Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cream Skimming Charter Schools?

To continue the comparison of Public Schools: Status Quo vs Charters, Laurie provided this interesting link.  Forbes Unappreciated Success of Charter Schools
"The charter sectors’ ability to do better for poor students and black students is important given that they disproportionately serve them. I remember when I was an undergrad in the early 2000s, the debates on charter schools were far more theoretical than they are now. Back then I frequently heard the concern that charter schools were just going to engage in “cream skimming”, be a way for middle class white families to escape urban school systems, and thus serve as one more form of segregation in this country. This concern has not come true, and currently 53% of charter students are in poverty compared 48% for public schools. Charters also serve more minority students than public schools: charters are 29% black, while public schools are 16%. So not only do they serve more poor students and black students, but for this group they relatively consistently outperform public schools."
With this in mind, are all minority and free & reduced lunch students created equal?

Or are there 2 classifications within these groups?
  1. Poor families who are dedicated to improving their situation and responsibly raising their children to be academically and overall successful.
  2. Poor families who make little effort to improve their situation and think the state should be responsible for teaching & raising their children.
Now you are aware that I believe there are clearly multiple types of poor families, just as there are multiple types of other families. Some are hard working and seeking to be successful, whatever that means. Others are lazy, criminal, dependent, etc.

If I am correct, which children do you think get signed up to attend Magnets, Charters and Private schools? And which children show up at the doors of the Status Quo school?

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4 Image 5 Image 6

Now I am not trying to belittle the efforts of the Charters, Magnet or Private schools. I am over joyed that some children are seeing better success in these. Just as I am happy that some kids see more success when their Parents move the family to a "better school district" or open enroll their children into it. This is great for the kids with caring responsible Parents.

I think it is important to remember though that as these kids/families leave the Status Quo community school, that Status Quo's school's challenges just increase in complexity. So be pragmatic and careful when comparing results. Thoughts?


jerrye92002 said...

I'll repeat my comment of the previous conversation:

"See the magnets, charters and privates only get children if their Parents care enough and are capable enough to apply for admission..."

Can I call a foul, here? How DARE you suggest that only parents with the resources to choose a school care about their children? How can you condemn parents for not making the best choice when you have offered them no choice at all? And how can you possibly stand by and allow the non-choice they are offered and commanded by law to accept, to deteriorate so badly that the kids would be better off, educationally, at home watching TV, while the public schools spend atrocious sums doing it?

Furthermore, I still contend that forcing these kids into failing and even dangerous schools has a very negative impact on what you think makes good parents. It induces a hopelessness that compounds the likelihood of failure but it is NOT the natural condition of these parents or their kids, rather an artifact of the awful schools.

Anonymous said...

This concern has not come true, and currently 53% of charter students are in poverty compared 48% for public schools.

do you think 48 percent of the kids in public schools are poor?


R-Five said...

Let's make a deal. You take the average state aid, pin that to the student's collar. (Yes, a voucher.) You then take the gap between average and Mpls average, pay parents half if their students beat just half the applicable achievement gap. Who besides the entrenched failures loses?

John said...

Then I will repeat my response here also...

"How DARE you suggest that only parents with the resources to choose a school care about their children?"

Parents do not need resources to apply to attend a charter or magnet school. They just need to make the effort to fill out a form on time. Based on the demographics of our RDale magnet schools, there are many parents who do not make that effort.

That is why they are much less diverse than our district schools...

How dare you ignore these dead beat parents who neglect their children? And ignore the needs of these most unlucky of children?

John said...

The numbers do seem high. Maybe they are only counting urban schools.

John said...

R Five,
What actual numbers would you like to use for the discussion?

Based on my previous RDale guesstimate. If the average Mpls cost per student is $22,000, then the lucky students probably only cost ~$10,000, the unlucky kids ~$16,000 and the special needs kids between $30,000 and $150,000.

For simplicity let's say the average state aid is $14,000.

So you want to give a $14,000 voucher to every child, whether they are lucky, unlucky or special need? And you want to give high achievement students an additional $4,000?

Personally I think that would be an excellent deal for my family. I get a voucher for more than what it costs to educate my nerdy well behaved girls, and we get $4,000 per year for their college account.

What am I missing here?

John said...

To finish my thought, now that windfall of $8,000 that my family attained had to come from somewhere. Who loses in this scheme?

My bet is that one group is the unluckiest students. Their voucher will be less and it is unlikely their parents will be able to change significantly enough to earn the $4,000 bonus.

You are correct that union employees would lose some as those jobs went away. Though the need for Teachers in the private market may drive comp higher.

John said...

Can't forget the facts and data.

Checkout the demographics variation between our district and it's magnets. And this is with special efforts in place to pull in minorites and poor kids.

Rdale vs Rdale STEM

Rdale vs Spanish Immersion

These are free schools with free transportation. No extra money needed at all. The parent just needs to care enough to apply.

John said...

And don't forget to note the great test results in the magnets.

Those must be great schools... Or maybe...

jerrye92002 said...

"Those must be great schools... Or maybe... "

Or maybe there is an EXPECTATION set in these schools that is not set in the MCLB (Most Children Left Behind) schools? A magnet school, by definition, pulls children into and through a more challenging curriculum, while a non-magnet school tries to PUSH kids up to the basics. Seems like a world of difference to me.

jerrye92002 said...

R-five, I'm not quite understanding your proposal, and neither, obviously, does John. Let me reiterate the one I have been making for years and see if it comes close.

I would give EVERY parent a voucher for the average State aid that goes to a child in that District. So, a MPLS parent gets maybe $18,000 and a Faribault parent gets maybe $9,000. The parent then has to get the child educated, by taking that voucher to a PUBLIC, private, or charter school, or teaching them at home or online. Doesn't matter, so long as the kid makes adequate progress based on some kind of test. Obviously, if the kid does better than average for less money, the parent gets to put the excess in their pocket. Sound right?

R-Five said...

My main point was to incent the yes, currently under-involved parents, into getting more involved. That's futile if you can't change schools. So, e.g. Mpls, pin $12k to the student, give parent $5k if student conquers at least half of the achievement gap. That could go for a still better school, transportation, tutors, etc. But even if it goes for cigarettes, the kid is still better off academically. And the MPS doesn't get to squander the remaining $5k, which can now be spent on a new soccer stadium or a bullet train to the Hinckley casino.

John said...

I am just happy that at least one of you is willing to acknowledge that irresponsible, incompetent and/or lazy parents are a causal factor in the academic failures.

I can't argue that financially incenting these Parents may help, though it is frustrating that we would be paying tax dollars to someone to encourage them to be a responsible parent.

John said...

Of course I am not sure how well this will work since many of the Parents with children who are academically failing, were academic failures themselves.

Remember: This lack of knowledge and skills is part of why the parents are poor...

jerrye92002 said...

Actually, John, BOTH of us are willing to admit that irresponsible parents are part of the problem. However, I believe that the truly irresponsible ones are a tiny fraction of what you think they are. That would be the addicted, who cannot even be responsible for themselves and, most likely, would have their children removed if it were prosecuted. Every other "unlucky" kid's parent-- perhaps 50-80% of the total students, depending on the school, I would put in the "discouraged" category, where they still WANT something better but have lost all hope of getting it. Being forced to send your kid to an unsafe school that doesn't give a whoop whether they learn anything or not will do that to you.

It isn't a question of what percentage of unfit parents you envision, anywhy, that's a matter of your personal perspective, which I cannot imagine being true. What matters here is that you seem to be attributing the failure of inner city schools to this factor alone. What responsibility does the school have, in exchange for the $20,000/year we give them for each kid? Why is it when true choice, like "opportunity scholarships," are offered the number of parents lining up to get one is 10, 100 or even 1000 to 1? Certainly not all of your deadbeat parents stayed in the bar that day? If that many parents want out, why must they stay in these failing schools? Why do we have No School Left Behind, rather than No Child?

jerrye92002 said...

"...Parents with children who are academically failing, were academic failures themselves."

There you go again. Please explain how public education is a public good and "the great leveler" if the schools cannot educate any child beyond the academic level of their parents. Maybe we should just leave those kids at home and let the parents teach them? /snark off/

Actually, studies have shown that leaving kids home in front of the TV often teaches them more than they learn in (a failing) public school. If that isn't an indictment of the school I don't know what is.

jerrye92002 said...

And I still say that before you criticize these "deadbeat parents" for not making a better choice, you MUST offer them an actual choice. And if you DO offer all parents an actual, reasonable, choice, the vast majority of those you now call irresponsible will suddenly take that responsibility, and gladly.

On the flip side, given the opportunity to vastly improve academic outcomes or to continue to fail kids in the same old hidebound way, the schools choose to blame the parents or demand more money. That's irresponsible.

R-Five said...

While certainly generally not deadbeats, it's too easy to just call under-involved parents "discouraged." No matter how limited their choices in leaving or even improving the "free" school they were assigned by zip code, they also bear ballot box responsibility for allowing this to continue.

As we remember Dr. King's legacy this weekend, imagine if parents in Minneapolis were to stand arm in arm against the status quo the connected and the comfortable have built.

jerrye92002 said...

Not saying it can't happen as you say, but it doesn't, very often. The School Board elections are usually held, deliberately, in odd years, so that turnout is terribly low. The people that turn out are the teachers and their unions, and the people with kids in the school, both of which want more money spent to benefit themselves. Direct benefit in the case of teachers, and ASSUMED benefit in the case of parents. Furthermore, the Board isn't paid enough to make hard decisions about budget matters, even were they so inclined, which they are not. It's too hard to tell a parent they can't have a ski club for the kiddos, so everything in the budget is "top priority." It's even harder to tell the teachers' unions "no," since they were the ones that elected you and can put you out of business with a strike or legal action. Face it, the status quo is a powerful thing, and the only way it can be smashed, IMHO, is by a strong outside force, like a universal voucher program or forced closings of failed schools. Otherwise, what incentive can schools possibly have to do better? Professional pride (for union teachers, mind you) doesn't take you very far.

No, the only time I have seen minority citizen action work was in Chicago, where the schools were sued because of unequal results, and a few schools were forced to "reconstitute."