Clint Bolick is litigation director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation
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I wonder what would happen if my friends tried to enroll their special needs child into one of those BASIS schools? My guess is they would stay on the "waiting list" a long, long time. Many charters excel, that is a fact, and that's a good thing. But, they aren't playing with the same cards that public schools are handed, where they have to accommodate everyone. As charters grow in popularity, they will start to run into legal issues if folks notice a trend of discrimination against certain types of students (like ESL students or special needs).
THANK GAWD THAT I AM AN OLD GEEZER WHO WENT TO PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL WHEN STUDENTS WENT TO LEARN A SUBJECT, NOT TO LEARN HOW TO TWEET, TWITTER, DANCE, DRESS, OR SMOKE POT, SPICE AND BATH SALTS.
TEACHERS LOOKED LIKE THE "AUTHORITY FIGURES" THAT THEY WERE. TEACHING WASN'T A "POPULARITY CONTEST" BACK THEN LIKE IT IS NOW. TEACHERS > TAUGHT....NOT "MENTORED". HOMEWORK FROM ALMOST EVERY CLASS DURING THE WEEK AND ON WEEK-ENDS TOO. STUDENTS WERE EXPECTED TO KNOW ENGLISH. NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS WERE PUT IN CLASSES BY THEMSELVES FOR ONE SEMSTER UNTIL THEY COULD UNDERSTAND ENGLISH. THEY WERE HELD BACK THIS SPRING OR FALL SEMSTER. THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS "SOCIAL MATRICULATION". YOU EITHER PASSED YOUR REQUIRED SUBJECTS AND MOVED TO THE NEXT SEMESTER OR YOU DIDN'T AND WERE HELD BACK.
THIS IS HOW THE CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE SET UP....JUST LIKE THE "OLD-FASHIONED" SCHOOLS OF PRE-1965....WHEN THE HIPPIES, LEFTISTS, SOCIALIST, RACIAL AND ETHNIC ACTIVISTS TOOK OVER THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.
If ever there was an indictment against charter schools it should be that they are, "Run by private entities, subject to fewer regulations, and union-free,"Not to mention that they are cash cows for the owners.If all the Mormons would put as much effort into making public schools better, we would not need to divert millions of dollars into the profit making enterprises.Charter schools are elitist and in no way related to public education, as in educating anybody who walks through the door.Also not sure how the "litigation director " of the Goldwater Institute is qualified to expound on education in Arizona, being the apparent leader of the, " ninja-lawyer squad."Oh, never mind, I really know. We're back to $ vs people.
Charters do not take your everyday student who walks through the doors of any public [not charter] school.
ELL students? No.IEP students? No.
I don't think so, I KNOW so.
The undoing of our state's public education system began with the introduction of charter schools. I agree, if all parents put everything into their children's education, and worked with the teachers instead of against them, children would get a great education in our state.
Mine did. Not at a charter or a private school. In public schools, with great teachers and a caring parent who was "all in".
Common Core standards coming in 2013? They're already implemented.
The "ooh-aah" of education isn't in the common core standards, either, by the way, it's in interested students who have parents who care. They will become educated no matter what you serve up to allegedly save the schools. Those students and their parents have always been the magic bullet to student success..
JMJ makes a great case here. Wierd how all we ever hear is how more money is needed so that we can just do this or that. Hmmm, maybe the so called lining of pockets isn't just in the the charter schools as we hear above. Where are the additional $1600 per student going in the public schools? Administrators? How does this reconcile with the yearly requests for bond issues and tax increases so they can educate the children?
A few things:
1. There are some outstanding charter schools in our state, including the BASIS schools Bolick references;
2. Bolick notes of the BASIS schools, "Newsweek recently ranked BASIS-Scottsdale and Tucson as two of the top five public high schools in the U.S.—and the only two of the top five without selective admissions."
No, they don't have an admissions test, but they do have assessment tests, interesting given that BASIS has only one type of class at each level, so why do the "assessment" unless it's given to discourage some kids from enrolling
3. What Bolick doesn't mention about BASIS and other top charter schools is their class sizes and student populations. They have low student/teacher ratios, they have no kids on free or reduced lunch, and their populations are largely white.
4. The only substantial study of charter schools vs. traditional schools was done by Stanford a few years ago -- and it found that with few exceptions traditional public schools performed better than their charter counterparts
5. Bolick is correct that competition has helped bring changes in the schools, but that is not the only factor. New requirements have also contributed to those changes.
Charter schools happen when parents are dissatisfied with the regular public schools in and around their neighborhood. Some have posted that the parents should try harder to implement change in their local school. Charter schools started 20 years ago. That is plenty of time for the regular public schools to make changes so that parents did not seek out another option for their child.
My son enjoys college much more than high school because his college classes are filled with people who are serious about education, and are there to learn. The same can be said for charter schools. All the children in these schools have parents who place a priority on education. Their children do not have to be distracted by students who are disruptive or 3 years behind.
Katydid, I"m glad your son had such a good education in the charter schools he attended, but you make quite the generalization -- "All the children in these schools have parents who place a priority on education."
Unfortunately, that's not the case in most of the charter high schools in our state. Unlike the Great Hearts or BASIS high schools, most of our charter high schools are credit recovery-type schools, where kids try to pick up as many quick high school credits as they can to catch up. Many of these schools are sit-at-a-computer- and-get-your-credit kind of warehouses.
You'll find, katydid, that those schools exist only for kids desperate to get some credits quickly. And they do. Check those schools' test scores and graduation rates -- they're abysmal.
The lack of transparency and accountability in Gilbert Public Schools has created an untenable environment ... it appears that administrators flouted federal and state laws while they built an empire for their own enjoyment and benefit. Teachers have experienced discrimination, harassment and retaliation while administrators engaged in trysts on school grounds, played fast and loose with employment laws, and harassed special education students, to name a few transgressions that are coming to light through the legal system and federal agencies.
1. Notice of Claim filed for Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation and More ... Brian Yee, Perpetrator http://westernconnections.com/liznoticeofclaim.html
The Rest of the Brian Yee Story: http://westernconnections.com/brianyee.html
2. Teacher Lawsuit for Civil Rights Violations, Race Discrimination, Discrimination Based on National Origin: http://westernconnections.com/gladislawsuit.html
3. National Board Certified Teacher Lawsuit for Retaliation: http://westernconnections.com/sarahlawsuit.html
4. GPS and East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) harass Special Education students, discriminate against them, and retaliate against their teacher advocate: http://westernconnections.com/glennastory.html
What you are missing here is something that has been bothering me for quite a while. Public education is essentially indoctrination and not education. Why a pledge of allegiance, written by a Socialist, with the avowed aim of making the United States a Socialist country through the schoolhouse? But let's take an example we can deal with, due to the make-up of the discussion here. It's bothered me for a while now and this seems a good forum for it. Now, after it first came up, I have discussed it with a lot of people with advanced degrees, and the general feeling, without a dissent, is that the only reason to teach THE GREAT GATSBY to high school students is political.
You can say, of course that Fitzgerald was a master writer, and he was, but what do you achieve by teaching his style? It's an art form, and counterfeiting Fitzgerald is only like teaching a painter to counterfeit Van Gogh's brushstrokes. If you are going to teach literature as an art, then you need to present it that way, and not present it as an avenue to thinking, but rather one to feeling. Van Gogh was a madman, Fitzgerald a drunk, what they did was valuable because it is an individual cry ( actually a 'Howl' read Ginsberg) with no rational content, and yet, with Gatsby, a neat little political philosophy favoring Liberalism. Look at it, the 'rich' are decadent, the Nouveau Riche crooks. Hardly an avenue to teach 'critical thinking.'
If you are handed a diet of Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Conrad, and told they had truth in them, that you divine through 'critical thinking' that is not an education, that is indoctrination. These are great artists, they created totally gratuitous things, brand new things, but to formulate that into a rational picture is like trying to live a Jackson Pollack painting. It becomes twisted to an agenda, and in the end is the antithesis of education.
What you have to ask yourself is what you want, educated people, or indoctrinated people. That is the argument here. Public education produces the latter, some private schools produce the former.
The day charter schools are required to account for my tax dollars and are required to meet minimal educational teaching standards will be the day when I begrudgingly agree to the diversion of public tax money for quasi church schools.
We originally moved to Gilbert because of the schools, yet became dissatisfied with the curriculum. Too much time was spent on garbage lessons, diversity, multiculturalism and other propaganda teaching while teachers had frequent "in house training" days. We turned to homeschooling and found an excellent program offered through Mesa Public Schools which allowed homeschooled students to take classes at a satellite location to complement their home studies.Our kids took classes in poetry, music, art, dance, computers, geography, advanced reading and many others. At home they were grounded in the basics.
Then they returned to school outside of the home, choosing charter schools.Both my children attended charter schools with great results. Our son graduated with grades good enough to qualify for a full scholarship to ASU and our daughter, who had an IEP by the way, graduated near the top of her class as well. One is pursuing an IT degree with plans to obtain a Masters and teach at the college level while the other plans to teach Special Education.
Just like public schools, there are good charter schools and poor ones. Parents need to take the time to investigate to find the best option for their children, but at least we do have options in Arizona.
Charter schools that do not take every child are not public, therefore should not receive public funding: period!
Charter schools both give and take. In choosing selective enrollment, they take more than they give, leaving many children behind. Parents need to pay for this. Enrollment ought not be fully subsidized. And I am familiar with charter schools from first hand experience.
azpatriotmom: so you are are pro choice?
Answers for Mike,
1. Did you know that BASIS and Great Hearts are so sucessful that they are being recruited by parents out of state to come to there area. See TN and TX.
2. "No, they don't have an admissions test, but they do have assessment tests, interesting given that BASIS has only one type of class at each level, so why do the "assessment" unless it's given to discourage some kids from enrolling"
That is not accurate, BASIS offers advanced classes to those who are ready. For example, many 5th graders start in Algebra 1, others start in pre-algebra, and still others take a 2 year pre-algebra track. In addition, the assessment also allows them to place the teachers to meet the needs of the incoming class and it allows them to identify students who may be behind and need extra teacher attention.
3. "What Bolick doesn't mention about BASIS and other top charter schools is their class sizes and student populations. They have low student/teacher ratios, they have no kids on free or reduced lunch, and their populations are largely white."
Charter schools do not offer lunch, so they typically do not track free lunch stats. That said, BASIS Tucson has a 30% hispanic\black population and Great Hearts Telos is 86% hispanic\black.
4. "The only substantial study of charter schools vs. traditional schools was done by Stanford a few years ago -- and it found that with few exceptions traditional public"
This study examined children from 2005 and 2007 and was released in 2009. Significant changes to the charter landscape in AZ have taken place since then.
In addition you mischaracterize the study by saying "with few exceptions". The study found that 17% of charters did better, and 83% did better or no worse.
If Arizona we find that charter students in grades 3-8 have outperformed their district counterparts according to the results from 2011 AIMS test scores. Charter students outperformed district students in percent passing and in average scale scores at every 3-8 grade level and in every category except 8th grade math.
1. Yes, BASIS and Great Hearts are fantastic schools -- no one would argue that. But they serve a small population demographically, and they keep class sizes small. Which is interesting, considering that folks like Bolick and the Goldwater Institute argue that small classes are not important.
2. The assessment tests are not just in math, are they? And are folks "discouraged" from having their kids attend the school as a result of assessment scores? And does BASIS provide classes for kids whose assessment scores are low but want to attend the school?
3. According to the State of Arizona's breakdown (you can access it here-- http://www.azcentral.com/news/education/school-scores.php#), BASIS Tucson has 651 kids, of which 26 are African/American and 134 are Hispanic. It also has 55 teachers for the 651 kids, making the student/teacher ratio about 12:1. Let me know where you can find traditional public schools with that student/teacher ratio
As to Great Hearts TELOS as you point out, the student population is 86% Hispanic/black. What you don't say, however, is that the school earned a C from the state, and has low AIMS scores in math and writing, with no more than 58% passing math at any level and no more than 65% passing writing. Now, given the socio-economic makeup of that school, those scores might be great. But I guess we're not taking that into account anymore. That charter school, by the way, offers free and reduced lunch.
4. As to the CREDO study and your -- whoever you are -- followup using AIMS scores:
The CREDO study concluded Arizona charter schools "has a negative and significant effect of Black and Hispanic students math growth," as well as "a negative and significant effect on students in poverty math growth"
It also notes that for Arizona, charters have had a "mildly negative" effect on NAEP scores. And the study concluded that Arizona's charter schools "demonstrated lower than average charter school growth than their peers in traditional schools"
And after reading the study again, I cant' find the 17% and 83% figures you say the study has -- here's the study URL -- http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/MULTIPLE_CHOICE_CREDO.pdf
A separate, breakout report on Arizona concludes that its charter schools "performed significantly worse" overall than the traditional schools' counterparts.
And your 83% -- I found it. First, those numbers are national, not Arizona. Second and equally important, you misstate the 83% number. You write that 83% did better or no worse." The study says that "83% did no better or worse." That's a big difference.
As to your own "study," I notice your study stops abruptly with junior high. Why so? high school statistics are available as well -- why not do your comparison there as well. And in your study, did you use the same methodology as the CREDO study used? That is, what was your methodology? And why just 2011 and not a fuller picture to compare?
Sorry Mike, you are very misinformed about Basis schools, as are the others who claim selective enrollment and other BS talking points.
My kids attend a BASIS school, are white, and are a minority.
The assessment tests are given AFTER you are admitted to the school. Struggling kids are offered time during the school day to meet with teachers, as well as before and after school with teachers and peers(volunteer tutors) If your kid can't succeed with this help(and of course help from his education loving parent(s)), I am sorry. If he is special needs, I am sorry. There are already special programs for special needs, my nephew is in one.
One of my kids has a class this year held in the cafeteria with 50 students because of a shortage of space. Am I crying about it? Did I vote for 204? No.
Wow I just looked up teacher-student ratios nationwide. AZ is indeed last.(looking at a 2009 study)
But guess who is first at 10.1-1 ratio?(we are 21.4)
The District of Columbia. Yes, that paragon of education excellence. Most money per student, lowest teacher to student ratio. Strong unions. Based on 4th and 8th grade standardized test scores, DEAD LAST.
Obviously this is the solution to our failing schools....BE MORE LIKE THE DC SCHOOLS.
Just curious, Chuckles, what class did your kid have with 50 students in the cafeteria?
And if your kiddo attends BASIS Chandler, you're fooling us a bit with the whites are a minority -- in fact, the school itself reports that it has less than 1% of its student body who are Black and only 4% Hispanic. The vast majority are Asian -- 75%.
You aren't really gonna tell us that somehow a school with 75% Asian and 20% white with less than 5% of any other background is somehow diverse, are you?
And are you saying BASIS has special ed programs, as you suggest with your nephew? I looked at their staffs and didn't see anyone teaching a special ed class.
EXCUSE ME....EXCUSE ME....BUT WHEN DID OUR SCHOOLS BECOME "INDIVIDUAL DIRECTED" INSTEAD OF "CLASSROOM DIRECTED".
WHEN DID OUR SCHOOLS STOP FOCUSING ON THE "MAJORITY" OF THE STUDENTS IN A CLASSROOM TO FOCUS ON THE "MINORITY" OF THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM.
BACK IN THE 1940'S AND 1950'S WHEN AN AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION WAS THE........"FINEST"....IN THE WORLD. SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WERE FOCUSED ON EDUCATING THE MAJORITY OF THEIR STUDENT BODY. STUDENTS WHO LACKED ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS WERE NOT "MAINSTREAMED". THEY WERE TAUGHT IN THEIR OWN CLASSROOMS BY TEACHERS WHO SPECIALIZED IT THAT SKILL.STUDENTS WHO HAD "CHALLENGES" WERE NOT "MAINSTREMED" IF THOSE "CHALLENGES" DISRUPTED THE TEACHING OF THE MAJORITY OF THE STUDENTS IN A CLASSROOM.IT WASN'T UNTIL THE A.C.L.U. AND THE "SUE-ANYBODY-AND-EVERYBODY-FOR-ANYTHING", CALIFORNIA LAWYERS STARTED WINNING HUGE, UNWARRANTED SETTLEMENTS AND JURY VERDICTS THAT FORCED SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PLACE THESE "PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND MENTALLY CHALLENGED" STUDENTS INTO CLASSROOMS TO THE DETRIMENT OF SUBJECT LEARNING OF THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE STUDENTS. HOW IN THE WORLD CAN YOU PUT A STUDENT IN A CLASSROOM OF 15-16-17 YEAR OLD STUDENTS WHO HAS UNCONTROLLED ARM MOVEMENTS OR CURSES, SPITS AND SCREAMS THE WHOLE CLASS PERIOD.A FRIEND OF MINE PULLED HIS SON OUT OF WHAT WAS ONCE ONE OF THE 10 BEST HIGH SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA BECAUSE THE BOY (A 17YO HONOR STUDENT AND H.S. FOOTBALL PLAYER) WAS THROWING UP IN THE CAR GOING TO SCHOOL BECAUSE HE HAD THIS UNFORTUNATE SITUATION IN ONE OF HIS "REQUIRED" CLASSES.
SADLY, IT'S NOT ONLY IN THE CLASSROOM THAT THIS "MINORITY RIGHTS" SITUATION TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER MAJORITY RIGHTS. JUST LOOK AT ILLEGAL ALIENS IN AMERICA AND THE DEMOCRAT, SOCIALIST, MARXISTS, COMMUNIST, ANARCHIST ACTIVISTS WHO RANT AND WHINE (IN THIS VERY NEWSPAPER AS WE SPEAK.....[sad]. THESE CRIMINALS ARE NOT CITIZENS OF AMERICA....WHY DO "THEIR RIGHTS"....SUPERCEDE NATIVE-BORN OR NATURALIZED AMERICAN CITIZENS.
OUR SCHOOLS HAVE NOW BECOME A REFLECTION OF THIS TOPSY-TURVY SOCIALIST AGENDA FROM THE LEFT.
FOLKS, PULL YOUR KIDS OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS ...NOT TOMORROW, NOT TODAY BUY YESTERDAY.....GIVE THEM A NORMAL EDUCATION THAT WILL BE THE "BUILDING BLOCK" FOR THEIR LIFE TO COME.TAKE THEM AWAY FROM THE ...."RAP, DRUG, AND PROMISCUIS, UN-PROTECTED CULTURE"...THAT, UNFORTUNATELY, IS THE NORM THESE DAYS IN ALL OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS....PUT THEM IN A PAROCHIAL OR CHARTER SCHOOL...............WE HAVE ENOUGH ....LINDSAY LOHAN'S RUNNING AROUND....YOU DON'T NEED YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER TO BECOME THE NEXT ONE.
Mike asked..." Let me know where you can find traditional public schools with that student/teacher ratio"
Excluding some very small districts you will find...
Duncan Unified School District 13.4Ft. Thomas Unified School District 10.7Gila Bend Unified School District 12.7Indian Oasis-Baboquivari Unified School District 12.7Ray Unified School District 13.3Sacaton Elementary School District 11.9San Carlos Unified School District 11.7Sanders Unified School District 12.6...
Heck even Scottsdale Unified is 16.6, not that far off.
Mike wrote..."You aren't really gonna tell us that somehow a school with 75% Asian and 20% white with less than 5% of any other background is somehow diverse, are you?"
So diversity is only non-Asians? Having classes with those from the Far East, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos does not expose the white kids to cultural diversity and does not foster an appreciation for those of other cultures?
Is it really diversity or are you talking about poverty?
Here's a challenge to the Goldwater Institute: come up with a plan to convert every school in Arizona into a Basis or Great Hearts-style school. Keep their student-teacher ratio, class sizes, and number of classes taught. Do not neglect Special Ed students; you'll have to find an accommodation for them. Do not neglect ELL students either; like it or not, they exist. Then figure out a funding strategy for this, one that will be palatable to the Goldwater Institute and to parents and taxpayers. Do you accept this challenge or will you merely criticize on the sidelines while offering nothing of value?
Well, ccmomof3, see the one common thread of all the districts you cite as having small student/teacher ratios?
Tiny and rural. Oh, and with the exception of Ray and Gila Bend, all Native American reservation-based schools. Guess who gets more federal funding because of that?
And as to Scottsdale's . . . 17 students, which no high school math, science or English class has, at five classes = 85 kids, vs. the 60 the average BASIS teacher sees.
You think 25 kids don't make much difference? Comparatively speaking, that's like the average Scottsdale teacher having two additional classes compared to the average BASIS teacher, if we go by published student/teacher ratios.
As to the diversity issue, yes, chuckles, what is the socio-economic level of the BASIS kids?
And secondly, you didn't tell us what the class your kiddo has with 50 others in the cafeteria -- what's the class?
geekette's point is well-taken, though I'd issue the challenge to Craig Barrett, the head cheerleader for schools like BASIS.
So you keep moving the goal posts. There are district schools with similar student teacher ratios per the AZ Auditor general.
You wrote..."As to the diversity issue, yes, chuckles, what is the socio-economic level of the BASIS kids?"
Which school, the one in Scottsdale or the BASIS in the heart of Washington DC? Which Great Hearts, the one in Scottsdale or the one in Central Phoenix?
And you failed to answer my questions on diversity. Is diversity only non-Asians? And are you saying that having classes with those from the Far East, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos does not expose the white kids to cultural diversity and does not foster an appreciation for those of other cultures?
You complain about the POST enrollment assessment that BASIS give. What about the PRE-enrollment assesment and interview that Chandler Unified gives prior to acceptance into its magnet schools. Do you rail against this active weeding out of students? (BTW, CUSD's Hamilton Prep is 85% Asian\White with 0 blacks and 0 native americans)
For the CUSD web site...
"Arizona College Preparatory (formerly Hamilton Prep) is open to all interested students and their families. Students interested in enrolling need to complete the enrollment application (application is available for download below), take a math and reading placement examination, be interviewed by a member of Arizona College Preparatory's entrance committee, and sign a contract agreeing to abide by the principles and guidelines of Arizona College Preparatory as determined by the Advisory Board. If there are more qualified applicants than space available, students will be placed on a waiting list and contacted when openings become available."
Three things, ccmomof3:
1. I agree with you about the so-called Hamilton Academy. I don't like a lot of what goes on at that school, academically and athletically. I will look into what you've written above and proceed from there.
2. Not moving the goal posts at all: You took outliers and made it sound as if these student-teacher ratios are not somehow the rare exceptions. And you negate the extra funding almost all of those schools get -- funding to add teachers -- the feds give them because of the Native American enrollment. A few rural districts with huge amounts of federal funding do not come close to equating to BASIS student-teacher ratio. So "let's move the goalposts" again -- any schools in any BASIS neighborhood with student-teacher ratios as low as BASIS has?
3. To the diversity, I wonder just how much socio-economic diversity exists at the school Chuckles' kids attend. The question's about Chuckles' kids' schools, not the Great Hearts in the heart of Phoenix or the BASIS in D.C.
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