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Schools as Great as our City!

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Schools as Great as our City!

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  • #549006

    kelly_S
    Member

    James Ragland said:

    Do you think that the thousands of parents in CCS whose children are waitlisted for “Alternative Schools” on a yearly basis feel their children are treated equally? Why, if you would support a system that operates by denying families their choice in the highest performing schools in the system, can you not see the logic in allowing parents to decide to go to any alternative that they feel best suits them?
    I think the question is rhetorical, but that is exactly why I asked it. Good schools are good schools. Private, public, Charter, Faith based. To me and to my neighbors it does not matter. Of course we would prefer a high performing charter in our neighborhood over a public school that is failing? Who wouldn’t want a school that increases your property value and appeals to more responsible families coming into your community? Who cares what the name of the school is and who is running it?
    Bad charters will soon go away. …

    What you do not acknowledge is that neither alternative CCS schools nor charters schools are “neighborhood schools.”

    An example — I live in Clintonville. Our neighborhood contains Indianola Alternative and the Graham School. I cannot enroll me kids in either. I can try to lottery into Indianola, but my kids have no right to attend that school. I can try to enroll my kid at Graham, but if it’s classroom is full, we are put on a wait list.

    But if I show up at our assigned public neighborhood school, Clinton Elementary, weeks after school starts (let’s say because I tried some other Charter and didn’t like it, or I just moved to the district) Clinton HAS to enroll my child. (Clinton’s second grade classrooms had enrollments of 32 a week before classes were scheduled to start; by the first day each classroom had 34 and 35).

    And that is as it should be because that is what it means to be a NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL. And for that reason that school can never be permitted to fail. It must be adequately supported. It is not just a school, it is a member of this community.

    This is why I reject the notion that charters are a good thing because they add choice, and thus competition. Do we really want our neighborhood schools — the only ones that HAVE to enroll the neighborhood children — to duke it out for resources as if they were competing gas stations on different street corners? The very notion is noxious.

    #549007

    howatzer
    Participant

    ^ Gee, sorry you’re forced to go to the top elementary school in Columbus, and one of the best in Ohio. We wish we had that problem.

    #549008

    kelly_S
    Member

    howatzer said:
    ^ Gee, sorry you’re forced to go to the top elementary school in Columbus, and one of the best in Ohio. We wish we had that problem.

    Ha! I’ll take your snark. And note that I was attempting to illustrate a “macro” argument using a “micro” illustration. I think you missed the point. ;-)

    That said. Take any other neighborhood public CCS school, perhaps one that is struggling. And ask how diverting resources to either another lottery school or to a charter improves that public neighborhood school.

    I am so over hearing people champion “school choice” by trumpeting schools that not one child has a “right” to attend. If they can turn you away, it’s not a choice.

    #549009

    shirtandpants
    Participant

    kelly_S said:
    I am so over hearing people champion “school choice” by trumpeting schools that not one child has a “right” to attend. If they can turn you away, it’s not a choice.

    Would it be more fair for Clintonville kids (some of the most affluent in CCS already) to get priority at Indianola, one of the best schools in CCS? What would that do for educational equality?

    As public schools, all Ohio students have a right to attend any charter school on a first-come-first-served basis. Not accepting more students than the school can reasonably handle (ahem, 35 in an elementary class? who benefits in that scenario?) is just common sense. If there are a few CCS schools that are in such high demand that they need a lottery, then maybe CCS should learn from those examples and improve their neighborhood schools based on those same models.

    After all, if parents are willing to pull their children out of failing CCS schools and put them into failing charters (and let’s be clear that there ARE successful charters too), then CCS should probably be trying to fix those problems that are sending people away in droves instead of just fixing their data.

    #549011

    howatzer
    Participant

    kelly_S said:
    Ha! I’ll take your snark. And note that I was attempting to illustrate a “macro” argument using a “micro” illustration. I think you missed the point. ;-)

    That said. Take any other neighborhood public CCS school, perhaps one that is struggling. And ask how diverting resources to either another lottery school or to a charter improves that public neighborhood school.

    I am so over hearing people champion “school choice” by trumpeting schools that not one child has a “right” to attend. If they can turn you away, it’s not a choice.

    If there was any mechanism to actually improve my neighborhood school with those resources, I’d agree with you. But since CCS is more about protecting the administrative status quo than fixing schools, I need a choice to go somewhere else (or else I will move my family somewhere else, which I may do regardless).

    Personally, I’d like to see district boundaries go away altogether. Make them all county or state funded, with funding based on enrollment, and let anyone go where ever they want.

    #549012

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    howatzer said:
    Personally, I’d like to see district boundaries go away altogether. Make them all county or state funded, with funding based on enrollment, and let anyone go where ever they want.

    I think you hit on a potentially great idea. If you FORCE people to choose a school, they might actually stop and say “hmmm I should figure this out first”. Give them a list with the school ratings and nobody would willingly send their kid to a failing school.

    #549013

    dirtgirl
    Participant

    @howatzer, if this levy goes down, I doubt there will be much confusion about the reason. I have already been phone-polled at home twice as the levy campaign attempts to test the messages they will use to try to sell this thing. They have to know where their weak spots are.

    One other note to those focused on per pupil expenditures by CCS. Keep in mind that the district is required by state law to transport charter and voucher students by bus at its expense. That represents over a third of the kids transported by the district every day. It’s not the entirety of the spending issues, but a big costly mandate that other suburban districts don’t face at nearly the same level.

    #549014

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    dirtgirl said:
    One other note to those focused on per pupil expenditures by CCS. Keep in mind that the district is required by state law to transport charter and voucher students by bus at its expense. That represents over a third of the kids transported by the district every day. It’s not the entirety of the spending issues, but a big costly mandate that other suburban districts don’t face at nearly the same level.

    That’s an excellent point, but trying to get financial breakdowns from CCS is about as productive as talking to a brick wall. On their website, it says “Click Here” for financial information, but it’s not a link, just text. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

    #549015

    James Ragland
    Participant

    kelly_S said:
    What you do not acknowledge is that neither alternative CCS schools nor charters schools are “neighborhood schools.”

    An example — I live in Clintonville. Our neighborhood contains Indianola Alternative and the Graham School. I cannot enroll me kids in either. I can try to lottery into Indianola, but my kids have no right to attend that school. I can try to enroll my kid at Graham, but if it’s classroom is full, we are put on a wait list.

    But if I show up at our assigned public neighborhood school, Clinton Elementary, weeks after school starts (let’s say because I tried some other Charter and didn’t like it, or I just moved to the district) Clinton HAS to enroll my child. (Clinton’s second grade classrooms had enrollments of 32 a week before classes were scheduled to start; by the first day each classroom had 34 and 35).

    And that is as it should be because that is what it means to be a NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL. And for that reason that school can never be permitted to fail. It must be adequately supported. It is not just a school, it is a member of this community.

    This is why I reject the notion that charters are a good thing because they add choice, and thus competition. Do we really want our neighborhood schools — the only ones that HAVE to enroll the neighborhood children — to duke it out for resources as if they were competing gas stations on different street corners? The very notion is noxious.

    I am saying the standards and consequences for failure should be the same across the board. You speak from a position of safety. It does not invalidate your point, but it guides my theory all the more. You do not LIVE in a community with a failing school currently, so the impact of that failing school does not effect you personally.

    What if you lived in Weinland Park? What if you lived in Rosewind (Windsor Terrace). What if you lived in the area that feeds Trevitt? Wouldn’t you want the standards for those schools to be just as high as the standards for any charter? Why would you want to continue to feed those failing schools, but not support a different offering that was not traditional?

    I do acknowledge that charters and alternative schools are not neighborhood schools. That is exactly my point. Parents in Columbus can send their kids wherever they want, including Clinton (which is probably the best elementary school in CCS). If Graham under performs, it will go away due to not having students go to the school. That’s a fact. That drives excellence, in my opinion, but the state is working on ensuring that with their standards. If Graham has to close for not meeting the standard, why should Windsor be allowed to fail kids for 30 years? Just because it HAS to remain in the neighborhood? I’m interested in results.

    #549017
    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans
    Keymaster

    Op-Ed piece on Charter Schools via Toledo Blade. Old, but thought it should be in here:

    Ohio’s charter schools: Costlier and worse
    By: Janetta King

    When charter schools burst onto Ohio’s education scene about 15 years ago, proponents claimed they could educate at-risk children better and more cheaply than traditional public schools. Today, the reality is quite different — and alarming.

    Charter schools cost the state more than twice as much per student as traditional schools do. And with a handful of exceptions, their academic performance is worse.

    [url=http://www.toledoblade.com/Opinion/2013/03/10/Ohio-s-charter-schools-Costlier-and-worse.html]Read More…[/url]

    #549018

    ohbonobogirl
    Participant

    (normally a lurker, but felt compelled to comment on this topic)

    A large part of the problem with the charter versus public schools debate is the assumption that parents as a whole are informed consumers of the educational system. It seems that there is an underlying thought that every parent is going to make the best school decision for their child based on a thorough review of all of their options and the information available. That simply isn’t the case.

    Many, many of the parents with whom I work have heard the rhetoric that CCS is failing (and yes, as a district, it’s pretty bad) and the schools are horrible and therefore want their kids to go somewhere else. What gets missed is that many of the charter schools are just as bad, if not worse. So, you hypothetically have a family living on the south side of Columbus who has heard that their neighborhood school is failing. There’s this thing called the lottery, but you have to enter that in the spring before school starts and that’s a lot of planning and it’s through CCS, which is failing anyway. Lo and behold, a charter school opened up in the basement of a nearby church this year. It must be better! It’s in a church! The kids wear uniforms! It’s close to home! Bingo, kids are going to the charter school. When it closes down in a year or two, what happens? The process repeats and kids go either to a CCS building in the neighborhood, which is probably a failing school or a new charter school that’s popped up, which is also a failing school and will likely shut down in a couple of years, too.

    Are there other options than the above scenario? Absolutely. There are some great charters, assuming you can get yourself and your family back and forth to them (I challenge the board to find good charters in Franklinton, the South Side and Weinland Park/South Linden (KIPP’s in North Linden). There are private schools and lotteries, too.

    CCS shouldn’t be allowed to fail year after year after year with no significant changes being made, but what happens when you shut down the failing schools and divert students and resources to charters, many of which are untested and will likely fail in a year or two as well? Many parents don’t have the resources to make fully informed, ideal choices for their children’s school experience, so it seems that we should be working to make the defaults better rather than creating a whole new crop of crappy options.

    #549020

    howatzer
    Participant

    All the charter school experiment did was confirm that the success of a school has much less to do with teachers, facilities or curriculum and much more to do with demographics. Schools with a substantial fraction of its students living in poverty will always under-perform academically. Charters would help if they resulted in diversification of income levels within schools, but that generally hasn’t happened because there’s no incentive for parents from wealthier areas with better schools to send their children to charters.

    #549021

    gramarye
    Participant

    James Ragland said:
    I don’t disagree about the honesty factor. What I am trying to get people to understand is that they have had and will continue to have opportunities to vote for individuals who they feel will not betray the public’s trust. There is a process by which you can remove elected officials from office. Show them your anger by doing so. By all means, vote them out; but I am concerned that people are acting as if they are givng the resources to the adults and not the kids. I admit to you that our leadership structure has failed. Change it. Don’t hurt the kids, though. They were not the ones who committed the crimes.

    True, but if only a tiny portion of the levy actually gets leveraged into functions that are good for the kids instead of just the adults, then voting down the levy does extremely little harm to the children’s education.

    For the record, there are definitely two schools of thought on joev’s stance on charters. I will be strongly disinclined to vote for any school levy that does not include support for charters and/or other nontraditional options that operate in competition with the calcified bureaucracy of the existing leviathan. Of course, I’m in Akron now, so I’m speaking for any prospective levies that may surface here, not the proposed levy in Columbus, but on principle, I think there are plenty who see competition as essential for shaking the existing bureaucracy out of its complacency (and worse).

    The Columbus school system already gets a massive amount of dollars per capita. Granted, a substantially larger portion of that will be needed for things like disability services (and security) than at some of the other schools near the top of the per-capita spending list, but any system with that much of a funding advantage over most other school systems in the area nevertheless has more than sufficient resources to hire teachers and purchase classroom technology. Certainly the ability to elect incompetent or corrupt board members out is important, but the daily threat of competition is also important for focusing a school’s attention on what gets results rather than what is most convenient for administrators and unions.

    #549022

    joev
    Participant

    Schools are not business and public education is not capitalism. The tenets of capitalism have no place in education policy. It’s a public good.

    #549023

    gramarye
    Participant

    Schools are far more like businesses than you admit, and the principled defense of competition is applicable to more than merely for-profit enterprises. The tenets of capitalism belong in education policy, as it as only partially a public good.

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