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SRC hears urgency, skepticism on Great Schools Compact

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 12, 2012 03:11 PM
Photo: Benjamin Herold

Joseph Dworetzky chairs the School Reform Commission's "choice, rightsizing, and turnaround" committee. 

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks
 

Philadelphia’s new Great Schools Compact lays out an ambitious goal: replace or transform 50,000 seats in low-performing schools with better options.

But will the Compact include a push to close low-performing charter schools and help successful District-managed schools flourish? Or will it function solely to accelerate existing efforts to close District-run schools and expand the city’s burgeoning charter sector?

Those were the biggest questions on the table during a lively discussion Monday night attended by about 100 people before the School Reform Commission’s “choice, rightsizing, and turnaround” committee.

George Tilghmann was one of several parents connected to former District schools now run by Mastery Charter who told the SRC about the urgency and benefits of taking action.

“Our children do not have years to waste in low-performing schools, whether it’s charter or public,” said Tilghmann, the chair of the School Advisory Council at Mastery-Harrity Elementary in West Philadelphia.

The compact outlines a number of strategies for increasing the number of high-performing charter schools in the city, including converting more struggling District schools to Renaissance charters, expanding the enrollments of existing charters, and issuing new charters.

But some have expressed skepticism that there will be a corresponding move to close failing charters, a concern addressed by Lawrence Jones, a voting member of the Great Schools Compact Committee and the CEO of the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School.

“A low-performing school is a low-performing school. It has to be dealt with effectively and efficiently,” he said.

Though much of the attention in the compact seems to be on charters, many in the audience wondered why there doesn’t seem to be a similar focus on replicating what is working in successful District-managed schools or giving District educators more opportunities to try innovative approaches.

“We as teachers feel really shut out. All the options are either charter schools or a top-down, scripted model,” said retired teacher and Notebook blogger Ron Whitehorne.

Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky, who moderated the meeting, said that the SRC is committed to examining what works in the District’s internal turnaround schools, called Promise Academies.

But West Philadelphia High teacher Anissa Weinraub told the commission that Promise Academies rely too heavily on an “alienating” curriculum and focus too much on unimportant details, like what teachers hang on their walls.

“Is that what we really want to put attention and resources towards? Or should it be about building a reflective, professionally developed workforce who are using some of the more critical, relevant, project-based curricula that can happen in our District?” asked Weinraub.

Jolley Christman, a former District teacher and administrator and the co-founder of local nonprofit Research for Action, told the SRC that the District doesn’t have a culture of recognizing and rewarding its successful schools.

“Other interests often trump performance,” said Christman, citing the example of high-performing District-managed schools that are slated for closure rather than expansion because they are housed in outdated facilities. 

Commissioner Wendell Pritchett said he heard the concerns.

“We need to figure out a way inside the School District to support creativity within our traditional public schools,” he said. “How do we take advantage of all the great knowledge we have in the system?”

Dworetzky said the Great Schools Compact might not be the appropriate vehicle for making that happen.

“If you have a program that’s working well, we should be finding ways to grow that program. It’s a no-brainer,” said Dworetzky. “But I don’t look to the compact to do that. I look to the District leadership to do that.”

Lori Shorr, the city’s chief education officer, began Monday’s meeting with a brief presentation on the compact

District Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon is now a voting member of the Great Schools Compact Committee.

Big issues like an overhaul of the District’s School Performance Index for rating schools and development of a universal application and enrollment system for students are being discussed in five working groups:

  • Accountability

  • Enrollment and Student Data

  • Facilities

  • Shared Services

  • Talent Development

At the end of this month, Shorr said, the compact group will also submit a proposal to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for low-interest loans that can help support reuse of District facilities by charter school operators.

Philadelphia has already received a $100,000 planning grant from Gates to support development of the compact and will compete for millions more in implementation funds later this spring. 

But Shorr stressed that the opportunity to win external funding was not driving the SRC’s agenda.

“We’re not changing what we need to do in this city just to chase Gates money,” Shorr said. “Whether we get it or not, we’re still going to be doing this work, because right now we have huge inefficiencies and too much antagonism across District-managed public schools and charter-managed public schools.”

Comments (49)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 1:38 am

Oh yes, that's right Charter Schools suck the marrow from the bone and leave the District schools with the emptiness. It's simply not called for and the demise of public education. We had MAGNET schools... why can't we bring those back with fervor? Could it be because no one is making any money on that endeavor? It's a disgrace! Our forefathers are crying at the blasphemy!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 6:13 pm

MONEY--24/7 is all that counts. What's best for kids is not even on the board, doesn't even make the cut.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 3:17 am

While there is obviously support for Mastery, those who spoke positively about Mastery were primarily on Mastery's SACs. They obviously have been able to influence how the school's operate. This doesn't mean Mastery has a model that provides "structure and order" but it also doesn't mean it will work for all schools / students. How many Mastery graduates go to 4 year colleges and finish? (I know SDP neighborhood schools have lousy records.)

There is a need to look at how schools are evaluated. We know there has been a lot of cheating on the PSSA at so called "better performing" schools. (I assume this also applies to charters.) There has to be more transparency in how schools are evaluated.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 3:05 am

Two key issues not addressed in this article are : (1) lack of unionization options for ALL staff at charters - especially Mastery and its ilk, and (2) disproportionate number of students with an IEP and/or ELLs in neighborhood high schools.

According to the presentation, the number of students with an IEP is the same at charters and district schools - 13.8%. At many neighborhood high schools, there are between 20 - 30% of students with an IEP. Also, ELLs are concentrated in a few schools because most charters are not able to provides them with appropriate services. Any schools with a disproportionate number of students learning English and/or with an IEP is not going to score as high on the PSSA. This isn't rocket science. It also means an unequal "playing field" when it comes to a school's rating. Lastly, charters like Mastery and Aspira have been allowed to create internal "discipline schools" which isolate students who cause a lot of the disruption in schools. Will all district schools be able to do the same?

Second, unionization is a dirty word in the charter world but if staff are going to be fairly compensated and provided with due process, unionization is the only guarantee of basic worker rights. This does not, by definition, diminish student rights. Most of the nonsense that goes on in schools is because administrators don't follow through to address teachers who are not doing their job.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 6:19 pm

There is no LACK of unionization options. It's not up to a charter school to vote in a union. It's up to the teachers. You should be questioning the teachers, not administration, district or SRC.

Submitted by tom-104 on March 14, 2012 6:26 pm

That is easier said than done. Most charter schools have an "agreement" with their teachers which must be renewed each year. This agreement tells them if they have a job for another year and how much they will be paid. Any take of forming a union is a guarantee to end the "agreement". I have a friend that this happened to.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 6:41 pm

Charters make it extremely difficult to unionize. I have seen this at so called "progressive" charters as well as charters which make no claim to being "progressive." Teachers can be put under the bus if the administration decides they are asking too many questions.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 7:06 pm

Beyond a dumb remark unless you're Scott Gordon. What century do you live in?? The minute you raise the word "Union", your job is toast in almost every charter in the USA. Maybe, you're just kidding or trolling?

Submitted by SOS 60 on March 13, 2012 7:44 am

The GSC seems to be an incomplete equation. Too much only on the minus side. If the answer is growing high performing schools, then closing low performing schools with no discussion of increasing high performing schools is incomplete. Taking away low performing schools w/o increasing high performing schools doesn't get us there. This is basic math.

If the GSC is not about high performing district schools and only about increasing high performing charter schools, than why so much time and talent and attention to the GSC by the SRC, the city and the District. If you are looking to the "district leadership to do that," where is the discussion, the charge, the support similar to the GSC. If the GSC and PSP are only about increasing good charters, than just say that. Stop the reference to Good Schools and the litany in both groups' literature about this being about good "charters and district managed schools" and (parochial in the case of PSP) and just say what it is. Then you would not get so many questions about "where is the support for good district schools, why are you slating good district schools for closure, where is the leadership for good district schools."

If the GSC is not about good district schools also, just say is it so and why it is so, and call it GCSC.

Submitted by Vintage (not verified) on March 13, 2012 7:58 am

One felt the barely concealed contempt of the Committee members while taking questions last night.
What is in a name? Public? Charter What's the difference? Plenty!

The only thing public about Charter Schools is the taxpayer money they receive and siphon from Public Schools. Let's be honest; they are Private Schools run with Public funds.

Where can one access their data from the School District web site? Why aren't their test scores published in the School Report Card in the Inquirer? Who sits on their boards? These points of information should be accessible to everyone if they are working with public money.

Parents who testified in favor of charters were happy about the reduced violence and school climate, but issues of substance were not addressed, e.g. Are there laptops or iPads for each student as there are in Suburban Public Schools and Private Schools? Is there a digital video Lab, Robotics Lab? Are they working with Eduism 3D in their classroom? How are the Science Labs equipped? Is there a Graphic Arts department? Band, Orchestra? How many World Languages are offered? Are there Distance Learning Labs?

OR...is it primarily Test Prep and an atmosphere of obedient discipline? If there are none of the above-listed resources inner-city Charter schools are not preparing their students to compete with children in the suburbs who have access to this from Kindergarten. Why should we want to create inferior versions of suburban and private schools for inner-city children with all that corporate money?

Best comment of the night was when someone testified that good schools fly low in the radar because they don't want the powers that be meddling. Ramos asked if that was valid. Darn right. Good schools think out of the box and the first thing that happens if the SDP gets wind of it they will swoop in and do something to screw it up.

There IS no formula to duplicate success by imitation. Schools are as unique as families; composed of the same elements but quite distinct as to who is there and how things are done.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 13, 2012 8:30 am

You can find some stats on the charters (unfortunately just till 2009) on the website greatschools.org. The site rates the schools on a 1 to 10 scale based on test scores. Interestingly, KIPP, has only a 3. Stanton has a 5, Sheppard has a 1, and Levering has a 2. Commenters are allowed to post ratings as well, 1 to 5 stars. It is interesting to see the difference in these and test score ratings.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 13, 2012 8:40 am

Another thing not disclosed is exactly how the Gates money will be used. How, for example will it facilitate the reuse of buildings for charters?

The SDP has a poor record of using grant funds such as Title I for what it was intended. Instead of "levelling the playing field" for poor children, it has been used to set up an expensive bureaucracy that not only has diverted the money but frustrated the objective at the same time (superficial emphasis on PSSA/test results that has lead to cheating).

Ms. Shorr is a little too frantic when she states "it's not about the money" when it obviously is. Millions of Title I dollars are not enough to reorganize "failing" schools, and "doing what we should be doing" does not include finding ways to keep ELL, Nurses, Athletics, and Arts & Music; so it must be about money for the select few, those who hold the meetings and write the empty documents.

The search for the "working model" is not sincere. There are things that are already known to work, such as lower student to teacher ratios for example (Stanton=13; Sheppard=13; Masterman=19; Central HS=22; Hill Freedman=11; KIPP (5-8, Broad St)=18 (btw it only has a"3" out of "10" based on test scores); etc... I pulled these stats from greatschools.net, click on "compare schools", then "teachers & students". Stats are from 2009, but still relevant.) The comment that money trumps this factor was "spot on".

My impression also was that this was simply a PR session, and those wonderful speakers (thank you, as I could not make this) while making important points, were not actually going to make a difference.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 13, 2012 8:19 am

Sorry for the spelling errors, the website is "greatschools.org", not ".net"; and the tab is "compare this school" to reach additional stats. Again, unfortunately, the latest that are offered are from 2009.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 6:15 pm

Of course, it's all about money for the rich. For the first time ever, huge, easy Public Ed. Money can be accessed by the rich to make them richer. Guess which kids will be left behind in all this--Segregation 101. HOPEFULLY, people will start to see the truth about this corruption and fight it before it's too late.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 1:40 pm

Give Mastery credit for getting their people out to talk the charters up. If we don't get more teachers, parents, community speaking up for our agenda, then we will lose.

Lisa Haver

Submitted by Vintage (not verified) on March 13, 2012 7:52 pm

Quite right, indeed. My concern is beyond discipline and Hyper Test Prep even though the SAC Mastery Parents view this as a miracle.

Corporate Private Schools' data who get Public Funds for low-income students and students of color should be accessible to ALL on the SDP Web site.

Parents should at least know what suburban public school students have been exposed to for at LEAST the past twenty years and if SDP Charters provide the same access.

Corporate monies should at least provide resources that would make their Charter students competitive toe-to-toe with their Suburban Public School counterparts.

These companies zero in on the Public School Teacher hate and convince their parents they have all the answers.

Yet, they would not tolerate the same disciplinary actions in public schools they sit still for at charter schools.

Charters are segregating students of color from the real competition at an amazing rate while proclaiming public schools are failing. If parents are happy, what should we complain?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:19 pm

The house of cards will crumble just like it did in New Orleans and now the city has to start over with new Public Education after they clean up the Charter mess. Takes time and money, of course. Where's Jerry Jordan while all this is happening??

Submitted by Vintage (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:15 pm

Unfortunately there IS no going back after the Charter mess. As for the PFT/AFT and NEA, the Gates Foundation has lobbied and paid lots of money for them to remain neutral and non-committal with regard to Charters, vouchers, merit pay and the like.

If the Union Leadership had any intent whatsoever in advocating for their member's rights during this debacle...it has not been evident.

Ted Kirsch left as Secretary and Treasurer of the PA AFT. He knows it's all over and wants to go out on top.

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:51 pm

Do you have ANY evidence to support your positions??

Submitted by tom-104 on March 14, 2012 9:07 pm

Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT, has been affiliated with the Broad Foundation, a leading privitizer organization for then years. These are my rough notes so far on Randi Weingarten's affiliation with the Broad Foundation.

****************************************************************************

If you do a search on Goggle under “Randi Weingarten and Broad Foundation” you will get numerous links about the topic, more than I can cover in these notes. Some highlights I have found so far.

*********************************************************************
If you go to http://www.broadacademy.org/meetthepress.html you will see videos of Weingarten, on the Broad Foundation website, collaborating with members of Broad Foundation at a press conference for the Broad Foundation sponsored NBC program Education Nation. Note it identifies Arne Duncan as a former board member of the Broad Foundation.
***********************************************************************

From the Broad Foundation Mission Statement of 2009
www.broadfoundation.org/.../101-2009.10%20annual%20report.pdf (this is a PDF)

Page 11
Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
than a decade and now president of the American Federation
of Teachers (AFT). We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
City embrace the plan.

Page 22
Caption to a picture of “Randi Weingarten getting a hug from Joel Klein, then Chancellor of New York City Schools
Left to right in picture: Eli Broad, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten celebrate at the announcement of the winner of the 2007 Broad Prize.”

Page 16
The Broad Foundation invests $2 million in the
Teachers Union Reform Network (TURN), a network of
National Education Association and American Federation
of Teachers locals.

Page 20
In 2005 the Broad Foundation makes a $1 million grant to
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City to open
two union-run charter schools in Brooklyn, the first such
schools in the country.

Page 23
With the support of the United Federation of
Teachers, the New York City Department of Education implements
a school-wide bonus program in 200 of its most
challenged schools. The Broad Foundation invests $5 million
to help fund the bonuses.

****************************************************************************

from A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies published by Parents Across America

http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/a-guide-to-the-broad-foundations...

in the section “A closer look at the Broad Foundation’s “investment in education”

“Along with Bill Gates, Broad contributed millions of dollars to the campaign to extend mayoral control of the public schools in New York City under Michael Bloomberg. Among the leaders he is close to and has personally advised behind the scenes are former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

**************************************************************

From Substance News (http://www.substancenews.net/index.php)

The article is at http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2941

Randi Weingarten, pick of the Oligarchs... Randi was part of the Broad Academy back in 2002

George N. Schmidt - December 25, 2011

Thanks to our friends elsewhere for this bit of research. Anyone wondering why AFT President Randi Weingarten could rise to the top of the national union without ever having really taught a semester in a real public school teaching situation and then foist Bill Gates on the 2010 AFT convention in Seattle while ignoring the labor history and labor struggles of the Pacific Northwest should at least add the following (from Mad Floridian) to their research file. Randi was part of the Broad Foundation's scam long before the Broadies took over Chicago's public schools with the sponsorship of Rahm Emanuel.

######

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM 2002 PRESS RELEASES, ETC.:

“Participants in the academy will not need to leave their current jobs immediately. They will attend trainings for a number of weekends over a ten-month period in locations across the country. Fellowships, including tuition, travel and all program-related expenses, will be fully covered by The Broad Center. At the end of the training, The Broad Center will help place participants in urban school districts as administrators and superintendents.

The Fellows received guidance from leaders in business, education and the non-profit sectors. Faculty at the Academy included:

Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education
* Henry Cisneros, CEO, American CityVista

* William Cox, Managing Director, School Evaluation Services

* Chris Cross, Senior Fellow, Center on Education Policy

* Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

* Frances Hesselbein, Chairman, The Drucker Foundation

* Don McAdams, Founder, Center for Reform of School Systems

* Donald Nielsen, President, Hazelton Corporation; Chairman, 2WAY Corporation Hugh B. Price, President and CEO, National Urban League

* Paul Ruiz, Principal Partner, Education Trust

* Adam Urbanski, Director, Teacher Union Reform Network

Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers”
###########

Substance News continues:

Perhaps that is why she would do something like this.

Everyone who has followed Weingarten's ascendancy to her position as AFT President knew that she had been the pick of the Oligarchs. Her earlier sweet talk about gutting the teaching profession with pay per score plans had earned her the Business Roundtable's seal of approval, and now she is returning the favor by shifting her tepid endorsement of weakening ethical teaching into a full-blown advocacy for busting her own union. Randi Weingarten should be recalled by the AFT membership, and she should be put out to pasture with the other nags.

At a time when the greed merchants and uncharged felons of Wall Street burrow into the system once more to plan another financial catastrophe a few years hence, Obama's man in charge of deciding how many millions the CEO criminals should get has just been subcontracted out by Weingarten to create a plan to fire teachers for their "misconduct." The scourge of the nation--teacher misconduct!! Misconduct will surely include refusing to go along with educational genocide that is occurring in urban schools, where cognitive decapitation in segregated environments is the order of the day for the poor and the brown.

******************************************************************

From a teacher blog in NYC, Ed Notes (http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/)

a disturbing article about the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC

This had been rejected by the New York state Comptroller last summer, but was revived after Bill Gates put up $76.5 million to fund it. It is a computer system which will track and store the private records of all students and teachers in New York state. It will be managed by Joel Klein, former NYC schools’ Chancellor, who is now with Rubert Murdoch’s Newcorp in charge of damage control over the phone hacking scandal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Klein#News_Corporation) The Huffington Post article below says:

“According to an earlier NYT story, $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch's News Corp and run by Joel Klein.”

The Ed Notes link for the article “Will UFT Renounce This Deal? Randi on the Board: Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” is here: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2011/12/will-uft-renouncs-this-deal-ra...

Much of the Ed Notes article is from the article “Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” on Huffington Post. The link for that is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/confidential-student-and-_b...

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 14, 2012 9:18 pm

OK but what exactly has she done to sink unions and foster the charter system?

Submitted by tom-104 on March 14, 2012 10:13 pm

"Will UFT Renounce This Deal? Randi on the Board: Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch"
http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2011/12/will-uft-renouncs-this-deal-ra...

The above was in December. Two weeks ago the United Federation of Teachers leadership in NYC joined Governor Cuomo and accepted using test scores to rate teachers.
http://tinyurl.com/6vbj4bx

Within a week test score data of public schools (not charters) was made public and a witch hunt began against public school teachers.
http://www.edwize.org/the-true-story-of-pascale-mauclair

Submitted by Vintage (not verified) on March 14, 2012 9:55 pm

It depends upon to whom I am speaking and the reasons for the question.

This is not a game. This is serious, it is for real and for keeps and big, big money is way too powerful.

One might Google any assertions herein to research, verify and/or disprove them.

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 14, 2012 9:08 pm

Right back at ya. I am a teacher and likely more apt to see darkness than you BUT when you make statements like yours, you open yourself up to questions about evidence to support your statements. Nothing would really surprise me with these slithering pols etc.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 4:01 pm

A charter school told me point blank that they don't hire older teachers because they can hire kids, right out of college for a third of the price and they can mold them to their model.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 4:53 pm

Wow...I can't believe the logic in the above statement. How could any school get away with such age discrimination? Is there anything that can be done? It would be interesting if someone could research and find out the statistics on the ages of teachers in charter schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 5:55 pm

Why would age discrimination be any different than sexism toward male elementary teachers? That's been going on for decades. Look how few male elementary teachers are hired. It's not because there aren't men interested in teaching on that level, but because men don't leave teaching and therefore raise the pay level with each year. Money is the bottom line when it comes to what charters want to hire. That's why they hire teachers who have been fired from the school district.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 8:31 pm

Charters are a house of cards, a flim flam, a shell game and it will all be exposed at some point. More and more people are catching on.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 8:36 pm

'Occupy Education' Debates the Gates Foundation (and Wins)

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/13-4

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 14, 2012 10:22 am

The article is eloquent and well written - thanks!

We do know that standardized tests are culturally biased, but still we want our kids to be culturally fluent. They can be the instruments of cultural oppression; Agreed, for that we need to be vigilant. As so well stated, they must not be used to dehumanise education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2012 9:24 pm

The charter schools keep chanting that our schools are failing...I work in the SDP everyday, I don't see any failure. Students and teachers work hard everyday. Students are LEARNING! Parents wake up! We fought for public education..........how many educations and teaching careers will be destroyed before the charter school scam comes to light?? If the charter schools are so successful, why don't they share their methods? Why are we giving our schools away to private companies?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 7:00 pm

Money, Money and Money !!

Submitted by SOS 60 on March 13, 2012 10:41 pm

greatschools.org??????
who sponsors and monitors this site
the information about E. M. Stanton is out of date. It is listed as a k-5. It has not been that grade range for years
are we really needing to go to some unknown and foreign website to get information about our schools
c'mon!

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 14, 2012 10:49 am

Yes that is definitely out of date; however, the site at least seems unbiased towards charters: KIPP scores only a "3" to Stanton's "5", and Mastery Pickett scores also only a "3".

A third party source of info (not affiliated with either the PSD or the charters) is definitely needed. The stats though not up to date, give you a general idea, and I don't believe its foreign. Having a national database is good because it removes it somewhat from local political influence.

Submitted by Vintage (not verified) on March 14, 2012 7:11 pm

Therefore, it matters NOT how well public schools are doing and/or trying to duplicate what works, (even though that's not possible) Those who believe this is possible know NOTHING about schools and what makes a good school a good school.

It was always all about getting rid of public schools in the inner-cities and we fell for it.

What concerns me is the testimony of the co-opted parents from the Charter School SAC testifying about obedience and not testifying whether or not their children NOW have laptop or iPads for each child.

Or if there are Distance Learning Laboratories, Digital Video Labs, 3D Eduism Software, Video Conferencing in the classrooms or even a Band, Orchestra, Choir or Athletics offered for a well-rounded competitive education.

The Corporate McEducators have targeted the correct population to make their multi-millions because those parents have stonewalled any discipline to their children in public schools; have not acknowledged ANY public school teachers who were trying to give their children a competitive education, but will sit still for Charter Schools that promise but do not do ANY of this save but teach their children how to behave at school.

When former US Secretary of Education Bill Bennet of K-12 Schools, whom the SDP bought the entire Science Curriculum under the first SRC, said on his radio show in effect the "crime rate would go down if more Black fetuses were aborted", the only people at the SRC meeting who demanded the SDP not give Bill Bennet's K-12 any more SDP money were very old people; NOT the parents of the children to which Sec'y Bennett referred.

Charters and vouchers mean your tax dollars are paying for your children to not have an education if those charters should "counsel them out." Look at the attrition rates for Black males in Charter Franchises, such as KIPP, nationwide.

It's too late but perhaps someone would check this out or at LEAST what happened in the New Orleans School District, Post-Katrina. Those parents are NOT happy, but no one hears them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:52 pm

Yes, it's all tied together--Charters, Vouchers, and, of course, PRISONS. Yes, the parents in New Orleans see the light now but it's over for them-----NOT yet for us!!

Submitted by tom-104 on March 14, 2012 8:37 pm

Louisiana teachers are staging a staff development day Thursday so they can lobby their state legislators against the privatization of public schools. See this Diane Ravitch column for details of what is happening in Louisiana:

Ravitch: A war on public education in Louisiana

http://tinyurl.com/72s2uve

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:10 pm

Tom 104---There is hope but we need to mobilize with urgency and conviction. The Louisiana folks are on the right path. If Walker gets the boot, we'll all be better off.

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 14, 2012 8:46 pm

I'm very disappointed in Obama who is President because of the worker bees and poor. He's done very little to help us except talk a good game.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Charter Schools let's unite for Truth, Justice and the American Way. We're going to bury that Giant
Rat!

Submitted by SOS 60 on March 14, 2012 10:54 pm

Sorry, the greatschools.org website is about on par with health care websites which are scary. No objective data or comparison. Based totally on those who find it, and write a subjective opinion. Not a resource that I would use or invest in or use to select a school. Less helpful even misleading based on tiny bits of subjective information.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 15, 2012 9:09 am

No one in their right mind uses just one source of information, let alone statistics, to make decisions. Even the Notebook is biased. One needs to visit a school before choosing it. I am not selling this website, and there isn't to my knowledge that mythical "objective" one. Having such a source,
would be like having an actual measure of a "high performing seat". The stats of test scores, as insufficient as they may be, cross referenced pretty accurately with the PSD's. And I noticed the PSD does not give student to teacher ratios, only school enrollment and grades taught.

Since there seems to be a lot of public funders interested in developing a more "accurate" measure of school/teacher performance (and the SPI is pretty anemic (we're talking less than 20% returned surveys with caregivers who admit not being in the school or making caregiver meetings allowed to monopolize the ratings)), then lets use some of this funding to create a database of input on performance from many different user perspectives. Perhaps bias in the collective will paint a better picture.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2012 11:16 pm

Teachers, if you put in a resume for a teaching position at a charter school and your part of PFT your probably going to the bottom of the pile. Look into the Association of American Teachers a union for teachers that will be accepted by charter schools, check out their website.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 5:58 pm

Moron.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 6:50 pm

At least you're honest.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 9:11 pm

You don't get to pick your union. That's kind of the point. Every teacher in the School District of Philadelphia is represented by the PFT, a local chapter of the AFT.

It is a condition of being hired that you join the PFT, although you can choose whether to pay dues or not.

But hey, you don't have to tell us that teachers who work in PUBLIC schools are discriminated against by charter schools. We have all these crazy ideas about salary increases, required working hours, and not being treated like a programmable robot in our classrooms.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 20, 2012 9:19 pm

Good points. How dare we demand respect and not be treated like crap from the charters crooks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 7, 2012 3:07 pm
This is more than disgusting. I have seen it all, and where this country is going re: privatization of public schools ala charters is a travesty. The research is clear about charter schools NOT doing better for our young and yet the pundits keep pushing this BAD idea. Hmmm...guess IT IS ABOUT MONEY AND CONTROL.

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