LOGO-L> charter schools 
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 LOGO-L> charter schools

 This is from a discussion on another list. By posting it here I was hoping to
obtain some more information about the prospects of charter schools as vehicles
of educational innovation, including but not necessarily, adoption of intensive
logo integration into the curriculum.
-- Bill Kerr

This is a summary from the ASCD web site - http://www.*-*-*.com/ re charter
ASCD publications have carried a fairly even handed debate about charters
as one kind of educational refrom strategy.
The web site currently contains a month by month list of education reform
projects on the web and on line discussions.

Charter Schools
An Infobrief Synopsis
 Education Issues 1997 . Research-based dialogue
By early 1996, forty of the states in the United States had either
authorized charter schools or were considering legislation to authorize
these innovations, according to the Center for Education Reform. By
December 1995, ten states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico had approved
271 charter schools, and nearly 20 more states considered charter school
legislation in 1995. The movement towards charter schools reflects the
broad-based public discontent with centralized state or district control,
bureaucratic rigidity, and uneven progress in student performance. The
1990s may be defined by accelerated decentralization, community power
sharing, school-based management and autonomy, and other "bottom up"
reforms. Charter schools may represent a reform of public schools that
stops short of market-based approaches such as privatization and vouchers;
charters keep the "public" element in public schools.

The model charter school is:

funded directly through student enrollment,
formed through a contract between organizers/managers (teachers, parents,
other public or private groups) and sponsors/overseers (universities or
local, county, or state boards of education),
accountable--on penalty of non-renewal--for specified student outcomes,
exempted from most state or district laws and regulations (apart from
health, safety, and nondiscrimination safeguards), and
nonselective, nonsectarian, tuition-free, and based on choice.
In practice, however, charter schools often vary greatly from the model on
key matters such as contractual and budgetary autonomy and personnel
oversight. The existing and proposed charter schools vary significantly on
major issues, such as legal autonomy, funding, regulatory exemptions,
accountability, and the approval process.
At the federal level, two major pieces of legislation in 1994 provided
support for the concept of charter schools. The Improving America's Schools
Act includes a new federal grant program authorized at $15 million to
support the design and implementation of charter schools. The Goals 2000:
Educate America Act permits states to draw on specified federal funds to
promote charters.

Several researchers have conducted preliminary studies on the relationship
between the level of autonomy charter schools have and their capacities for
wide-ranging innovation. Early studies reveal that the charter schools have
had only marginal impact on overall enrollments or improvements in the
performance of at-risk populations. Charter innovations have been largely
incremental, restricted, or problematic in most states.

One likely explanation for the lack of sustained, observable innovation in
charter schools is that decentralization and autonomy have been the
exception, not the rule. Another is that newly localized teacher/parent
administration and self-governance have been burdened with problems and
conflicts. A lack of adequate funding for transportation, facilities, and
classroom materials, as well as for special education programs, also has
slowed charter school progress and innovation.

The tension between schools and districts may be another factor in the
limited early success of charter schools. The variable processes of charter
approval, decision making, and control of personnel and funding have placed
extra strain on communities trying to adopt charter schools. Union concerns
and tensions over certification, salary, and tenure guarantees will likely
continue as charter boards pursue separate negotiations and cost-cutting.
Most stakeholders agree that educators and communities must assess the
direction and performance of charter programs before they draw conclusions
about the broad promise, applicability, and appropriate design and
conditions of successful charter models.

>Bill Kerr wrote
>> I don't see how it is possible to introduce innovation in any significant
>>in the government system as it now operates... the culture and the model is
>>pathologically opposed to risk taking. There are no processes in place that
>>support or reward innovation. Innovative proposals are not trialled or
>>critiqued, they are simply ignored or patronised.

>There have been many innovations, particularly in pedagogy and the
>curriculum that have been led  by the public system.  If local management
>was a panacea, private schools would  be the educational leaders - clearly
>they aren't.  It is instructive to talk to people who work in private
>schools  in Adelaide, even those which have a progressive hi-tech image -
>they have many of the same problems that we have in terms of inadequate
>resourcing, some mediocre staff etc. They just spend more on their image
>than we do and they filter their intake.  There are  genuinely innovative
>schools in both systems.

>> To take the example I know best: constructionist computing. That was
>>begun in
>>a Private School (MLC, Melbourne) -- they have been doing it for 9 years
>>now --
>>and it is highly successful. Since then the idea has spread to a number of
>>Private schools around Australia (mainly Melbourne but also Qland, Sydney
>>Adelaide). In all cases it has been very successful.
> At the same time as MLC started a similar experiment was started at
>>government school in Queensland (laptops, immersion with logo). It was
>>successful at Coombabah. After 4 years funding and support was withdrawn
>>Coombabah and the innovation folded. The innovative teachers then migrated
>>to the Private system.

>Once again, local management does not solve this sort of problem - in fact
>it can exacerbate it by shifting the locus of both control of limited
>resources and the political odium associated with declining resources away
>from the Ministry to the school.  Local management will not stop
>governments having fads and favourites.

>The bottom line remains the bottom line.  Freedom to deploy inadequate
>resources means that the tinkering at the edges takes place at the school
>level.  I'd be a lot more comfortable about the enthusiasm for local
>management if it came with a guarantee that the savings from the
>efficiencies generated stayed with the school.

>Notwithstanding these concerns, I am very interested in the possibilities,
>having seen both as a principal and researcher the corrosive effect of some
>of our staffing practices on attempts to innovate.



Wed, 17 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> charter schools


My biggest problem with Charter Schools is how precious they are.
President Clinton proposes 3,000 more charter schools across the USA over
the next few years - what a drop in the bucket! Charter schools seem to
be about, I got mine, you get yours. Ambitious beauracracy-savvy parents
petition the government to secede from the system to benefit their small
community. The charters are not automatically bastions of constructionism

All schools need to be charter schools.


Wed, 17 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> charter schools

In Cleveland $5.25 million in voucher money was given out to allow 1,994
students to attend charter schools. Only 664 of them were former public school
students. Where did the other 1,330 students come from? What about the 40,000
poor inner-city students who didn't get the voucher? My fear is that charter
schools and vouchers are just another way to siphon tax dollars into private
hands. We would better serve kids by fixing what's wrong with public education.
Mike Maveal

> All schools need to be charter schools.

> -=Gary
> ---------------------------------------------------------------

 Here !! Here !!

There is also really nothing "charter" about charter schools. What they are
trying seems to me to be stuff that has been around for a long time.
Quality Schools initiatives have been around since the time of Dewey. It
alos appears that the charter part may have more to do with mangement of
the staff than educating the students. Administrators are less tied into
district or union power structures which can be either good or bad.
All schools should be quality, all schools must be charter in the BEST
sense of the word.



Brehm Preparatory School
Carbondale IL


Mike Maveal


Fri, 19 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 [ 3 post ] 

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