Bridges4Kids Logo

 
Home ] What's New ] Contact Us ] About Us ] Links ] Search ] Glossaries ] Contact Legislators ] Reviews ] Downloads ] Disabilities ] IDEA ] Special Education ] Medicaid/SSI ] Childcare/Respite ] Wraparound ] Insurance ] PAC/SEAC ] Ed Reform ] Literacy ] Community Schools ] Children At-Risk ] Section 504 ] School Climate/Bullying ] Parenting/Adoption ] Home Schooling ] Community Living ] Health & Safety ] Summer Camp ] Kids & Teens ] College/Financial Aid ] Non-Public & Other Schools ] Legal Research ] Court Cases ] Juvenile Justice ] Advocacy ] Child Protective Services ] Statistics ] Legislation ] Ask the Attorney ]
 
 Where to find help for a child in Michigan, Anywhere in the U.S., or Canada
 
Bridges4Kids is now on Facebook. Follow us today!
 
Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Charter Schools

Printer-friendly Version

LOCAL COMMENT: No logic in adding charter schools
by David Hecker, Detroit Free Press, June 17, 2003
For more articles like this visit http://www.bridges4kids.org.

 
The other day, I was helping my fifth-grade son do his math homework. For the math problem 2 5/6 times 3 2/3, he initially got an answer of 4 and a fraction. But he realized it had to be wrong. He knew that just 2 times 3 equals 6. He applied logic.

Logic, unfortunately, does not seem to be incorporated into the arguments of those seeking to dramatically increase the number of charter schools. A current Senate bill provides for lifting the cap on the number of schools universities can charter by 300 over the next 10 years.

What's the flaw in the logic?

Charter schools are fraught with problems. The problems were noted in research performed by Western Michigan University, Stanford University, Brookings Institute, Public Sector Consultants/Maximus, Michigan's Auditor General, the American Federation of Teachers, and former Gov. John Engler's initiated Commission on Charter Schools, chaired by Michigan State University President Peter McPherson.

Charter schools, initially designed to be incubators of innovative teaching, are not innovative at all. Public Sector Consultants/Maximus found that "Michigan's charter schools are more an experiment in organization than an innovation in curriculum."

Charter school students are not performing up to the level of their host public school districts, according to a Western Michigan University report. The Brookings Institute found that "charter schools score significantly below regular public schools on achievement tests," while also reporting that charter schools in Michigan were the lowest achieving schools in their 10-state study.

This being so even when charter schools may determine their size and limit enrollment, and when regular public schools must accept every student.

Charter schools serve a signficantly lower percentage of special education students and limited English students, the Commission on Charter Schools reported. Why? Because educating special education students is more expensive. That reason also applies to why most charters are elementary schools; the per-child cost is less, the commission reported.

The bottom line for 70 percent of charter schools is profit, as they are run by private-for-profit companies. That's right. Your tax money is supporting a corporation's profit margin. By the way, company-run charter schools spend $1,000 per pupil more on administrative costs and less on instruction than the regular school district, the American Federation of Teachers found.

Furthermore, there is a lack of oversight and, therefore, accountability over charter schools. Michigan's auditor general confirmed that the Department of Education is not able to perform its oversight responsibilities adequately because of the lack of financial resources. So while accountability may be a part of a charter school bill -- without proper funding for oversight -- they are words with no impact.

Moreover, since charter schools are funded out of the School Aid Fund, they take money away from traditional public schools and, therefore, from the students. Due to the commitment of their teachers and staff there are some successful charter schools. However, where is the logic to expand the number of charter schools?

Logic would say look at all of the positive things going on in our public schools, schools that educate 90 percent of the children in Michigan. Logic would say dedicate our limited resources to lowering class size, enhancing infrastructure, providing meaningful professional development and using research-based education programs proven to work so that every school is providing the education every child deserves.

As logic says that 2 5/6 times 3 2/3 has to be more than 4, logic also says there should not be an expansion of charter schools.

DAVID HECKER is president of the Michigan Federation of Teachers & School Related Personnel -- AFT, AFL-CIO. Write to him in care of the Free Press Editorial Page, 600 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226.

 

 Thank you for visiting http://www.bridges4kids.org/.
 

bridges4kids does not necessarily agree with the content or subject matter of all articles nor do we endorse any specific argument.  Direct any comments on articles to deb@bridges4kids.org.

 

2002-2017 Bridges4Kids