Sorry to disappoint charter haters! I am not going to bash Odyssey Charter School

Odyssey has make advancements towards “diversity”!  School leaders Nick Manolakos is doing a GREAT job and is very in-tuned to diversity concerns.

Now as far as Odyssey’s and and any other charter school lining up crying foul re: capital funding! TFB 

Delaware charter school laws are flawed and seeded with racism crafted by people with no moral conscious. The playing field needs to be level with open admissions with blind lotteries. Charter school application should be simple! Name, address and phone number. No transcripts from current schools, no asking about IEPs, no asking about income. Public school should not reject any student that applies. Yes we have Choice schools with many schools closed to Choice due overcrowding!  The call for education reform in America has been centered on the achievement-gap. To create charter schools to serve honor level students and excluded at-risk student is immoral! HOWEVER, we can blame the charter school leaders and schools all we want! But at the end of the day the law dictates all!  

Try and debate the charter school law without naming any charter schools. Not an easy task but that is where the debate is. I am not going to bash parents who chose the Choice option such a charters that is best for that child. They are only parents wanted the best for their child.   

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16 responses to “Sorry to disappoint charter haters! I am not going to bash Odyssey Charter School

  1. Publius e decere

    Maybe a little Mitt Romney channeling is in order here:
    “Honors students are people, my friend”

    As for whether or not certain schools are “excluding” at-risk applicants, you might be looking in the wrong pocket. Look again, carefully, and report your findings rather than your presumptions.

    Publius

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    • kilroysdelaware

      The point is all public schools should serve all students and not discriminate. Honor students have been provided for form many years by traditional schools. The movement to reform public schools was about addressing the needs of students who fall below the achievement gap. Not creating super honors schools

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    • Publius e decere

      Many people might disagree with your premise that honors students have been “provided for” by traditional schools. If one or more schools — within the overall system of public schools — develops a record and reputation for serving (aka, providing for) the needs of high performing students then families of those students will line up to get in. The evidence will be market based. Look at waiting lists and academic outcomes to see which schools are best serving this population.

      The system of public schools has a wide variety of school types: traditional, special, alternative, magnet, vocational and charter. This variety makes the system general and efficient. Over time, as public demand becomes evident, we should trim down or eliminate the low-demand schools and expand-support-and-house the high demand schools.

      The movement to reform public schools was about creating alternatives. We can easily resolve the rhetoric about the purpose of public schools by seeing exactly what our elected legislators and governors have put into the legal Code over time. Not what people said or postured about individually, not what others “recall” or otherwise dig up from their personal files. Let’s stick to what the legislators collectively agreed on by looking at what they actually reduced to language in the law. Looking at Title 14 we see the agreed purpose:

      § 201 ___ “The system of free public schools throughout this State shall be general and efficient.”

      § 501 ___ “The purpose of this chapter is to create an alternative to traditional public schools operated by school districts and improve public education overall by establishing a system of independent “charter” schools throughout the State.”

      The essence is this: The public schools operate within a system of schools. The system is intended to improve public education overall. The system shall be general and efficient. The charter schools within the system provide an alternative to traditional schools operated by districts. The fact that charter schools are an alternative to traditional schools, both types being within the system, is primary evidence that the system has been designed by our duly elected legislators to embrace different types of schools provided that somewhere in the system there is something for everyone.

      The people asked for, received, and continue to support having the charter school alternative within the system of public schools. Innovative districts like Red Clay have authorized district charters, cooperated with state charters which serve their population, and have also created magnet schools and magnet programs as their own district-run alternatives to traditional schools. The market has reflected Red Clay’s overall success in the form of rising enrollments, rising home demand and rising positive net choice. Red Clay has the answer. Certain naysaying districts do not, nor do certain nutty representatives in Dover.

      If the system is not meeting the needs of students below the achievement gap, then look hard at the gap and determine — without histrionic rhetoric — what exactly those unmet needs are. And do it early, don’t wait for third grade or middle school or high school. When the unmet needs are identified with an actionable definition and with clear outcome goals, then have the schooling system focus on addressing only those needs which should properly be addressed by the school system. Address the schooling needs toward the identified goals and measure the outcomes at a student level and at a system level. If the intended outcomes fail to appear, then change the approach. Prompt action, with high expectations for families, students, teachers and administrators. No opting out, no social promotion, no passing the buck, no three-year trial periods and no exceptionally-shrill whining.

      Publius

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    • Steven Fackenthall

      ” we should trim down or eliminate the low-demand schools and expand-support-and-house the high demand schools.” What is a “low-demand school? Who determines if it’s low-demand? AND…by those standards, if it is considered, where do those children who attended the school go?

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    • Publius e decere

      What is low demand? We could try to measure enrollment percent of capacity? No, “capacity” is not objective, it moves around every year based on optics and adinistrative discretion. How about enrollment per square foot of building space? When this kind of objective usage drops below the public school average use of space then the “school” — meaning the school building — is in low demand, And that school’s space consumption should be redeployed.

      We hear alot of whining about class size. But the reality is that public traditional schools — who have the monopoly on taxing the public for their buildings — use their space far less efficiently than do public charters and public magnets. There is no simple published metric to capture this reality, although it can be calcualted from the public record. And the traditional schools are not having to infringe their operating funds to pay for the inefficient use of these buildings, they have a separate tax pool to cover it Charters absolutely trade off operating funds for capital funds to make ends meet. The net difference between the two types of public schools is ALOT OF DOLLARS per student per year. Let’s even the field.

      No need to throw students out. Just have the current public building students shuffle-left (or shuffle0right if that suite your political proclivity) into a reasonable consumption of space to make room for other public schools in the newly available space. So that the building average space consumption by public schools is equitably distributed.

      Co-location. Embrace it for all public schools in the system.

      Publius

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    • Publius e decere

      Kilroy,

      Your blog settings are possibly fouled up on this thread. Some deriviative comments are in sequential order, others are not. I can follow it based on date/times, but some of your more challenged readers (e.g., Wild-Haired-Kj may have trouble with the gymnastics.

      Publius

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    • kilroysdelaware

      “Your blog settings are possibly fouled up on this thread.” Don’t drink and blog!

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    • Publius e decere

      Funny. In a funny sort of way.

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    • @kilroy,
      “The point is all public schools should serve all students and not discriminate.” AGREED, unless your view of discrimination is that students unwilling or incapable of satisfying the demands of the educational model should be given opportunities they will squander, abuse, or disregard. In that case, the appropriate word is there should be “qualification” to have access to the limited resources.

      “Honor students have been provided for form many years by traditional schools.” Regrettably and In my strongest of opinions, they are not. They might “offer” options at the H/S level but that’s after 8-9 years of lowest common denominator curriculums and heterogeneous mixing to satisfy the self esteem above all else and crabby patty crowd.

      “The movement to reform public schools was about addressing the needs of students who fall below the achievement gap.” This is but one component of a much broader and comprehensive list of “need to do” things to truly reform public education. ((student and teacher) behavior, (student & teacher) accountability, academic rigor, uniform standards, and efficient use of funds are but a handful of “reforms” needed.)

      “Not creating super honors schools.” In contradiction to the earlier statement of TPS’s accommodating honors students, apparently there is an extremely high demand for this type of education that our TPS’s have woefully underserved, otherwise there would be no demand or interest to create these types of environments.

      Maybe providing at risk students with specialized environments of their own would be appropriate to properly accommodate these at risk students. Why do our TPS’s not do this on their own instead of mass distribution? Why would that be a responsibility of a charter school which has less resources than the fully funded TPS?

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  2. lastDEconservative

    ” … we can blame the charter school leaders and schools all we want! But at the end of the day the law dictates all!”

    Kilroy proves the old stopped clock adage again!

    Now turn, if you will, in your hymnals to no. 348, to the part where the creators of the law stand aside and “exceptionally shrill-ly” whine about the law’s results as if they are a disinterested third party observers, deeply offended by and self righteously damning of the creators of the law, and determined, by God, to right the injustice perpetrated by the scoundrels.

    Kwacko? Beldar? Frere Jacques?

    Once again, huzzah to Chambers and Co., press on, dear friends, press on.

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  3. lastDEconservative

    Meanwhile, elswhere out on the schooling (not education) desert, just now landing with a thud among the cacti, this gem (source: Wall St. Journal).

    “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the occasion of the birth of his first child to announce that over the course of their lives, he and his wife Priscilla Chan will give away 99% of their Facebook shares, currently valued at about $45 billion.

    Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, a doctor, said their daughter is named Max. The couple will make their philanthropic donations through a new entity, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Its initial areas of focus will be “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a lengthy letter to his daughter.”

    *** Personalized Learning ***

    Given Zuck’s young age, I’d say we can all rest easy that all the things we argue about and lament today will be solved in 40 or 50 years. Especially given the head start his money has by following Bill Gates’s. So, let’s give it a rest. Who (besides Freres Jacques or JoKo oNo) can know better than Zuck what’s best for M’s kids? Well, that and the fact that personalized learning is how it was done in America for the first 150 successful years of its life …

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  4. I have never bashed a parent’s ability to choose something for their child. What I bitch about is the set-up for that choice. There was absolutely nothing in the original charter school law that allowed for that. The charters were meant to be differentiated schools that shared best practices with the districts. But what happened as a result was not what was intended. I think the spirit of that original law may actually come back into play after 20 years. As long as we don’t do this with an end result being closure of traditional public schools, than it could happen. But, in that original law, it was written very specifically about how charters were to operate. Any charter can and should follow that original law. No student should ever be denied entrance or access to a proper education no matter what the adults do. See Kilroy, not one charter mentioned!

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    • Publius e decere

      “The charters were meant to be differentiated schools that shared best practices with the districts.” Nope.

      The law was written by the creators very clearly: public charter schools are created to be “an alternative to traditional public schools operated by school districts”.

      As for sharing, it is an initiative for an organization which wishes to improve itself. In business they call it benchmarking. The learning organization, wishing to improve its practices, reaches out to other organizations where the desired best practices are in effect. Are the districts taking any such initiatives in reaching out to charter schools? If and where so, are those districts being turned away by the best-practicing charter? Examples please.

      Publius

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  5. lastDEconservative

    The estimable M Ryder just said, “Maybe providing at risk students with specialized environments of their own would be appropriate to properly accommodate these at risk students.”

    Last concurs. I called such accommodations “workhouses,” right Break?

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    • Publius e decere

      Said differently — are there any district schools which mix students of widely varying abilities in the same classrooms and nonetheless get superior results from all ability levels? Maybe one of their advocates can name these best-practices schools with these superior outcomes and then the oter public schools will know who to approach to learn these best practices.

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      First of all, Pub, how unfair (or is it inequitable?) to confront the advocates (good, simple, correct term) with a truth they cannot argue?

      “Maybe one of their advocates can name these best-practices schools with these superior outcomes and then the other public schools will know who to approach to learn these best practices.”

      Of course you meant to say, ” … so the others will know who to CONDEMN AND STAY AWAY FROM … ”

      Forgiven. Easy slip.

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