After Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans, being that Bush was flying overhead in a helicopter, many entrepreneurs thought the time had come to make the inner city into an all-charter district and show the world what free enterprise, competition, business morals (or lack thereof) could accomplish… Surely at worst, they’d be better than the public system which existed beforehand and they could all become wealthy while going public good by giving poor children a step up.
It has been 10 years… and by all indications… if this is what an all Charter District looks like, DELAWARE WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHARTERS WHATSOEVER…
A) Finding a charter school for a child with disabilities is impossible.
B) Schools advertising special programs, do not provide them.
C) Administrators lie to regulating bodies which then, must pull a Pencader, Moyer, or REACH upon the school.
D) All the schools violate special education laws. No school complies because it is cheaper to close a school and open a new one, than go through the process of complying.
E) New schools open. They get handed off to new charter operators. They close down.
F) One chooses a school out of 50+ elementary campuses. One is not guaranteed a spot near one’s home. Families submit a list in order of preferences and a computer makes a match, often sending ones child across the city.
G) In a city where 80% are low income, the time to research and visit new school choices before enrolling is not there. This is a huge stumbling block in the Charter mantra that parents are not limited to a failing school in their zip code. That may be true if you earn over $567,000 and have two partners as head of a family and several nannies only a phone call away.. It is not true for a single mom juggling 2 jobs to make $200 a week.
H) The Computer (called One-App) matches students and schools based on demand and number of seats available. Not on which match is the best for the student.
I) The highest performing charters still hold onto their selective policies, as in our local Charter Schools of Wilmington and Newark, and remain just as closed to the disadvantaged city students as they were when it was an all public district.
J) Charters use these tactics to not accept disadvantaged students by encouraging transfers, not reporting open spots, or marketing schools through invitation-only events.
K) A lawsuit filed in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged that the New Orleans’ charter schools served fewer students with disabilities than did district-run schools.
L) Several schools either flat-out turned away students with special needs or didn’t have the right teachers and staff to provide them necessary services.
M) To fix this problem, New Schools for New Orleans has been aggressively seeking foundation money and awarding grants to charter schools to expand their special education services. Ultimately costing taxpayer FAR, FAR, FAR more than public schools ever could.
N) Those changes were only driven by the 2010 lawsuit,
O) Overall. A system where the ultimate accountability rests on school closure is not sustainable for a family. They need stability: familiar classmates, teachers who know their students, schools that stays open, year in and year out.
We need now to eliminate charters. Not grow them... If the grand test-case to promote charters has been a complete failure, how can anyone expect a Delaware district with less national attention or desire to do right, to perform any better?
Rid ourselves of charters. We have seen their damage, and we don’t want it… You cannot have private enterprise whose sole purpose is to make profit, perform in a field where the sole purpose should be to give your child the best education that all the money available can provide… These two are pulling in opposite ways…
You cannot get good results when you have two diametrically opposite forces pulling you apart….