The super and board should be honest about charter schools, they love them!
Often the superintendent and members of the board bemoan the loss of resources to charter schools which is ironic because at tonight's school board meeting they have a lot of charter school business and none of it addresses these losses.
First there is the KIPP School. On the agenda it says KIPP has received grades of F, B, C and B, in reality however the C was grade protected from dropping to a D. Still compared to area schools not to bad but I think it is lost on people that they spend about a third more per child. I submit that if any of the neighboring schools had a third more resources they would easily outperform the KIPP School.
Then there is the River City Science Academy, the three closest schools to it have solid track records and two of them are under enrolled, since that is the case why is there a need for another school? This new charter will drain away resources from schools that can’t afford to lose them. Yet instead of saying no thanks please set up in a neighborhood that can actually use you, instead you are here to approve it.
Next they are amending the contract to several Renaissance Charter schools which are run by Charter Schools USA a for profit management company. Why not amend them to say the board of directors of the schools has to be local as several other districts are doing. The same board members serve on 40 or so charter boards in about a dozen cities. Shouldn’t local schools be operated by locals? Is that too much to ask? Furthermore other districts are also just saying no to these McCharter schools pointing out they are not innovative nor do they do a better job than the local public schools but not in Jacksonville, here they have been allowed to expand like there is no tomorrow.
They also have business with the Somerset group of charter schools run by Academia a for profit Management Company. I want to point out that expansion has been very bad for them. Two years ago their two schools had grades of A and B, they opened up two more schools and both of the grades of the original schools dropped and their two new schools both received Fs, the elementary school was the poorest performing school in North East Florida on the third grade FSA test.
Then there is the Lone Star high school also managed by a for profit management company. When compared to the district their performance has been abysmal but somehow they are about to parley that into a fifteen year extension how does that make any kind of sense?
I would like to remind everyone that they were elected to run our public schools not to outsource them to mostly for profit companies that quite frankly are not doing a better job.
If they are not going to take care of their responsibilities, then I wish they would do me this favor, stop complaining about charter schools and how they siphon away resources because your words expressing dismay and your actions which allow them to do it do not match up. In fact I would love for one or more of them to say, I would love to privatize all our schools, that would be honest and I believe a few of them are dying to say it.
Finally when they are dealing with charter schools they should ask themselves one question. Can they do a better job than our public schools? If the answer is no, then that should say no and work to get rid of them, if the answer is yes then we have much bigger problems than charter schools draining away resources.