clearly I was disappointed in what I witnessed, but that doesn't mean no kids can have an ok education there - it may be fine for some families and maybe they've improved on some things - not sure.

Another game I see commonly is what I call the bait-and-switch - they do a big sales pitch and aim for a golden period until after the October Count so they can get their money, and then they start trying to get rid of as many kids as they can to have smaller classes and "easier" students. Lots of kids come back to the 'regular' schools once Count is over.
That doesn't surprise me about Vanguard. I've heard some concerning things regarding teacher behavior, and my one interaction with them was unpleasant. I've also heard bizarre cult like worship from parents with older and adult children.

Do you think your AACL students excel in one or two areas due to something the school fostered, or is it just their personality?

I think they do really well with 2E children. The parents I hear the most positive things from are parents with those children who had issues elsewhere. Like you said in the other above post, I went in thinking it would be the Magic Bullet - but I've realized my child might've benefited more from a traditional school experience or classical philosophy. The issue for us, is that he's grade accelerated in math & LA, and at AACL he gets to stay with his peers and this is just, "normal," because many kids go up or down whether they're gifted or not.

Where the issue comes in, is they spend 1.5 hours on math and then 1.5 hours on LA. Then, science & history are combined into one, 1.5 hour block, and they don't do both each day. It's debatable that their doing much science at all. I do like their math curriculum and can see where it really starts algebraic thinking so that it's not a shock later. Other than that, I'm not really sure what my child is getting out of it. He seems unhappy and stressed. They only do gym once every 4 days & then there's two recesses. I had 3 recesses until 4th grade and a shorter school day and can still remember feeling anxious to get up and move around. I don't feel like we have a lot of options though, and don't wish to homeschool at this point.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:13 PM
 
4,539 posts, read 2,605,692 times
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Originally Posted by otowi View Post
I advise parents to choose their neighborhood schools unless they have a very particular and important reason not to.
Does "this school sucks terribly" count as a "very particular and important reason?"

I agree completely regarding stability, but that is a separate issue from school choice. There are tons of bad schools, and the fact that I could hypothetically end up living near one doesn't mean I should send my kids to one.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:26 PM
 
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I will say, I have been impressed by the school culture and economic diversity at our charter school. I don't think the kids would get the same experience in our neighborhood.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 01-26-2020 at 06:37 PM..
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:40 PM
 
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As to your question, yes, I think AACL must do something right for 2E kids. I think they probably have a culture and setup that helps foster the acceleration in ways that more traditional schools may struggle to offer to quite the same extent.

I would miss the gym too - I've come to think it would be best if schools offered gym and recess every single day K-12.
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:07 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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School District 11 makes sweeping decision to address student performance at Mitchell High School

https://www.csindy.com/news/school-d...2ba300d2d.html

"Mitchell’s students did not meet Colorado Measures of Academic Success or Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test state achievement standards, the standardized tests used to measure student achievement, and scored in the lowest 5 percent of Colorado schools, according to Mitchell’s 2019 school performance framework, which evaluates factors such as academic achievement, academic growth and postsecondary and workforce readiness. The challenges facing Mitchell’s students and teachers — poverty, language and cultural barriers and the impact of COVID-19 — are not unique to Mitchell’s southeast Colorado Springs neighborhoods, though the decision to release the entire staff and make a “clean slate” may be.

Mitchell’s student population is 68 percent minority students, 75 percent receive free or reduced-cost lunch, 19 percent are English language learners and 14 percent are students with disabilities, all of which are percentages that exceed state and district averages, according to data from CDE."
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Old 03-10-2021, 04:54 PM
 
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There is no line of people waiting to replace those jobs at Mitchell High School. In reality the vast majority will still be there unless they take this as an opportunity to leave the problem behind them.
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