Saturday, January 25, 2014

Charter Experiences: Citizens for Public Schools forum

Roy Belson (Medford superintendent)
Cheyvonne Roberts and Bernice Funchess (charter school parents)
Karen Kast-McBride (BPS parent organizer)
Barrett Smith (former tutor, MATCH)
Charlie Gallo (Lynn SC)
James Blatchford (Lawrence SC)

Belson: are these the best investment
level funded charter line: $28 million less than what will be required
total cost for Medford $4 million a year
$450,000 more cost to Medford this year
increase in aid is $158,000
already behind
"if the real reason for expanding charter schools was to close the achievement gap, how do you do that without dealing with the youngsters who are the achievement gap?"
new punishment law: how are they dealing with that?
bogus waitlists: "I've never seen a kid come off a waitlist"
teachers not meeting requirements for training; teachers burning out
"teaching is an art and a science"
just because a student can do well on MCAS...evidence is not good...doing well on MCAS, but not on other measures
"we don't educate kids to pass MCAS; we educate kids to go out into the real world, to go out into society and make an impact"
Not completing college at any greater rate: where is the added value?

Roberts: parent in BPS (mother of seven) and early educator
son suffered from being an African-American male
demerits for his tie being wrong, belt being wrong
"educated to be successful or educated to stand up and be a solider"
son "took on a different culture and that's how he got through the school"
youngest son expelled: had an IEP plan that they could not service
"tell a child in a wheelchair to get up and run...same as my son"
when he was out of school, where did the services come from? The Boston Public Schools!
chose to take him out due to demerit sheets and stress
"Charter schools are great at helping all students--they're great at that! They help them out by moving them out of their schools!"

Funchess: mother of six
"wanted (last son) to get a better excited to get into a school"
had never been suspended, had never gotten in trouble in school
fun-loving and "silly, just silly"
first year kind of a struggle
lots of demerits for not tucking in his shirt, forgetting his tie, laughing in the schoolyard
suspended for laughing on the school bus
repeated sixth grade
then seventh grade and told he'd have to stay back
taken out and sent to Boston pilot school
went to summer school after eighth grade
charter high school, talked of suspension
dropped out from BPS, took GED, accepted to Berkeley School of Music, doing well now

Kast-McBride: BPS parent, former BPS student
told a charter school that her daughter might need services, was told not to put her application in
"if you don't want my child, you don't deserve my child!"
nephew repeated seventh grade after he was suspended 47 days
suspended for forgetting his homework; he was on an IEP that he was taken off of
positions being cut every year at her child's (public) schools
meanwhile, 30 students returned right before MCAS

dug into BPS budget for per pupil allocation (done by grade level):

  • $4981 (9-12,3-5) 
  • $5364 (1-2,6-8)
(found a student from BPS being transported to Plymouth charter school each day...?)
Between $12,000 and $15,000 per pupil for a charter school pupil

Gallo: Lynn SC
Lynn 15,000 students $118M budget
82% low income, 30 languages
total of 26 schools
Level 4 status until last year
KIPP Academy gr 5-12, 800 students
costs $8 million each year
have petitioned to expand to serve lower grades
Bennox gr 5-9 354 students
LPS opening and reopening schools even as this money is being taken from us
what do you do about it?
SC passed a resolution opposing opening of charter schools in Lynn
enough with the "saving children" stuff from the charter school side

Smith: worked as a MATCH Corp member
You may know him from his EduShyster post
worked 40 hours a week for $8 an hour
"no excuses discipline at MATCH"
demerit system: students "earn" merits or demerits at MATCH
Courage, Perseverance, and Responsibility
many for "unprofessional behavior" like dress code
silence is very prized
Level 0 is absolutely silence which is during pass time and breakfast as well as other times
teachers, tutors, and administrators this year have issued 41,000 demerits to 250 students
one student has earned 630 tier A demerits
"the system doesn't work for a lot of students"
20% of student body that is routinely at Friday detention (2 hours silent in cafeteria facing wall)
"students become frequent fliers"
perception of students as good kids or bad kids
"highly racialized system...what students are we told need a no-excuses discipline model, and what students are we told don't need that model"
tutors are often fierce advocates for their students
"all social issues are interconnected"

Blatchford: Lawrence SC
new mayor fired superintendent who later was indicted
no superintendent for two years;
assistant superintendent running the system by herself
grades slipped but finances stayed afloat
two Level 4 schools
new majority on SC in 2011; a month later taken over by state as a Level 5 district
95% Latino district; city is 70% Latino
Commissioner calls Lawrence is "an experiment"
receiver appointed who brought in five charter schools to administrate public schools
can't kick any kids out "supposedly" but has one of the highest suspension rates
kids know that they are being treated unfairly treated by teachers in demerit system
"astounding to me that I, if I could not sit still, could be thrown out of" charter schools
tutors in charters paid $15,000 a year for full time work
one school run by teachers co-leading a school (Oliver Elementary Partnership School)
"if it's a model that succeeds could be an answer to charter schools. Teachers know what they're doing if you let them do it!"

No comments: