East Valley resident Tom Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a
retired physician and former state senator.
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would test scores at public schools improve if public schools could pick and choose which students attended?
You want to save money? Build fewer football stadiums. Seven schools could play their games at the same stadium on their own night. Real estate is pricey and every high school wastes a lot of it on parking lots and stadiums.
cnemo42...drive by just about any public school ... middle school on up and observe the acreage devoted to sports compared to the acreage devoted to classes.
The fields are fenced and lighted and have sprayers going virtually non-stop to keep the grass nice and green on the fields.
The schools hire coaches who, in some cases, are paid more than the principals of the schools.
All for less than 1% of kids who will even try out for the teams, let alone play.
A kid has a better chance of being hit by lightening twice than he does of becoming a professional athlete .. yet taxpayers are paying for all these sports programs.
If parents want to try to make a pro athlete out of their kid, they should send them to athletic programs after school run by retired pros -- on the parents dime -- not the taxpayer.
Have you ever noticed that most of the people who claim that we spend too much on education ... that we are " throwing money at the problem " .. are fairly well off people who send their kids to private schools anyway?
They don't want to pay any taxes and they don't care what happens to YOUR kids.
Dr. Patterson citing the charter schools at the top of the list omits a couple of inconvenient points that contradict his thesis:
A. Those schools are very small, with -- unsurprisingly -- very small class sizes. I have a friend who teaches at a BASIS charter school, BASIS being one of the best in the nation, according to U.S. News' study. His largest class size? 22. Ask any public school teacher about having his or her largest class at 22.
B. Those schools at the top are, in fact, de facto districts -- BASIS is a company that runs several schools throughout the state; Great Hearts is another company that runs several schools (Tempe Prep, Mesa Prep, etc.) around the state. As opposed to Patterson's claim, there are very few -- if any -- stand alone charter schools at the top.
But . . .
C. There are plenty of charter schools at the bottom of the list, mostly for-profit charter schools run by national chains. They tend to be diploma mills with abysmal test scores, often with large classes of kids hunched over computers, taking classes that way.
Which leads to where Patterson really wants to go, privatization. Before we go there, however, we ought to look at the for-profit private universities that have popped up around the country, "universities" with horrible retention rates, even worse graduation rates, only about 20% of their funding going towards instruction (while 25% goes to marketing), often with unqualified or overburdened faculty, and with CEO's averaging $7 million a year in salary.
We've seen indications of this kind of abuse already in some of our for-profit charter schools. Before we jump to what Patterson wants, we should first demand that our state department of education do a thorough review of how our for-profit charter schools perform and spend our money.
But we should do this -- we should consolidate smaller districts into larger ones (eliminating bureaucracies) and we should unify districts (look at Tempe as an example).
Charter schools receive public funds, thus should have to serve the public. No cherry picking, no getting rid of under-achievers, no limit on how many kids attend, no culling by admission testing. They should accommodate the public if they receive money from the public. They also must provide a quality product (education) as they are contracting with the state to provide a service. Government contractors are held accountable for the quality of their goods and services. Charter schools take money from the public school system and need to perform to the standard of education public schools are unable to reach. If charter schools want to do the job they need to take care of the hard work as well as the part that makes them look good.
sockratties: you are correct ... charter schools take money from the public school system.
And, that's about ALL most of them do.
That is their purpose. The Elite 1% want to destroy public schools because they don't want to pay taxes for them.
They don't send their kids there and they don't give a hoot about your kids.
There may be some good charter schools. If you roll the dice often enough eventually you will get lucky.
Tom, You are right, more money does not equate to better education. Vote NO on the sales tax increase initiative.
I will accept charter schools when they have to meet the same standards as public schools and meet fiscal audits to ascertain where our tax dollars are going.
Heck, from what I have read, they do not even have audits to ensure they actually have the number of students they claim to have enrolled. Ditto for those virtual online schools.
samkat ... how do you expect the Republican owners of those charter schools and online schools to get filthy rich if they have to actually have as many students as they claim ( and get money from the state for ).
"A. Those schools are very small, with -- unsurprisingly -- very small class sizes. I have a friend who teaches at a BASIS charter school, BASIS being one of the best in the nation, according to U.S. News' study. His largest class size? 22. Ask any public school teacher about having his or her largest class at 22."
My Kids attend a Basis school. They have a class size of 22 and get LESS funding per student than a public school. Wonder where that extra money goes in the Public Districts?.
And, they do not test applicants, there are no entrance requirements. You can send your kid to a Basis school-although there is usually a waiting list. OF course, there is no Bus service or Free lunches or big time sports teams.. Imagine, the parents being responsible for stuff like transportation and food. And emphasis on academic achievement and personal responsibility.
As I have said before, the call for more money is a joke. Ask the New York and DC schools how much they spend per student(highest in the nation I believe) and how much makes it into the classroom. And those awesome results.
Wait, are you the same Tom Patterson who told us, "The numbers don't lie," but never explained how an increase in the UK income tax rate for "the rich" led to a decrease in income tax revenues?
There's no way I'm buying what you're selling, sir, until you come clean.
Agree with one thing Mike McC says "But we should do this -- we should consolidate smaller districts into larger ones (eliminating bureaucracies) and we should unify districts (look at Tempe as an example). " Question, Charter schools get less funding per student and yet they still have smaller class sizes? How does that work? The beauty of Charter schools is that if they stink, responsible parents pull their kids and the funding goes away. With public schools when they stink, the funding doesn't go away and you are on the hook for the building. Privatization sounds better and better.
Drat, re stated (the obvious) after Chuckles- small classrooms with less funding. That is OK though sharp minds think alike. Did Samkat really say he would "accept charter schools when they have to meet the same standards as public schools ". That is a high bar- no doubt.
So, Mr. Patterson wants to eliminate public schools, and instead, leave it up to parents to choose the "best" school for their kids? That's fine, as long as it's also at their own expense, not the taxpayers. Really, if the aim is to privatize education, then let the education go to the obviously only ones deserving of it, namely, those who can pay for it!
It should only be about a generation, until we have Royalty again. That's historically a proven system for excellence, to be sure. Right?
Or, we can resolve to actually try to solve the crumbling mess that is public education. I agree that throwing money at it won't solve the problems. However, there has to be at least enough funding there to allow teachers to teach, and children to learn. I don't have any magic solution, but I do know that, when teachers have to organise a bake sale to get money for school supplies they can't afford, there's not enough $$ getting to them.
In my opinion, there are two places to start school reform...consolidation, reducing the administrative costs, and taxes that actually go to teachers and the direct support of children in school, instead of into the "discretionary" spending of legislators and politicians.
1. Teachers that demand order and discipline in class.2. Students that go to school to learn not to socialize.3. Strict dress and appearance codes.4. Clean cafeterias (with teachers watching what goes on), clean hallways, clean parking lots. Make sure the students have a school that they can be proud of.5. Less emphasis on one or two boy's sports. Assemblies where all sports, music, drama and academic achievements are recognized.6. Teachers that talk, dress and act like teachers.......at all times.7. Parent involvement...if that means that substitute teachers are called in during the day so that teachers can be available for evening ..."parent-teacher conferences".8. Principals should never, ever think that they can keep something secret, something quiet or something under-wraps....it never, ever works in a school and destroys any respect for authority.9. School counselors should be the best that can be hired. It is the most important position in a school.10. Saturday car-washes, pancake breakfasts, weenie-roasts a couple, three times a school year is great for school administrators, teachers, coaches, students and most importantly, parents to get together in a "non-educational" environment. Everyone gets to see that everyone else is ......"human".11. Lastly, the most important rule for any school is that it is a "bullying-free", place for students. The consequences for bullying should be made clear to each and every student and parent. A set of school deportment rules and punishments should be sent home with every student on the first day of school and returned with a parent's and a student's signature and dated.....no if's, and's or but's about bullying....it should be spelled out in ..."black and white" for all to see and comprehend.
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