Thursday, 24 February 2011

Charter School

The Charter School Wars --- Why Public Schools Hate Charter Schools
Many public school authorities hate charter schools. Charter schools embarrass local public schools because they often do a better job educating children, for less money. For example, in the 1999-2000 school year, Ohio charter schools got $2300 less per pupil in tax funds than local public schools. Charter schools therefore spotlight regular public schools' failure to educate students with more tax money at their disposal.
Charter schools also take money away from public schools. Every child that transfers to a charter school makes the child's former public school lose an average of $7500 a year in tax money. This tax money is the life-blood of public schools. Finally, public-school authorities like their monopoly power over our children's education.
Charter schools are free from much of the regulations and controls that regular public schools have to put up with. Charter schools therefore threaten the public school monopoly because they introduce a little competition into the system.
School authorities often harass charter schools by reducing their funding, denying them access to school equipment or facilities, putting new restrictions on existing charter schools, limiting the number of new schools, or weakening charter-school laws.
They harass charter schools in other ways. For example, the Washington DC school district harassed a local charter school with an asbestos removal issue that forced the school to spend over $10 million in renovation costs. Local school districts have an arsenal of regulatory guns with which to harass charter schools, or reduce their numbers.
Teacher unions initially opposed charter schools. However, when charter schools became popular, the unions changed tactics. They now grudgingly give approval to charter schools, on certain conditions. They often push for district control over the schools, collective bargaining for charter-school teachers, or other restrictions.
The Ohio Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit that seeks to declare Ohio's charter school laws unconstitutional. Teacher unions use such lawsuits to try to stop or slow down the charter school movement. Also, Washington State, and some other states, still have no charter school laws partly because of strong opposition by teacher unions and other interest groups who oppose charter schools.
As a result of this harassment by state education bureaucrats, local school districts, and teacher unions, there are not nearly enough charter schools to fill the demand. In the 2001-02 school year, the average charter school enrolled about 242 students. About 69 percent of these schools had waiting lists averaging 166 students per school, or over half the school enrollment.

According the the California Charter Schools Association, there are close to 750 charter schools serving over 250,000 students in California alone. What is a Charter School?
Simply stated, a charter is an application to a state to create and manage an alternative school. History
The charter school began with the idea of simplifying the district's organizational structure to a relationship between teachers of a school and their local school board. Minnesota passed the first charter school law in 1991. Four of those are magnet schools, and four of them are charter schools. There are many charter schools with APIs below 500, as there are many traditional schools. There is no clear predictor of success, be it charter or school size, although magnet schools do have a higher success rate than schools in other categories.

Charter schools with more applicants than space use a lottery system, much like magnet schools do, to provide equal opportunity for admission. Charters can and generally do cap class sizes at lower levels than traditional schools. When the public drains public schools by bringing their energies to private and charter schools, resourcefulness is required to reinvent those abandoned students and crumbling school sites.
In 1996, then governor Jeb Bush co-founded the first charter school within the state of Florida, when most educators across the nation thought of charter schools as nothing more than a fad. The movement has mushroomed across Florida with charter school enrollment expected to top 100,000 students this year.
Though many charter schools are private businesses that operate under the guidelines of the state school board, many were traditional schools converted to public charter schools and still under the direction and control of the school districts, such as the Tampa schools.
Charter schools are given more flexibility from many of the regulations that apply to the traditional Tampa schools in exchange for greater accountability. Any individual or business that wishes to create a charter school can. Successful new approaches to education by some charter schools are copied by others. Clearly no longer just a fad, the Tampa schools lose many students (and the funding that goes with each student) to charter schools each year, and the numbers are on the increase. The Tampa schools now have 12 public charter schools converted from their traditional schools. A few have middle school grades included.
Charter schools within the Tampa schools' area, as well as across the nation, continue to produce mixed results. Most charters within the Tampa schools' area have a greater proportion of minority students than the traditional schools.


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