Education

Charter schools unfairly held to higher standard, some say

Posted May 6, 2010

— A new state policy that went into effect this year says charter schools must have at least 60 percent of students passing state standardized tests and meeting expected growth.

Schools that don’t meet the criteria two out of the next three years will be closed. Some charter school leaders said they think their programs are being unfairly targeted.

School, student Charter schools unfairly held to higher standard?

“It does not apply to traditional public schools,” said Carroll Reed, director of Southern Wake Academy.

North Carolina is home to 96 charter schools. Six did not meet the 60 percent threshold last year, including Southern Wake Academy.

Traditional schools get additional resources and funding from the state. Charter schools get state and county per pupil allotment dollars but have to pay for their own buildings.

“The charter schools are given a higher standard and a different standard over the traditional schools,” Reed said.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison says a different standard is fair because charter schools are different from other public schools.

“That’s not a high standard at all,” he said. “They’re freed from some of our rules and regulations and policies. They’re autonomous, and in return for that autonomy, there needs to be results.”

If the State Board of Education implemented the policy three years ago and applied it to all public schools, the John Locke Foundation says 164 schools would face closure.

78 Comments

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  • wwyoud May 7, 6:15 p.m.

    davethomas25: "You have no idea how these formulas are calculated!"
    If you know how these formulas are calculated, please let us know. I thought the standards were adjusted for those who had disabilities. For those students who are unchallenged by disabilities, but who are not up to grade level - again, I thought that was a main argument for charters, that they could use unconventional teaching methods to help these kids. IMHO, any school that allows students to graduate without being able to qualify for at least a 2-yr college degree should be shut down. Granted, teaching to a test doesn't seem to be working so well, but there must be some common standard to which all taxpayer-funded schools can be measured.

  • common_sense_plz May 7, 9:56 a.m.

    One of the reason charter schools began. Families disliked having thier child put in a different school every year and bused clear across the county. Plus schools were getting more and more violent, to the point where now the students control the school, and staff at traditional public schools cannot nor allowed to control these students or dicipline in any way shape or form. Now in Charters you have to be dedicated to your child and the school. Misbehavior is not tolerated, as it disruptes the class and the school and prevents other students from learning. So these are some of the reasons parents put thier children in charter schools. There is no doubt in my mind that the majority of Charters will meet these new standards, however looking at traditional public schools could never be held to the same standards, as we know many themselves will fail.

  • bill0 May 6, 4:06 p.m.

    While charters don't technically get to select the better students, the application process does it for them. Anybody going to a charter school needs parents who are committed enough to research the options, put in an application, and make special arrangements for their kid to get to school and related activities. If the parent isn't committed to education, then the kid isn't going to get in the school. That doesn't mean that charters get the top 10% of students, but it does mean they typically don't get the bottom 10%.

  • esprg May 6, 4:02 p.m.

    My son has attened a charter school since 1st grade. His school does hold each student to a higher standard. I often wonder do they learn anything else besides what is necessary to pass the EOG's. Right now he is in the 4th grade his teacher is dedicating his personal time not paid time to stay after school which is out @ 3:45 until 5:45pm every evening this week just so that the school can come out on top for EOG's. I like the small class setting and the personal attention the students get. The behavior code is extremely strict and really it's like a repeat offender w/the 3 strikes. So I see the good & bad, the bad is the school lacks a lot of supplies and extra curricular activities a regular public school will have, but again it was my choice to send him there so it is what it is.

  • hjlemon2 May 6, 2:22 p.m.

    Bill Harrison IS correct in his comment. Charter schools are like public schools in that they receive state money per student. They are unlike regular public schools in that they are exempt from MANY regulations that pertain to public schools.
    Because of these exemptions the standards need to be different.
    One must look at state law(s) to get the picture.

  • bk3s May 6, 2:01 p.m.

    My child attends a charter school. On Day 1 the Principal said, “This is a school of choice. It’s your choice to go here and it’s our choice to keep you here.” Meaning that if the student’s priority is not learning, that student will not keep the other kids from learning. Don’t get me wrong, the school will work with you, and try to help the kid out. They will give the kid a few chances. But if the kid is more interested in fighting, drugs, vandalism, clothes, boys/girls, and other distractions than they are in education; then that kid will not keep the others from learning.
    Give all kids an opportunity, but like the old horse & water saying: You can make a child attend school, but you can’t make them learn.

  • samwright23 May 6, 1:48 p.m.

    Charter schools should be held at a higher standard...they are still receiving public dollars but the students who go there are restricted...if you are going to call yourselves an "academy" than you should act like one. If you can't get 60% to pass, than you are a failure as a school, anyway.

  • blackdog May 6, 1:47 p.m.

    ...You know.... This Charter school buisness sounds profitabe to me. And, if we can lower the standards, raise or abolish the cap, we could build or convert strip malls, in chains all over the place.

  • Smiley30 May 6, 1:32 p.m.

    While charter school students are usually chosen by a blind lottery the schools get to choose who stays and goes based on discipline. For example, if one of their students refuses to wear the school uniform they can get booted from the school. If they get in any kind of trouble at all then they can be removed from school. The public schools don't have this kind of leeway in terms of discipline. Therefore as long as the students live up to their end of the bargain then they can remain at the charter school. If they don't toe the line then they are out. So basically they can pick and choose to remove discipline problems. This means that Charter schools don't have the discipline problems that public schools have. I wish public schools could have the same standards in terms of discipline because that would really help them out but they don't.

  • NoFreakinWay May 6, 1:23 p.m.

    Is there anyone besides me that detests the new format?

    yes, it sux!

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