Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charter School Association Says 1 in 5 of Its Charter Schools Should Be Shut Down

Posted by on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM


The National Association of Charter School Authorizers said 900 to 1,300 of the privately run, publicly financed schools should close because they are in the bottom 15 percent of public schools in their states. The Chicago-based group's members — such as the Los Angeles Unified School District and the State University of New York — oversee more than half of the nation's 5,600 charter schools.

[...] The call for closing poor performers carries special weight because it comes from an organization funded by charter-school advocates such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

It was Bill Gates and Alice Walton who were also the two largest financial backers of Initiative 1240, Washington's charter schools initiative. Funny how this report didn't come out until after the election.

I-1240 includes a provision allowing for failing charter schools to be shut down, but doesn't actually require it, and outlines no process for doing so. In reality, experience in other states suggests that charter school conversion is almost entirely a one-way street, regardless of academic performance.

But, you know, Alice Walton smartly inherited her fortune, so we should just trust billionaires like her to tell us how to educate our kids.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
This is prominent pro-charter group so it is worth considering.

The good charter groups WANT the crappy charters to go away because the bad ones give the good ones a bad name.

That said, the number of good charters is so small that you have to say if you few ed dollars, you spend them on what actually works in a big and scaleable way.

For example, a well-known charter is the Harlem Children's Zone in NYC. It does great work with low-income students. Problem is that it is funded by investment bankers to the tune of $23k per student. That is absolutely not going to happen elsewhere and even the head of it agrees.

We are now on this road and I hope someone fires up a lawsuit to get rid of this poorly written initiative before we get too far down it.
Posted by westello on November 29, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
I brought up looking into the law and possibly converting to a charter in my public high school so that we could 'fight with their weapons' so to speak. I got a lot of flack for bringing up the possibility. But, now that I've done more specific research on the law, I heartily say that no public school should go down this road.

There are creepy behind-the-back provisions in the law that could circumvent even a teacher-focused, union-friendly charter. It is some evil shit.

I'm so sad this passed in the first place. Such a scam.
Posted by paulus22 on November 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
900 to 1300? Why the range?
Posted by Joel_are on November 29, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
The point being that failing charter schools can be quickly dispensed with the way the free market would with a commercial product.

Try that will a typical public school.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on November 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
This story - you can go straight to the NASCA web site for the press release that the Seattle Times re-packaged for printing - makes a lie of the two biggest arguments made in favor of charter schools in the I-1240 campaign.

1. Charter schools don't work. 20% of charter schools perform in the bottom 15% of all schools. That's some serious over-representation among the crappy.

2. Charter schools that under-perform don't get closed. They don't get closed by the authorizer that's supposed to provide the accountability and they don't get closed because families just stop choosing them.

There is no reason to believe that the charter school commission in Washington State will ever close a charter school.

As an amusing distraction, I recommend reading the online comments that follow this story in the Seattle Times in which charter school supporters comically spew their belief that as many as half (or more) public schools have student outcomes that put them in the bottom 15% of public schools. Yeah. Spend a moment with that concept.

It is so funny when someone unintentionally reveals to the world that they are an idiot.
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
@5, I guess you didn't read the article. The problem is that these schools are NOT closing. Despite the myth you believe, failing charter schools cannot be quickly dispensed with.

A typical public school, on the other hand, can be closed by the school board at any time. A number of public schools were closed here in Seattle within just the past few years. Where have you been?
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this

Maybe they are just dumping grounds for the kids that even the public schools don't want then.


Read the article? What is
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on November 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Anybody cares to speculate why some red counties voted against 1240?
Posted by anon1256 on November 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 10
@9- Because they're afraid of edumacation? Because a stopped clock is right twice a day? Because someone did some rational campaigning?

I speculated, are you happy now?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on November 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
@8, Maybe they are just dumping grounds for the kids that even the public schools don't want then.

Actually, no. Charter schools have lower enrollment rates of students with IEPs.

It's pretty clear that you're just shooting from the hip here with absolutely no facts to support any of the crap you're spewing. Maybe you are just an asshole.
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
@10, Not really. I asked the question because I thought that King county plus several eastern red counties against the rest of Western Washington was an unusual alliance but couldn't think of a good answer to explain it. I find your suggestions equally unsatisfying.
Posted by anon1256 on November 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
It is possible - though only a slim possibility - that voters in rural areas recognized that there was no way that any charter school would be locating in the boonies and therefore voted their own interests and "no" on I-1240.

It is also possible - though, again, only a slim possibility - that voters in rural areas (where there is typically just one elementary, middle, and high school in each district) realized that a charter conversion by any of their schools would be a total disaster for their district.

It could have been a distrust of slick-talkin' city folks.

It could have been a perception - based in propaganda rather than research - that charter schools are for "at-risk" city kids and therefore of no use to rural Washingtonians.

It's a weird thing about charter schools, but they are, for the most part, a service that affluent people want for poor people but that poor people do not want much for themselves. The rural areas are actually poorer than the urban areas, so this could just be poor folks in small towns giving the same "Thanks but no thanks" response to suburban Whites' offer of charter schools that was given by the urban poor.

Are those better speculations?

Why don't you ask them?
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 14
Seems like Bill Gates supports charter schools because he sincerely believes they can work, rather than it being just some crass business ploy. (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, anyway, due to his philanthropy on AIDS, malaria, TB, etc.)

It's encouraging that they are actually acknowledging that many charter schools suck. But, yeah - would have been nice to hear this before the election.
Posted by Free Lunch on November 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Oh! Maybe they voted against them because they heard that the President supports them.
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
@ 14, If Free Lunch didn't hear this before the election then it is only because you weren't paying attention. People were saying it. It's practically a re-statement of the CREDO study results.
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
The point being that failing charter schools can be quickly dispensed with the way the free market would with a commercial product.

No, no and no. 1240 has no such mandate. The word "may" is featured quite a lot and each authorizer can make their own decision who to close down.

Why would a red county vote against it? They may be rural and rural districts know that if a charter comes it, it would likely shut down their entire district. They just can't stand up against that many students, in a small district, leaving. Also, they have listened to the more new spending with no revenue or that charters don't work or any number of arguments.

The feds themselves say that more than half their charter authorizers have reported the same problem of closing down low-performers.

And by the way, do we really want to open and close schools like Taco Bells? It is very hard to do and hard on a school community.

Free Lunch, where were you? This info was out there for a long time. You could have Googled No on 1240 and found it. That simple.
Posted by westello on November 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy