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SRC meeting to address possibility of universal enrollment

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Jan 10, 2014 12:16 PM

When the School Reform Commission meets Monday for its monthly public strategy session, its goal will be to discuss the pros and cons of an unprecedented proposal: unifying the enrollment process for Philadelphia’s public, charter, and parochial schools.

But behind the scenes, a lengthy process involving a working group that included multiple stakeholders appears to have created little consensus over how this “universal enrollment” system might work, who should be in it, and even whether one should exist at all.

“There’s consensus that there’s a problem,” said David Lapp of the Education Law Center, a working group member. “We should improve on having over 80 different systems for how kids enroll in school.”

However, Lapp said, there has been no consensus on “the big [questions], who would run it and who would participate in it.”

As proposed by the increasingly influential Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) in a briefing at City Council last fall, a universal enrollment system would provide a single application process for all District schools, some (or possibly all) charter schools, and, potentially, tuition-based Catholic schools run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The idea was developed by a working group created by the Great Schools Compact, a committee of local school leaders led by the mayor’s office and managed by PSP, a privately funded nonprofit group that raises and distributes money to schools to replicate and improve successful models. The working group included school operators, city officials, student advocates like Lapp, and District staff.

Supporters say a universal system could reduce the confusion and unequal access created by the city’s tangle of application procedures and deadlines.

But working group members and critics alike also cite numerous and wide-ranging concerns about governance, oversight, access to private student data, the impact of school marketing and self-promotion, the legality of the archdiocese’s participation, and the system’s potential to effectively reduce parent choice.

“Changes to enrollment need to happen, but not all changes to enrollment are created equal,” said Susan Gobreski of Education Voters Pennsylvania, who was not a member of the working group.

District officials remain noncommittal, but interested. They say it would be possible to implement a new system in time for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are open to any innovation that will make the enrollment process easier for the students and families we serve,” said District spokesperson Deirdre Darragh, via email. “We are definitely in a ‘learn more mode.’”

Likewise, city officials are uncertain as to whether such a system has the necessary support from either parents or school operators.

“I have no interest or time for solving a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Lori Shorr, head of the mayor’s office of education. “Do all parents’ kids have equal access to all schools? If the answer is ‘yes,’ there are probably better things for us to do. …

“It also comes down to whether the systems really want this. Does the District really want this? Does the archdiocese really want this? Can they legally be involved, and are there enough charters [who will participate]?”
 
A lot of talk, but little agreement

Enrollment is, in many ways, the operational heart of any public education system, determining not just where the students go, but where the money goes.

And although elements of the changes proposed for Philadelphia have been tried elsewhere, a fully unified public/charter/parochial enrollment system would be unprecedented.

“They’re exploring radical changes, way beyond what anybody in any other part of this country has done,” said Helen Gym of Parents United for Public Education.

The basic outline of the proposed system hasn’t changed much since PSP first briefed Council on the idea. Parents would submit a list of about five schools for their child, perhaps mixing District, charter and parochial, and rank them in order of preference. Computers would use complex algorithms to crunch a wide range of student and school data, and the system -- probably run by an outside contractor -- would respond with a single assignment.

“Our parents and our schools are used to seeing, ‘I got into these four schools, now I get to decide,’” said Marc Mannella, founder of KIPP Philadelphia Charter Schools, a working-group member and “big supporter” of universal enrollment. “It’s going to require a big change.”

Under a universal system, selective schools – which rank students based on test scores and other records, and sometimes require interviews or auditions – would still be able to do so, said Neil Dorosin, head of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice (IIPSC), who staffed the Compact’s working group.

But schools that use a lottery – which would include all charters – would hand that responsibility over to the system, Dorosin said. “In essence, the program runs the lottery,” he said.

Mannella, whose organization operates four schools and hopes to add more, said he supports the concept in part because it would eliminate the barriers created by multiple application procedures. “It’s an equity issue,” he said. “The way it’s set up now, with some charter schools, you have to be incredibly savvy and knowledgeable … to gain access.”

Likewise, Scott Gordon, head of Mastery Charter Schools, which runs 10 schools in the city, says the system would level the playing field for everyone. “Parents and children should have choice – and everyone should have equal access to great schools. It’s that simple.”

But Lawrence Jones, a working group member and chair of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, which represents many smaller and independent charters, said he thinks a new charter office – overseen by the SRC, not the District – would be a better and cheaper way to untangle enrollment, hold charters accountable, and address issues of equity and access.

“I’m not pooh-poohing the idea,” said Jones, who is also the head of the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School. “It may be a great opportunity, but in my mind there are so many bigger fish to fry.”

A competitive environment

Dorosin says it should be no surprise that the issue is complex and sometimes contentious. The enrollment process, he said, distributes both students and dollars – and nobody wants to give up a competitive advantage.

“You’re in an environment where you’re competing for children to go to your school. And the number of kids that you get drives the budget,” Dorosin said. “To put autonomy over admissions in someone else’s hands – charters fought long and hard for that autonomy. Why give it back?”

The same goes for the District itself, he said. "Why would a district that is being absolutely crushed with budget problems … move into a situation that might make it easier for kids to choose schools that are not District schools?”

The difference is that although all District schools would be required to participate, charters will probably have a choice.

Both Shorr and Dorosin said their preference is to allow charters to opt into a universal system.

“Our goal is to design something that’s good enough that everyone wants to participate,” Dorosin said.

Shorr said, “I can’t imagine we can have a system where we mandate that they participate.”

In Denver, organizers have managed to get all charters to participate in a universal enrollment process.

But in New Orleans, Dorosin said, some don’t – including “some of the most popular and high-achieving,” he said. “I think everyone knows that if you’re not joining, it’s because you’re enjoying handpicking your kids.”

Gym says the incentive to opt out is obvious: You recruit who you want, how you want, and ensure that the more challenging students end up in somebody else’s school.

Gobreski, too, worries about the impact of that kind of system on Philadelphia’s neighborhood schools. “If the charter part is voluntary, I have real questions about what kind of system you’re creating,” she said.


Catholic schools: The great unknown

Hovering around the entire conversation is yet another unanswered question: Can Catholic schools take part?

Working group members say they haven’t reached a definitive answer, and none appears imminent.

KIPP’s Mannella said that the working group raised concerns but didn’t get answers.

“Once somebody tells me it’s legal, I’m prepared to wrap my head around whether it’s a good idea,” he said. “This question is asked often in meetings … and I don’t feel like I have a satisfactory answer.”

Dorosin said the only precedent for including parochial schools in a public enrollment system is in New Orleans, where a voucher-style scholarship program pays students’ tuition.

Pennsylvania offers some taxpayer-funded scholarships that can be used at parochial schools, funded through state corporate tax deductions. But ELC’s Lapp says a full-scale voucher program would likely be illegal in Pennsylvania. The archdiocese has long lobbied for vouchers and tuition supports, but Lapp said church officials didn’t bring the issue up in working group meetings.

“No one has expressed a desire for a system of vouchers,” Lapp said. “We have expressed concerns that [including parochial schools in universal enrollment] would do just that … and that’s another reason we think it’s a bad idea.”

Archdiocesan officials did not respond to multiple requests from the Notebook for comment.

Dorosin sees potential advantages to including Catholic schools. “From a theoretical standpoint, the more the merrier,” Dorosin said. “The fewer instances in which one family is getting offers from multiple schools, the better.”

And although Shorr said that the city is “being aggressive” in seeking legal opinions, she doesn’t expect a definitive decision anytime soon.

“I’ve talked to other lawyers who say it definitely is legal,” said Shorr, speaking about Archdiocesan participation. “Each of the operators might have to find out what their lawyers say. … When it comes to things like that, we’re looking at years.”

Up next: Public forums and 'private conversations'

Beyond the big questions of governance and participation are still more thorny issues.

Among the concerns, for example, is that charter schools with healthy marketing budgets could use advertising and outreach to drive up demand right before the application deadline. “Demand for seats does not necessarily indicate quality seats,” Lapp said. “Especially when demand is driven by perceptions of exclusivity, or realities of exclusivity.”

Dorosin agrees that this is a potential problem.

“I know that in New Orleans, for example, there are schools that we know are not good schools but that still fill up each year,” he said. “Do we want to do anything about that? They haven’t answered that question there yet, and David [Lapp] is asking the same question.”

Another concern is whether a universal enrollment system would expand or restrict families’ choices.

“If there’s some sort of policy that limits you to five choices, then that could be misleading – and possibly illegal,” said Gobreski. “Right now, you have … an unlimited amount of charter choices.”

Still another doubt is whether universal enrollment would, as some supporters argue, help keep the system honest.

Dorosin argues passionately that it will. “It’s pretty clear that when you have 80 charter schools, not all of them follow the published rules,” he said. “That goes away,” at least for those charters that opt into the system, he said.

Jones, however, counters that such issues would be better handled by a well-staffed charter school office – and wouldn’t be solved by universal enrollment.

“Schools that have ridiculous applications -- a strong charter school office sees it and deals with it,” Jones said. “Fraud and inappropriate conduct is something that universal enrollment does not deal with. A strong charter school office would.”

And still more questions surround the protection of student data, contractor oversight, charter enrollment caps, and the fairness and transparency of the process that has developed and promoted the entire idea.

With all these issues and constituencies in play, it is perhaps no surprise that the working group has lost steam.

“We’re feeling like we’re a little bit stuck in limbo -- not sure where it’s going,” said Lapp. “Before anything happens, we really need to make sure we engage in public conversations about it.”

That’s frustrating to some. “I don’t have a good answer as to why there’s a slowdown,” said Mastery’s Gordon. “This is important. We have lots of details to work out [but] this is a solvable challenge.”

Dorosin said that some of the next moves will have to be quiet ones.

“We’ve paused while we figure out how to continue,” he said, “And there’s no question we’re gong to continue. … We’re looking at re-engaging stakeholders with, you could say, more private conversations, just to get away from the politics of it.”

But if the District wants to build faith in the process, Gym said, a public conversation is long overdue.

“This conversation’s been going on for more than a year, in private, with operators who want the most extreme version,” she said. “If the District wants to gain the trust of parents, they need to acknowledge that.”

Monday’s meeting is the first time that there has been any public invitation or official airing of what has been going on. Advocates like Gobreski and Lapp, who both are also city parents, hope that the dialogue continues.

“What we would want to see is a longer-term, very public process that doesn’t start with, ‘here’s the solution,’” Gobreski said.

Shorr urged parents to come to Monday’s meeting and engage on the subject. “We need to know if this is going to help you with your child,” she said, “or not.”

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Comments (47)

Submitted by Christa (not verified) on January 10, 2014 1:52 pm
How would the LeGare judgement for IEP, 504 and ELL students play out in this system?
Submitted by Bill Hangley (not verified) on January 10, 2014 1:53 pm
Not sure how the judgement might affect things, but if I understand the case for UE correctly, that kind of student info would factor into the algorithms -- i.e. UE could match a student with ELL needs with a school that has good resources to serve him/her, while the same the system could ensure that ELL or special ed students didn't end up concentrated in certain schools, or "creamed" out of others.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 11:00 pm
What about transportation? That affects the school that a student attends, particularly if the student is receiving services in a self-contained room. What if a parent doesn't want his/her child's information going to a privately-run UE system? The PSP has no legal standing to compel the parent to provide the information, particularly concerning the student's disability. And if a student falls through the cracks with this UE system, then the District and PSP could be held liable for denial of FAPE.
Submitted by Helen Gym on January 13, 2014 1:09 pm

Those last two statements are completely contradictory though, Bill, when faced with the basic data on charters showing that only a handful even serve ELL students. This algorithm, therefore, would reinforce that, not change it. It would be a green light for charters that don't serve ELLs or don't do it well to keep on keepin' on. Similarly with special needs students. Here we have a proposal for a process operating on uninformed and unregulated supply and demand rather than the fundamental responsibilities of schools and equity and investment. 

Submitted by Bill Hangley (not verified) on January 13, 2014 1:18 pm
You make a good point, Helen, but this is where the data-heads would probably counter that the algorithm itself can solve the problem of unequal resources - eventually. If I understand their case correctly, what they believe will happen is this: the data from ELL kids' families (i.e. their choices) will tell the system where those kids *want* to go, & therefore give the system impetus to send funding to those places, and/or direct oversight to those places to find out why they're not letting kids in. Whether that's theoretically viable or could actually happen is another question, but that's the basic rejoinder to concerns like yours.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2014 3:36 pm
Just as providing and equitable education for a student with an IEP, there is not "one size fits all" for ELLs. Ells may be new immigrant students who do not know any English to students born in the US who are bilingual. (Classification of ELL is based on a home language survey - if English is not the first language in the home, the student is ELL until they "test out." Some students do not "test out" before graduating.) It is much more complicated in high school (and I'd hope middle school) where ELLs should have access to all academical disciplines. There are only a few high schools that offer "sheltered" ELL disciplinary courses (e.g. biology). It is also much more complicated in high school because of Keystone testing. Just because of a school may indicate "ELL friendly" does not mean they can support / service the students. Same for students with an IEP - it all depends on the IEP. How will an algorithm "know" everything?
Submitted by Helen Gym on January 13, 2014 11:41 pm

This presumes that schools opt in, and they have already conceded that schools can opt out. So schools that don't want to have no incentive to doing so. 

Submitted by Bill Hangley (not verified) on January 14, 2014 2:13 am
Folks at the 1/13 SRC meeting certainly seemed to agree.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2014 11:48 pm
Bill, as the proposal has been presented, the UE system would not deal at all with IEP needs. The parent would have to independently know whether the school could serve their kid, and know to only apply to such schools. If they make a mistake or are unsophisticated and rank a school that can't/won't serve their kid, they lose their place in line.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 10, 2014 1:37 pm
This is streamlining the segregation of schools by family income.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 10, 2014 2:34 pm
As opposed to the current method of creating mandatory info sessions, extensive application forms, and short deadlines?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 11:18 pm
Those exist because the District isn't strict enough with charters. Granted, there aren't enough people in the Charter School Office. However, ensuring fair admission policies should be a high priority for that office.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2014 10:37 am
I believe it IS a high priority for that office -- but when you have the mayor's ed person choosing not to see the problem, how far do you think that office can go? I would be very careful about ascribing intentions to others just because they face numerous obstacles in getting the work done.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 10, 2014 2:22 pm
If some charters, no catholics schools, no private schools and no cyber charter schools are part of universal enrollment, how can it be universal?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 10, 2014 3:28 pm
There are serious flaws and problems with the present proposal as David Lapp correctly states. A common enrollment plan for public school students must be created, governed and administered only by the School District of Philadelphia as a public entity with the requisite democratic procedures of public school governance. Sorry folks. With all due respect, the present plan, which has already been developed behind closed doors, creates a Pandora's box of legal and ethical issues. The practical issues are also not well thought out. It also does not provide any adequate protections for student privacy, and does not contain any procedural protections for students or parents, and other stakeholders who have legitimate public interests. It has no dispute resolution mechanisms, and affords little transparency as it will be controlled by a wholly private entity.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 10, 2014 4:11 pm
Yes, Rich, the devil is in the details and as a lawyer, you're able to read between the lines far better than almost anybody else. Also, in terms of not closing anymore schools this year, that's good and I admit it but it's far more likely to be a part of their designed strategy rather than anything positive emanating from the good guys. Nothing would or should surprise me when easy and huge money is concerned and it shouldn't surprise anyone else either. Longshanks Hite and Nutter are no friends of the citizens of Philadelphia. One Term Tom, of course, needs to go in shame for what he's done to our city. Thank God, Christie is toast too. The sooner these Tea Party extremists hit the road, the better for everybody else except the corporate elite.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 10, 2014 4:36 pm
Hi Mark Manella and other charter leaders, please understand that I am all for a common enrollment process which meets the needs of all students and all parents as long as it meets the requisite democratic processes of public school law and public school governance. The proposal for PSP, a wholly private entity, to own the system and administer the system is untenable and legally actionable if they control and manage the enrollment system for public school students. Students, parents, and all public stakeholders have participatory due process rights to be involved in the rule making and decision-making process of public schools and public school systems. They are rights which are constitutionally protected. No matter how the law or semantics is twisted we can never escape "the imperative of democracy" in the governance of public schools.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on January 10, 2014 5:40 pm
Excellent commentary, Rich. Anything cooked up by the privately owned and operated PSP is suspect. They are involved not only with public schools, but with charters and even Catholic schools under the Independence Mission School system which is no longer part of the archdiocese but carries its banner. PSP supports things like "blended learning" which means putting kids in front of programmed computers for part of the day under the supervision of aides. The aim is to make schools as "teacher proof" as possible. Collective bargaining of course must go. They are trying to gain more and more control of public sector schools. We are looking at a devious plan to finalize the privatization of our district. It must be stopped.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 8:11 pm
Rich, You are right on the mark here. The biggest proponents of this PSP-run UE system are charter management organizations --- Mastery and KIPP --- and the PSP itself. For Mastery and KIPP, a UE system is good business strategy to increase their market share. But many independent charter schools aren't so enthusiastic about the UE system, for various reasons. This UE system is (1) a potential cash cow for the PSP and (2) a good way to increase market share for the charter management organizations. It's NOT about more choice or simplicity for parents and students.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2014 10:34 am
It is a mistake to lump KIPP and Mastery together on this issue. Having worked with KIPP and Mastery in the past (but for neither of them), I believe KIPP has always been at the forefront of the push for equity in admissions --their applications have been in two languages, accepted through multiple formats (e.g., in person, online, fax, etc.) for years now. The fact that a UE system might help them in the future is a coincendence. Any new system can learn a lot from what KIPP has done. I am glad that Mastery now appears to understand this, given their 20+-page applications in the past.
Submitted by Sharon Newman Ehrlich (not verified) on January 10, 2014 10:59 pm
Rich, I would like to speak to you about Education Law if possible. Thanks.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 10, 2014 11:47 pm
Yes, e-mail me at rich@democracyineducation.com.
Submitted by iteachinphilly (not verified) on January 10, 2014 7:32 pm
What this really is would be a way for charter and parochial schools to enroll students easier while using public money to fund it, the privates and charter have recruiters. I do not feel bad for them. The great schools compact is a fatce created by mayor nutter to aid his friends at private and charter schools. Public money should be used to make better public schools. The high school fair was a hot mess. Between nuns, and charter schools, what was left. Thr charters habe been bleeding the district dry and now the private and parochial schools have jumped on board. Universal enrollment is truly only going to make the for profit schoold steal children.g
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 10, 2014 8:28 pm
<< "What this really is would be a way for charter and parochial schools to enroll students easier while USING PUBLIC MONEY TO FUND IT. The privates and charter have recruiters." >> BINGO! Amidst all the talk about why, how, and when this remains a central point that cannot be ignored. I heard these words from the Mayor a few years ago: " Times are changing we need to blur the lines." Seriously, WHY?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 11, 2014 8:41 am
Yes, "blur the lines" is code for ignoring blatant corporate and church oriented corruption on the take." Nutter has been a major enemy to all working people and yes, even the poor. He has always seen himself as better than his constituents in a big way. His behavior has at least been consistent......he doesn't care about the citizens of Philly and expects to be awarded a National Stage position for doing the dirty work of the corporate elite types. To use the term, "sell out" doesn't even begin to describe Nutter. Hite is doing exactly what he was brought here to do......create "churn' and bring closure to democracy and public education in Philly. In about 2 years, he'll move on to some other city in dire need of his help. Read the mission statement of The Broad Foundation as exhibit A..................Z. Privatization is simply code for the end of civil and working rights as well as a livable wage through ending unions. We'll become a corporate totalitarian state if the people allow the corporate business groups to run our educational system and of course, guess which kids will be left out LEGALLY by design.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 10, 2014 8:50 pm
The Catholic Church is up to its ears in corruption too, of course. Gleason and his buddies have NOTHING on the Church bean counters when they're not "busy" on other matters. They're different sides of the hand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 10, 2014 8:27 pm
<<"That’s frustrating to some. “I don’t have a good answer as to why there’s a slowdown,” said Mastery’s Gordon. “This is important. We have lots of details to work out [but] this is a solvable challenge.” Dorosin said that "some of the next moves will have to be quiet ones." >> Excuse me, come again?
Submitted by Sharon Newman Ehrlich (not verified) on January 10, 2014 10:34 pm
Someone tell me how the School District of Philadelphia is going to manage this "Universal Enrollment" IF THEY CAN'T EVEN MANAGE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AS IT PRESENTLY IS??? Perhaps "Executive Manager" AR will plan it out and run it...He seems to run everything anyway??? LOL and what he runs?? Doesn't even run properly!!! Write to me if you want to know what is REALLY going on at 440... 27 years teaching...B.A. Bio/Chem/ M.Ed Secondary Education Principal Cert Retired Early because of this MESS...and AR!!!! education215@gmail.com
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 11, 2014 2:39 pm
The very LAST thing they want is organization, fairness and competence. That's the opposite of churn which is their goal. Christie is dead meat because of what he did while Corbett, Gleasonm Nutter et al are still afloat after decimating our children's education and health for 2 years and counting. P.S. The real answer is we're Philly and we and our kids deserve the shaft even putting our kids with health issues at risk by removing nurses. What do you think would happen if they tried to remove a nurse from a Lower Merion School. 3 guesses, 2 of which you won't need.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on January 11, 2014 8:35 am
A consensus among whom that there is a problem? The UE working group? The only complaint I have read or heard about is the tedious process of applying to charters who have individual application processes and that many have significant barriers. When you look at who is pushing for this thing, you really can't have much confidence it its being run fairly and transparently. It has been developed by a "working group" behind closed doors for a private organization who refuses admission to its board meetings which oversees a committee which also bars admission to the public even though two members of the SRC sit on it. Parents who have been shut out of every part of the planning and development of this system--about which there are so many unanswered questions--are not going along with this.
Submitted by Bill Hangley (not verified) on January 11, 2014 12:35 pm
To your first question - - DL was referring specifically to the working group's consensus that multiple charter processes create access/equity issues. He wasn't trying to characterize the whole ed community.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on January 11, 2014 5:28 pm
Thanks, Bill
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 8:28 pm
Lisa, You are exactly right about "who is pushing for this thing." There are a number of independent charter schools that, for various reasons, are skeptical of the UE system or flat out don't want it. It's the charter management organizations --- KIPP and Mastery --- which are the most visible proponents of the UE system because it's a good business strategy for them. EGS
Submitted by Christine Carlson (not verified) on January 11, 2014 10:12 am
"...the next moves will have to be quiet ones"...I don't think so. I guarantee you that parents will be very noisy about this!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 11, 2014 4:32 pm
National School Choice Whistle Stop tour is coming to Philadelphia on 1/22/14.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 4:25 pm
For various reasons, many of the independent charter schools don't want a UE system. It's the charter management organizations like KIPP and Mastery that are really pushing this UE system because it's a good business move for them. How will this UE system affect enrollment at schools like Masterman and Central? Will the algorithm take into account sibling preference? The UE system cannot be privatized. I don't know why the PSP thinks it can be. Special education law requires that a Local Education Agency oversee the placement of students. The PSP cannot access the IEP/NOREPs of any special education students without parental consent. There is no way that an algorithm can make decisions regarding enrollment of students in self-contained classrooms -- Complex Support Needs (AS, LSS, MDS) and ES. These students have the due process rights of other students that Rich Migliore discusses plus all of the protections of special education laws. The PSP is beating a dead horse. The idea of a privately-controlled enrollment process is "innovative" and completely preposterous.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 11, 2014 5:55 pm
EGS----Be careful what you're saying. Money talks. The Charter Lie Movement continues to move forward 100 MPH.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 8:34 pm
Joe, you are exactly right, but just humor me for a minute. You were a principal. Put your principal hat back on for a minute. I'm guessing you probably dealt with some special ed related issues, e. g. legal cases. You're at least aware of some of the procedural safeguards that parents and students have under IDEA. Now throw in the fact that many students with IEPs require transportation. The PSP is not an LEA and has no authority to access information about a child's special ed services or transportation needs. This is special ed 101. For any student, the parents can refuse to participate in the UE system. The parent can show up the week before school starts at a neighborhood school and ask that their child be registered and legally speaking, the District can't turn the children away unless the school is full. These are basic facts, not wishful thinking.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 11, 2014 8:29 pm
Yes, you are right in a right world but look at ALL the abuses and illegalities these folks have done. Why would one more law, rule, statue stop them now?? I get what you're saying of course and you are right legally and morally, neither of which apply to these reformers...........................so far.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 10:11 pm
I gotcha, Joe.
Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on January 11, 2014 9:55 pm
Including diocesan schools in the universal enrollment discussion should raise red flags. First of all, we don't know how many "high performing" seats actually exist in Catholic schools because they never publish their test results. Secondly, teachers at Catholic schools must sign a loyalty oath, promising to obey Catholic teaching. This created a problem at a local Catholic school where a teacher was fired for marrying his long time partner. Public school teachers- and public school children- are legally protected from this type of behavior. Thirdly, Catholic schools are not obliged to accept children with learning issues or provide a program that meets the needs of children in special education. Consequently, Catholic schools need to be removed from consideration in any discussion of universal enrollment.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 11, 2014 10:25 pm
Eileen All of your points are very important. Supporters of Catholic schools should not be so happy about the universal enrollment system including Catholic schools because it takes away the independence of the schools to select their students. What about students who attend a parish school who are members of that parish? Will that factor in to this mysterious algorithm? These concerns are in addition to serious concerns about church-state issues.
Submitted by SW Florida Web Design (not verified) on April 25, 2014 11:53 pm
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Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on January 11, 2014 9:45 pm
I would also like to say that all four of my children applied to Central from non-public schools. The process was not the least bit problematic or difficult. We applied in the fall and received acceptance letters in the early spring.I've heard that the application to some of the charter schools are twelve pages long. If so, then the acceptance issue is the charter's problem which they need to solve.
Submitted by Diane Payne (not verified) on January 11, 2014 11:28 pm
Well, once again, the school district is hosting a pretend public hearing on another bad idea. PSP is an organization whose goal is to privatize public education. Of course the next moves should be quiet ones. Secrecy, lack of public support, unethical choices, legally questionable choices, discrimination, and unequal rules are all the order of the day in the guise of school reform.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 13, 2014 10:34 am
Exactly right........................the wink and nod mentality.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 14, 2014 7:30 am
The most disturbing thing is that at the first public airing of this proposal, so little info was presented and the meeting was so heavily scripted. Our table disagreed with the majority of the presumptions behind the exercise questions, which were meant to prompt very controlled feedback that would support a need for UE. This is unacceptable, and the public needs to demand that the next meeting has open questioning so we can actually get substantive answers on the many glaring questions about UE. This planning has gone on far too long while being shielded from any real public vetting.

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