Charter Schools: Dialogue Between Dumb, Greedy and Corrupt

How does a state-approved charter school get started? Here's one scenario that you should consider before deciding how to vote on Amendment 1162 Nov. 6. It would be funny if it were not so true.

Are there people out there just waiting to start charter schools but somehow cannot get them approved?  

Are there really charter schools that can operate on only the state's portion of the funding?  

Who are these people and what kind of schools are they wanting to open here?  

Changing the state constitution is a big request. Before we vote on Nov. 6, let's make sure we know exactly what is at stake.  

Here's one possible scenario:

"Gee, I wonder how we can start a charter school without a building or enough money to pay lots of teachers," says nonexistent person #1.

"Yeah, and the 13 other charter schools, dozen or so magnet and theme schools, IB program schools, technological schools and neighborhood schools are just not enough. By golly, I need another choice," says fictitious person #2.

"I have a solution," says slick dressed K-12 or "Connections Academy" or "Other New Online School" sales and marketing representative.  

"Wow, you look really smart," responds bozo actor #1.  

"That's because I am," says the K-12 associate with his General American dialect so as to not give any clue to the fact that he is from out of state, or even another country.

"Have you considered a virtual charter school? Here are some fancy pamphlets I just so happen to have on this high gloss, heavy weighted paper stock, so you know you can trust what is typeset onto its pages."

"Yeah, we thought about that," says well paid spokesmodel #2, "but our local board of education will never approve something like that. We tried and tried to get them to approve a school with a promise of less than 50% graduation rate and a high drop-out after less than a year attendance, but they didn't like that idea. And they have really low standards." 

"We can appeal to the state board of education, but they keep telling us we are broke and need to close schools, not start new ones. I'm guessing they wouldn't overturn the decision."

"Looks like we're stuck with the multiple options to choose from that we already have now. Plus, all the church-based schools and community schools. We are in the Bible Belt, after all."

"Don't forget about the private schools, honey. And the home school options," says the Man #1.

"Oh yeah, that's right. We have those options, too. Plus a state run online school and a local cyber-academy."    

"Awwwww.... that's too bad," says Mr. K-12 man. "I have an idea for a virtual charter school that I need to sell to someone stupid. I thought you might want to try convincing a bunch of parents who don't know any better and like the idea of free laptops to sign their kids up! Their moms or dads will likely be expected to stay home with them, of course."

"What makes your school better than others?"

"We were first."  


(awkward silence)

"And we have better graduation rates than other online schools, but not as good as brick-and-mortar schools."


(Man #1 and Woman #2 start to walk away. But then..)

"Say, did I mention that we make millions and millions in profit? And we hardly cost the school district a thing?" says desperate salesman from K-12. "As long as I can keep signing the suckers, errr... I mean, kids....up, we can keep hiding the actual churn rate of our attendance and bragging about our annual enrollment increases. The more I sell, the more money for me and my bosses."

"Wow, you must be rich!"

"Yes, but don't worry about that. Besides, I have to watch out for some pesky lawsuits coming from New Mexico and Virginia. Oh, and Florida, too, I think."

"Awwww, you poor, misunderstood salesman. It's tough out there, isn't it? Here, let me count how much money you might have in that wallet for me and my friend here. We might be able to help you out," says greedy snake in the grass #1.

"What's your idea, Jim Bob?" says idiot actress #2.

"Well, the way I see it, we can help each other," says paid actor #1. "I have this friend who is in the state legislature. You know, the people who make the laws n' stuff. I will tell him the problems with the local school board and ask if he can help me start a virtual charter school."

"Once he hears about all the money, he'll surely say yes!" says doll face #2.

"Right!  And then he can pass a law that says that some kind of a fake, made-up, overpaid board of people can approve our virtual school. Then we can hire Mr. K-12 here to run it for us and we won't have to worry about things like walls, ceilings, or teachers. We won't need libraries, or a football team or even books.

Think of how cheap this could be!"

"Then how will the kids learn?" says suddenly concerned accomplice #2.

"Who cares? Didn't you hear the man say he make lots of money?" says childless man #1.

"Yeah, but... I don't...."

"If we get the state to appoint a board and let them approve schools, then we can probably get a bunch of money, too!! You know, just like they promised the PTAs that kept quiet about the cell towers. Come to think of it, what ever happened with all that ... "

"But the kids..."

"Ma'am, don't worry about the kids. They will be fine. If they do not keep up, we have friends in the private prison industry who will be happy to take them in. They also make lots of money. Not your kids, of course. Other kids. Ones you won't even see because the school is online, remember??" says drooling K-12 representative as he gets out the contracts.

"Oh, I see. But, won't this take money away from the other schools?" 

"Yes, some of it, but we will take a lot of the kids away, too. So, that local group of elected folks will actually have fewer kids to pretend to be educating, until ours start dropping out, of course, and returning to their local schools. But we will have the funds up front. That's all that really matters to us. See, It's a win, win!"

"Except for the kids...."

"Yeah, yeah, the kids," says the man #1 as he signs the contract. "There's always THAT, but ... think of all the money! As soon as the plan gets rolling, you will have enough to put your kids in any private school you want, so who cares what happens to the charter after that? We'll be long gone before anyone notices that the drop-out rates are alarming, some of the teachers aren't certified, some classes have as many as 400 students in them at once, the money goes out of state to help a business stay out of Chapter 11, the people can't threaten to vote for a new board since they were appointed, or that the kids are only using their computers to play games and cyber-bully their friends. And, if one gets lost, dropped or stolen, their parents have to reimburse us for 3X what it cost us. Remember, this is GEORGIA. We're #49th in the nation for education. There is no way the people here would ever think of all of the possible outcomes. They are all stupid."

"Wow, honey, you are a genius."

"Yeah, I went to community college for a year before I dropped out."

"Do you think the people in Georgia might vote NO to Amendment 1162 on Nov. 6?"

"Not a chance. Remember, Mr. K-12 is putting lots of money into the advertising. And people here  will believe ANYTHING with a fancy slogan. Remember 'Untie Atlanta'? Oh wait... well, that was different... this will be different. It's for the kids."

"Okay, if you say so. Thank you Mr. K-12!"

"Don't thank me. Thank your legislators for joining The American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, so they can further the profit-generating ideas of big businesses like mine instead of protecting the rights of the people like they were elected to do. You can read about them here."

"And, we can thank our uninformed, easily misled or generally apathetic voters for not showing up at the polls even for a Presidential election," says smug man #1 counting his money.

"Yes, and thank you to K-12 and Connections Academy, T-mobile, ATT and all those sneaky little people behind the scenes who have quietly been laying the infrastructure to make this all possible while they thought we were not paying attention," says woman #2 as she books her plane ticket to Hawaii.

"Thanks are in order all the way around," says man in new leadership position of heading up a charter school for the kids #1. I can now say that I helped bring two great ideas together - profiting off the low achievement and lack of parental involvement in my community and a way to use technology to give the appearance of real education to an entirely new generation of families."

"And, by piggybacking off the national obsession with charter schools, we can use the good reputation of that phrase to trick voters into approving HR 1162 on Nov. 6. Funny how a country can be at war protecting freedom while at home they are willing to just give their rights away."


"Well, not funny ha-ha. More like funny / sad."

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Smoke Rise Mom October 16, 2012 at 03:59 AM
You open with three questions, to which I answer: 1. Yes!; 2. Yes!; 3. These are the people whose children have been victims of the "local" school boards for far too long. Desperation leads to innovation. Check out the Museum School. An amazing school approved by the state charter commission after being rejected by DCSS. After embarrassing DCSS as a successful state sponsored charter, DCSS was unable to refuse their petition to become a local charter when the supreme court overruled state charters By A VERY NARROW MARGIN. TMS is the best thing to happen to the CHILDREN of Avondale in 30 years. What is more LOCAL than parents and community members working their rears off to research, design, and implement a school that they think will be better for the children of their own community than the defunct "local" school board members are able to come up with? I'm very disappointed after following your efforts on the cell phone issue over the past years that you would trust the school board who sold out our kids' health to make better decisions than we, as parents and community members, would make. Even Cyber Schools using corporations allow us to better serve our own communities. Look at Smoke Rise Prep Learning Center. They are thriving as members of a state-approved charter cyber academy. As long as there is no REAL competition in public schools, there will be no changes, no innovation! To be contd...
Smoke Rise Mom October 16, 2012 at 04:27 AM
contd... Georgia students need this opportunity. After trusting the "local" decision makers (who live nowhere near me) for ten years, my kids are now at risk, so I have some questions too... Exactly how many more of their foundational education years do you want me to sacrifice to the local school board while i wait for the board to get it together? Why do you think they'll do better by my child than I will? How can you trust them to approve Charter petitions that go against their "traditional" models? Besides The Museum School, what locally approved Charter school is doing something drastically different from DCSS? Exactly what rights do you think this country is giving away by putting educational decisions into the hands of local communities/parents? What kind of educational freedom do you feel that you have now that you would be losing if the Amendment passes? (You have no say in anything to do with your local education system. You have the right to move to a better district when the economy improves... But that kind of goes along with my competition theory.) Who cares if a for-profit company can educate your child better than DeKalb has? It won't cost you more tax dollars. I'm quite sure there are for-profits out there who will do a better job managing state funds than DCSS is. And DCSS gets our local tax dollars without even having to educate our children! That leaves them with less staff to hire, smaller class sizes, fewer facilities to maintain... It is a win-win!
Jim Kinney October 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Cheryl, you must have been sitting in the corner in a meeting we are not supposed to know about! :-) Very funny way to point out the underbelly of the push for the constitutional change. Good job! Yes. Georgia school children already have more choices than they can take advantage of. If charter schools could actually deliver on their promise then charter schools would be the new normal. But they've been around for 20+ years and they churn out the same results as all the rest of the school options, not generally horrid but not good enough. We have a problem with our schools and there is no magic pill for a solution. Everything that everyone says is a problem is true. All of it. From underfunded schools, low expectations, too much TV and not enough reading, apathetic parents, imbecilic education leadership at the local, state and national level, "test teaching", corruption, exhausted teachers, to battling school boards, bozo politicians writing textbooks, and just plain stupid ideas, our school kids are getting less than they deserve and need for their future. With a laundry list of ills like that, how are we supposed to expect a magic solution with a single pill called "Charter School"? It looks like the adults making the decisions are also victims of the same laundry list of public school woes themselves and are just stumbling from one loud sound to the next like the zombie herds in "The Walking Dead". Maybe we should push to have schools taught by zombies.
Terry Funderburke October 16, 2012 at 01:18 PM
"If we get the state to appoint a board and let them approve schools, then we can probably get a bunch of money, too!! You know, just like they promised the PTAs that kept quiet about the cell towers. Come to think of it, what ever happened with all that ... " I just knew it would be in here. Obsession!!!
Bob Peppel October 16, 2012 at 08:55 PM
How else do we send the board a message? I am not in favor of charter schools on every corner, especially if the nearby shools have unsed space, but in overcrowded areas, they can help ease the problem. We also need some kind of contingency plan as we face the possible loss of accreditation.
Smoke Rise Mom October 17, 2012 at 03:37 AM
No one is saying that state-approved Charter schools are a magic pill. They are simply another free, public school option. Right now we have zero other options. You should be able to see that the reason Charter Schools are producing the same results as regular schools is because they can only be approved by the same people who create public schools. Let's give someone else a chance. There are NOT already enough choices in GA... there are practically NO choices outside of these locally approved schools that have the title "Charter". Their Charter Petitions weren't approved by local boards until they modified the Petition to be nearly identical to the regular school system schools. That's not really a choice. Breaking up this monopoly is the only way to motivate boards to get it together once and for all!
Smoke Rise Mom October 17, 2012 at 03:50 AM
This isn't a magic pill with a single solution - this is just a foot in the door to future solutions. Please don't let it slam shut! Let's show what LOCAL communities can do when we put our minds to it. Imagine for a minute that this issue is at the college level. Where would many of us be today If the county government decided there could only be two universities in each county, and that everyone must graduate from the one closest to their house? What would you do if the one near your house was ineffective and didn't offer your major, but the "good" university in your county had 300 students fighting for 3 open seats? It would likely NOT motivate you to want to stay in school. The education system is FAILING, and we have a chance here to grease the wheels of change. If we don't get out the WD-40, then how can we parents, look our children in the eyes and tell them we are doing everything in our power to make their lives better? The world has changed drastically in the last 30 years. Yet inside the walls of our local schools, very little has changed. We will not survive in the global economy if we don't try something new. And while the nation can take their time getting an overhaul off the ground, MY children need options now. I vote YES to letting the local school systems know that we expect more in this day and age, and YES to the Charter Amendment. Someone please tell me your BETTER plan? Will you just keep waiting for the overhaul? Must be nice to have that option!
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Bob, we already have a method for starting and approving charter schools in DeKalb County, and a process to appeal if a charter is denied. This amendment is about allowing a third approval source, consisting of seven people appointed by the Governor, not elected by the people therefore they do not have to be responsive whatsoever to what the community may or may not want. Since this commission would only be able to approve charters than can survive on the state-only portion of funding, the only type of school that would be able to exist like that would be a virtual school, which is what this whole thing is really all about. The state has consistently underfunded our schools for a decade. If they really wanted to help us, there are plenty of things they could have done by now. What they want to do is divert our pubblic tax dollars toward private companies that outsource education by underpaying teachers and shortchanging the students. Most drop out after a year, but the private company still keeps the student's portion of funding even after they have returned to their neighborhood school. This is a scam that is causing law suits in other parts of the U.S., as referenced in the dialouge above. Both of the bills sponsors (House and Senate) are part of ALEC, the group of legislators that allow big corporations to write model bills that they take back to try to pass in their states. Read more here: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Education_Task_Force.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Smoke Rise Mom, I appreciate your anger and frustration with our local school board, but I promise you that I have done my research and this charter school amendment will cause more harm than good. I am very familiar with The Museum School as we tried to apply for it and were unable to do so becuase we lived outside the attendance zone. Charter schools are supposed to be non-discriminatory so that they may help families seeking alternatives to failing or undesirable schools (or families that feel they must leave their neighborhood school so that their child does not suffer reprucussions when his/her parents wish to stop the system from building an industrial hazard in the middle of their neighborhood - which is what happened to my family.) The local board turned down The Museum School based on their charter including a limited geographic zone. The state board upheld that decision. The charter commission approved them which should not have happened, unless you believe it is okay to take public tax dollars that we all pay and use them to benefit only one community, above others, which is what would have happened. When the charter commission was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Museum School was able to change its charter as it should have done in the beginning and they were approved by the local board. They do have an outstanding concept and I wish them great success. Under this new charter, they would not have sufficient funding to survive.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 04:47 PM
This is only a foot in the door for a private company (or maybe more than one) that is not even based in our state to get their hands on our public tax dollars so they can profit. It isn't enough that these big corporations and their overpaid CEOs have harmed out economy with their corrupt and greedy business practices, but now they want to take our money without even giving us a voice in the process of selecting the people who will be spending it. If you live in Smoke Rise, are you aware of the secret dealings that have taken place between the Smoke Rise Charter Elementary School and the school board? Do you understand that the plan to put a cell tower at the school will significantly harm the property values in that very nice neighborhood and the people who live there were not even informed. The charter school will get a brand new school out of the deal, but none of the neighborhood children are even welcome there. The charter board snubbed the parents who rasied money over several years to build a new playground for the children and insisted that they turn over the funds so they could pay the secretary a double salary for handling an extra role. Meanwhile, the community is only permitted to attend PTA meetings via closed circuit from another room. You can't tell me that the local board isn't in favor of schools like this one. They love charters because it is less work for them and they have more power over them because they can threaten to close them more often.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I understand your wanting to defend the rights of the schools you mentioned, but those schools are approved and operational with full funding. This new amendment does not allow this state charter to allocate full funding. The schools would only receive the increasingly smaller portion of funding that the state provides each year toward all public schools. That doesn't leave them enough to pay rent on a building, hire teachers, outsource maintenance and janitorial services, provide a staffed lunchroom, provide any type of transportation, security and probably not even books. Just because this is an alternate approval source does not mean we should allow it. We can't afford the schools we have in our system right now. We have major budget shortfalls resulting in the loss of jobs across the entire system at the school level. How will taking money away from these schools, which already include 13 charter schools, help the kids? Do you actually know of any school that is awaiting approval right now that the local board refuses to approve because they consider it competition, as you have alleged? No, because there are none. If there are none, then who is behind this bill? Who is it that wants to open a school but needs to go through a method of special favors, special appointees instead of an elected board that is, if nothing else, able to be thrown out by the people if they would bother showing up to vote? I'll tell you - K12, Connections Academy or an affiliate.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Do you actually think that there is an adversarial relationship between the local school board and the state? Dr. Eugene Walker, our local chairman, is a former state Senator. Paul Womack, the school board representative who was the budget chairman when $100 million in cuts were not made and the one who brought the cell tower issue before the board when he should have been looking for a new Superintendent with some credentials is a former state lobbyist. The SPONSOR of the charter school amendment is Rogers is also a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He is the Georgia State Chairman for ALEC,-- in August 2011 he received ALEC's State Chair of the Year Award-- as well as on the ALEC Board of Directors, as of July 2011. One of his duties as a state chairman is to "working to ensure introduction of model legislation" (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/ALEC_State_Chairmen). Want to know exactly what the plan will be for education? Read about the model education bills here: http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Public_Education. Want to know how terribly it has worked out elsewhere? Read any of these pending lawsuits and complaints where this type of state commission was systematically put before voters who optimistically voted to approve it, thininking it would help them, just like you are doing. (see next comment post for links.) I may not have all the answers, but I know our state officials are not stepping in to offer help here.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 05:50 PM
In fact, the current funding of public education has continued to be unfair to DeKalb County, extracting more than $100 million dollars a year from our county to be redistributed to counties in other parts of the state that include Gwinnett. We need to keep our own money in our own county, esp. in the midst of an education crisis. We do not need the state taking a big chuck out and then out of the money they do allocate, taking half of it back for every student they can sucker into joining an online revolution that ends up being a scam. Kids need adult guidance, smaller class sizes, books, a decent buidling that doesn't have a giant cell phone tower right on top of it creating health problems and, for some, leading to issues like brain fog, buzzing in the ears, sleep distrubances, irritability, inability to concentrate, headaches and confusion. These are real, documented cases of an accepted medical condition called electromagnetic hypersenstivity disorder. It affects about 3% of the population and it more severe when they are near electromagnetic emitting devices, like wireless routers or cell phone towers. These towers were brought to our schools not for the money from the land leases, but for the money for private industry elite will make once their investment in state-run charter schools pays off for them. State-run charters that pay up front and do not have to follow the rules our other schools do with no guarantee of success, only an exit strategy. Who does that help?
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM
A solution? Vote responsibily in two years when our entire board is up for re-election. Get to know people in other parts of the county so you can advocate for all our children, not just your own. As long as the "leaders" can keep us all arguing with each other, they can get away with stealing our money, ruining our once-great school system with our once-great property values. I would support a bill that would allow us to ALL vote for ALL school board members so that, even in areas where people do not show up to vote in high numbers or even in areas with high concentration of freinds/family network that support the current failing system, we would all be able to work together to oust the corruption and find responsible people interested in doing right by the children and focusing on education. Charter schools have a purpose when they are meant to fill a void. This amendment does not do that. The void of special or unique instruction is filled by the charters, magnets, theme, IB, montisouri, and even online instruction options we already have. State-funded and approved schools will only bring harm to our existing system, leave many families in limbo each year they either worry about a charter closing or they pray to win a lottery to a "better" school. None of our schools are truly "better" than each other because they all get less than they deserve. We do not need more cooks stirring the pot and taking their fill of the "sauce" will we keep picking up the tab.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Speak up, yes, but not at the expense of other children or other schools. Demand what is best for your child's school, but also ask about the other schools that might be in the same situation as your's. If the Museum School would be forced to open under the conditions of this newly formed charter commission, they would not exist today unless the parents contributed significant funds. The Smoke Rise Prep you mentioned costs $250 in membership fees and another $250 in start up or application costs PLUS they supply their own computers and headphones. I don't know what you think about that, but it sounds like a private school if you ask me. We should not have to PAY for our children to get a public education. We should not have to give away our rights to elect the people who will be spending our money. If this new charter commission was going to be a group we voted for, I would have a different opinion. But, the way it is now, and knowing what I know about the people behind the scenes who have been working to pass this even after our Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.... there is no way I could vote anything other than NO. I hope you will research the links I provided and read about how this has unfolded in Florida, New Mexico and Virginia before making up your mind. And if you know someone who wants to start a charter - tell them to go for it. There is nothing stopping them with the laws we have in place right now.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 08:08 PM
ha ha, Terry! Thanks for noticing the subtle connection, but the realty is that the towers were and are intended for the schools' conversion to online curriculum. They just aren't admitting to the public that that is the plan. In order to run their real estate scam on all of us, they put my chid's school on a list for closure and then for a cell tower. SO, in my opinion, that means they (the school board / school system) picked this fight with me. And, as far as I am concerned, I won't go down without at least telling everyone I can about what they have done. When / if these cell towers and other wireless devices do turn out to causse cancer, at least my conscience will be clear that I did what I could to prevent it from happening, especially to innocent children. If I saw someone on the street tying to harm you or steal from you, I would do what I could to stop them or alert the authorities and I don't even know you. Why should this be any different?
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Jim, have you ever read about the psychology behind making choices and how too many choices actually can lead to overall dissatisfaction and anxiety? If we were not all so busy looking far and wide for the school that we thought was "the best" and instead we all worked to make our neighborhood schools what they should be, we would be happier with the end result. I know the kids would be much better served being able to go to school with their friends from the neighborhood and being about to easily visit each other over the summer or on the weekends. I know communities would get behind a school to keep it open and clean up the grounds or provide donations if they actually knew one of the kids who went there or saw kids they knew walking home from school. Instead, we allow our leaders to say "parent involvement" is the answer, but then they turn around and spend millions upon millions in gas, vehicles and drivers to keep our children away from home for longer and longer stretches at a time. As an adult, I know that some of the worst parts of my day are the ones stuck in Atlanta traffic. At least I can listen to music or collect my thoughts. I can't imagine being stuck on a bus with a bunch of cooped up kids and a few bullys picking fights and then having to face a few hours of homework and chores when I got home. Choices may be good when they are truly needed, but it has been used in Georgia to distract us from demanding better quality education for every child.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 09:02 PM
BARRY SCHWARTZ THE PARADOX OF CHOICE Barry Schwartz studies the relationship between economics and psychology. In The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, he debunks one of the great myths of modern civilization: That abundance makes us happier and greater choice equals greater good. Through solid behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Schwartz makes a compelling case that abundance exhausts the human psyche, sprouts unreasonable expectations and ultimately makes us feel unfulfilled. Alongside the research, he offers simple yet effective strategies for curbing the disappointment consumerism has set us up for and living lives that feel more complete. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060005688?tag=braipick-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0060005688&adid=1NAGQXPA6EMHJB237S4B
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 09:11 PM
The board doesn't need us to send them a message. We've been doing so for several years and it hasn't made any difference. We need to get solid evidence of criminal activity and then escalate it to the state attorney general or a federal investigation officer. The contingency plan for loss of accreditation is already set by the state. They will step in and appoint temporary board members until a public hearing by the state board of education can be held to determine who is at fault for the downgrade. If they find evidence of criminal activity, they turn it over to the proper authorities. If they find evidence of breaking rules, but not laws then there can be board members replaced or temporary ones in place until the next election. The state uses DeKalb as a money cow. They just don't want to see us stop spitting out the cash. They haven't figurued out that people would be happy to live here and housing values would go up if the board and administration would actually do their jobs and educate the children.Instead, they are too busy putting out fires and protecting their bad hiring decisions who are members of their friends / family whom know they could never make as much money as they do now if they didn't work in our school system. They believe in the value of an "easy" education via online classes but do not realize that it takes more than a piece of paper to become smart -you have to actually learn stuff!
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Can a school actually fail? Are we saying it is the teachers that are failing at their jobs of teaching? Or that the children are failing in that they do not possess a desire to learn? If we would just look back at what has changed over the years then we might be able to see where the decisions of adults have directly impacted the outcome of the schools. Kids are kids. I doubt they care about where they go to school as much as they do about who else goes there and what they can get away with or what they can do for fun. The learning will only take place when that spark goes off and the child realizes that he/she can control his / her own destiny and that education is the key. How to light that spark is the tricky part and it takes getting to know each and every child on an individual level because the way to get through to one is not always going to be the way to get through to the next. It is so unfair to force children to take a bubble sheet test on regurgetated knowledge when we have done nothing to make them want to commit any of that information to their long term memory or find ways to apply what they have learned to their real lives. Charter schools and every other school in our state are judged by the CRCT or other standardized achievement tests. Funds are allocated or with held and doors are opened or closed as a result. Until we get away from trying to treat people like wigets and teachers like assembly line workers, we will contine to fail.
Cheryl Miller October 18, 2012 at 09:25 PM
In other words, class size is directly linked to success because you can't expect a teacher to get to know children on an individual basis when you pack them into a classroom like sardines and don't fix the air conditioner or punish the ones who disrupt class. You can't expect a teacher to be able to light that spark of inspiration when you aren't paying them enough to pay their own bills and you lie to them about the status of their retirement account and pressure them to cheat. And, one of the biggest factors known to lead to being bullied or becoming a bully is being the new kid. We have created a school system that encourages or forces transfers on a regular and frequent basis. We are actually creating bullies and setting children up to face emotional harm from all the upheaval. Our graduation rates are pathetic and our schools are falling apart, yet we keep giving more money to the same people without holding the accountable for what they have done. Did you vote YES on SPLOST? Are you aware they are using your technology dollars to buy new cars for themselves with your money? Are you aware they are sending their own buddies to get PHD's when your kid gets a 50% chance of gradating on time and will likely see half their friends drop out before graduation? We can't keep complaining and then keep voting to approve every stupid idea they put in front of us. VOTE NO! Put your foot down. Demand better education, not better distractions!
Bob Peppel October 18, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Cheryl, Smoke Rise Mom, thanks. You changed my vote
Cheryl Miller October 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Report: Florida Investigating K12 Inc. for Using Noncertified Teachers; http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2012/09/report_florida_investigating_k12_inc_for_using_non-certified_teachers.html State school board asks Wake judge to block for-profit virtual school; http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/05/24/state-edu-board-appeals-wants-to-block-opening-of-for-profit-virtual-school/ Shuman Law Firm investigates K12 (New York Times); http://markets.on.nytimes.com/research/stocks/news/press_release.asp?docTag=201210161850BIZWIRE_USPRX____BW7000&feedID=600&press_symbol=9634704
Cheryl Miller October 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM
The original New York Times investigation: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/business/companies/k12-inc/index.html


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