Fri
Jan 17 2014
08:20 am

Columbus Dispatch report from Sunday

"Among the nine new schools that closed abruptly, money troubles were a common theme. Some were forced to close because of health and safety problems — students weren’t getting nutritious lunches, or the buildings were unsanitary. Others chose to close because they were unable to meet payroll or were forced to close by their sponsors. Looking back, some in the charter-school community and at the Ohio Department of Education question whether some of the new schools ever should have opened. How, they wondered, did this happen? Many point to the sponsors. Nonprofit groups, universities, school districts and educational service centers can act as charter-school sponsors or authorizers. They’re supposed to be the gatekeepers; they decide which schools can open and whether they should close if they’re not adequately serving students."

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fischbobber's picture

The answer

The answer is not charter schools. Tea Party and their conservative brethren are going to have to wake up to the fact that the answers to the school systems woes lie in recruiting and retaining the best available talent to teach. It costs money, but in the long run it is far cheaper than the way we are doing things.

Knox Observer's picture

uh no

When you do that, it makes it hard to get any message from what you write. Issues work better than ideology. You say you are a writer. Writers listen. Are you listening? There was no mention of the Tea Party nor conservatives in the Columbus Dispatch story. You are writing to a very narrow audience.

The story was about why the charter schools closed. Not some ideological rant. People want charter schools because they have given up on public education. I can see why. There are a lot of McIntyre's messing up an already messed up public education policy nation wide. I know very intelligent people who say public education cannot be saved. They have passed the point of no return. Charter schools are an act of desperation.

Lastly, your message was "we don't spend enough". Good luck with that. Many people think we spend plenty but the money is wasted. For example, KCS spends $8 million a year on the Central Office. What do they do?

Most people want accountability. And consequences. They want to see that the $565 million a year currently being spent in Knox County is being spent well and not wasted.

McIntyre has increased spending in Knox County over $45 million dollars per year in the five years he has been here. For what? The ACT score at West High School is down 2 points. The preparation rate of Knox County Schools is 74%. Meaning only 26% of high school graduates are ready for college. That is what we get for $565 million a year.

And you want them to spend more?

fischbobber's picture

Advocates and mentors

There is little doubt that American students in general and Knox County students in particular don't have enough advocates and mentors at any level of the school system, but a blunderbuss approach to this situation would be a poor way to break it down and analyze it.

An accountability and consequence (punishment) model has been shown to be ineffective, relative to a positive reinforcement method, at all levels of human training, including education.

Those charter schools closed because of an inadequate monetary plan or lack of money. When one breaks down the Knox County school budget and gets to teacher salaries, one finds that the profession is woefully under-compensated, even when using an apples to apples comparison of other teachers in Tennessee, a state that is last in the nation in education spending.

Just because you don't want to pay for the public services you receive, doesn't mean they don't cost money.

Knox Observer's picture

dear lord help us

"An accountability and consequence (punishment) model has been shown to be ineffective, relative to a positive reinforcement method, at all levels of human training, including education."

I see. So you suggest we treat these students like little puppies? Give them a treat when they pee outside? "Good boy, you're such a good puppy. Here's a treat for you."

What do you think a report card is? Accountability. What do you think failing a grade is? Consequences.

R. Neal's picture

Some were forced to close

Some were forced to close because of health and safety problems — students weren’t getting nutritious lunches, or the buildings were unsanitary. Others chose to close because they were unable to meet payroll or were forced to close by their sponsors.

Maybe this has been discussed before, but I'm not clear on how the per-pupil allowance of public funds that follow a pupil to a charter school is calculated.

Does it include just the operating cost divided by the number of students in a district? Or does it also include some prorated allocation of capital investments for school buildings and other infrastructure?

If it doesn't include the latter, how does a charter school cover that cost?

Same thing for vouchers, except I guess the private schools receiving those funds charge tuition to cover it? Except the voucher plans proposed for Tennessee don't allow charging any more tuition than what the voucher pays for, if I recall correctly.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Two mindblowing practices

From the article:

Nine of the 17 schools that closed in 2013 lasted only a few months this past fall. When they closed, more than 250 students had to find new schools.

Why would the closing of nine schools displace only 250 students--unless the schools were serving just 28 students each, on average?!

And also from the article:

“The way it works right now is, if a school has a sponsor and they sign a contract, that school can open,” said John Charlton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. “We don’t have any approval or denial power.”

Oh. My. God.

Greg H's picture

That's it! I'll sponsor a charter school in Ohio

...pocket the money and head for Brazil! LOL

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