WA's First Charter School Represents an Innovation in Education or an Innovation in Funding?

Comments

1
We've gained a start in dismantling access-for-all, quality public education. We've gained a new mechanism to weaken teacher unions and the progressive agenda they support. We've gained an opportunity for knuckleheads to use public money to promote and support religious teaching (Christian teaching of course). We've gained a new lucrative, publicly financed revenue stream for the Wall Street investor class. We've gained more opportunity to stratify our society based on wealth and reduce upward mobility. And we have Bill Gates to thank for all that. Thanks Uncle Bill!
2
@1 FTW
3
@2 charter schools don't have to be religious isn't gates an atheist?
4
Any press release about education should be double checked for typos and grammatical errors prior to release.
5
@3,

No, they don't have to be, but many are, and taxpayer dollars should not be funding them. Not coincidentally, many of the biggest charter scams are of the Christianist set.
6
In the case of First Place, the existing no-tuition private school that is converting its funding to become a charter school, we are making two significant changes.

First, the burden of funding the school is shifting from private donors and the federal government (via tax deductions for the private donors) to the state government, which, if you didn't know, is already having trouble meeting its education funding responsibility. For all of those who said that charter schools wouldn't cost anything because "the money follows the students", they are proven wrong in this case because the students are coming into public funding from outside it.

Second, the school loses its ability to restrict the enrollment to the population they are designed to serve. If, for whatever reason, families who are not plagued by exgtreme poverty and high mobility choose this school for their children, the school must enroll those children on an equal basis with the children that the school was designed to serve. I know that it sounds like an implausible possibility, but when First Place becomes a charter school any Washington family can enroll their child in it, whether the child is a member of the population the school intends to serve or not.
7
Goldy, A little research goes a long way...

"The only one ready to go in the fall will be First Place Scholars, which will close its elementary school in June and reopen this fall in the same building, the Odessa Brown Community Health Building.

Sheri Day, acting executive director, said the transition from a private school to a publicly funded charter school will help them keep students for more than three years and grow the program rather than just sustain it.

The school expects to enroll about 100 but has space in its building to eventually enroll twice that many.

“What we do and how we do it is expensive, but it works and it works long term,” Day said."

@6 "Each school district has discretion to determine where an enrolled student attends school" (Initiative 1240 explanatory statement)
8
First Place is one of the VERY few examples of what charters are supposed to be for. A small, innovative school for an at-risk group of kids. The other charters are not like this example at all (and Pettigrew knows this). In fact, one high school that will open will likely hurt Rainier Beach High School - in his district - that is trying to grow (and is striving mightily). Does he care? Probably not.

Charlie Mas is right; any child will be able to enroll in this small school. Sorry, that's the law.

And one question - if Bill Gates, who money paid for a large part of the initiative this law is based on - thought that First Place was so important, why wasn't he or some other philanthropist paying for First Place and helping them sooner?

Oh and keep in mind, Green Dot - an approved charter school in Tacoma - says they "expect" to open more of their chain. Their preferred method of operation is to have all the schools in the same area so they can collaborate. That's fine except that Green Dot has a reputation in California for taking over schools.

Our charter law allows the takeover of existing schools and their buildings. So, watch out Highline, Seattle, Kent, etc. They may be after one of your buildings next.
9
The first of @6's points is a definite advantage. Schools like First Place should be publicly-funded, not dependent on private donations.

The second point is NOT an advantage. Families who can afford to place their children in "cool" private schools shouldn't be allowed to place their kids in newly-publicly-funded, newly "cool" schools which don't have enough spots for the kids they were intended to help. I can just hear parents telling their friends, "Yes, we wanted to put Emma and Jeremy in this school because we want them to appreciate economic diversity." Crap.
10
@1 ftw. Thanks uncle Bill.
11
Presumably they knew about school choice in SPS before deciding to join the school district. All the talk of "intended" to do this or that needs to consider that this move shows clear intent to become open to all Seattle students at the discretion of the district.
12
Why isn't anyone talking about how the vast majority of charter schools around the country perform worse than their public school counterparts? Democracy Now has done several pieces on that very fact.
13
Did Rush Limbaugh write this post? Gee, if private nonprofits can take care of all our social needs, why bother squandering tax money on those idiotic programs?
14
First Place has been small all of its 25 years, but has served a need for children form whom the traditional public setting did not effectively work. It was founded to fill this need and has continued to fill the need for children who were not served by the SPS Dist. Authorizing First Place to become a public charter school means that in the first year as a charter the enrollment can double thereby serving many more students that have been failing in the public system. Additionally, the model had previously answered the call to serve more children by limiting children to 3 years in its program. As a public charter school, First Place will be able to allow its children to stay through Elementary School (k-5). First Place will continue to raise private funds as the amount of public funding is not enough to do what is done there. For First Place, suspension and expulsion is not an option as it is in the public setting and most of the children served there would be expelled in Elementary School and end up drop outs headed for prison. We can invest now or pay later.