Charters and PPS

10:04 am

Responding to the recent audit of PPS charter schools, PPS Superintendent Carole Smith had this to say:

“The track record of PPS charter schools — and of the district’s success in managing and partnering with those schools — is a mixed bag. After 10 years, it is time for a deep and thoughtful assessment of charter schools, in theory and in practice.”

Given the Board’s rejection of the most recent charter applications, it looks like the worm might be turning. Odd timing, given the rest of the country under our new President is going ga-ga over charters.

Full disclosure: my daughter attends Trillium right now. There are lot of great things about the school, e.g., not holding kids to artificial benchmarks, integrating art and music across the curriculum, theme-based education that ties in different learning styles, project-based learning, and allowing kids to choose things they are interested in learning and then giving them time and support to pursue these things. As an educator and parent, I appreciate these forms of pedagogy.

But as an activist, I question the role of charters and worry about their draining effect on neighborhood schools. On this blog, Rose and Stephanie have shared information about the way kids with IEP’s and kids with disabilities are served by PPS. The way charters handle this concerns me even more.

I think we as a community need to look carefully at the charter movement here in PPS. Is there a way that charters can become community partners, or will they always serve a niche? And why?

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Peter Campbell is a parent, educator, and activist, who served in a volunteer role for four years as the Missouri State Coordinator for FairTest before moving to Portland. He has taught multiple subjects and grade levels for over 20 years. He blogs at Transform Education.

filed under: Charter Schools, Equity, IEP

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222 Responses

  1. Comment from Stephanie Hunter:

    I wish I had more time to give this track more attention but wanted to chime in a bit since I am really familiar with EI/ECSE. I have a question Peter was this MECP or another EI service in the neighborhood school that I might not be familiar with?

    You do not get an IEP until you transition from EI/ECSE and it is called an IFSP prior to that. EI evaluations are not a diagnosis, only a doc can diagnose a child and the correct term is educational eligibility. A child can have an autism eligibility but not have a medical diagnosis of autism. It simply means the supports and services a child with autism will benefit from will also benefit that child. You would pass a rating scale of course but still may not even meet DSM criteria for autism. As Rose said it is hard to qualify if your disability is not significant.

    Here is where I agree: You are right that we should not be sending messages to our kids or other kids that learning differences matter at all.

    By holding onto the belief that EI represents that something is wrong you are keeping this notion going. ANY child can benefit from EI whether they need it or not. MECP has a peer program where they mix kids with and without disabilities in EI. EI is not a ticket to services or an IEP and it is not a set up for being in “slow” groups. To be fair I only know the MESD service area and how they operate and not other states. I also think we should not cast our upbringing on other kids. We were segregated from students with significant disabilities and those kids who were not identified suffered for it and sometimes at our hands and words. I am sure we all remember the kid that never talked except in whispers to the teacher, the kid that would line up his tools on his desk and spoke with the nasally voice and made sweeping inapropriate generalizations about odd topics, the bully that just found a convenient way to hide the fact that he could not understand the words the teacher was saying and decided failing tests was cool. Those kids are getting the help the need now and our kids get it that they should be treated equally. They learn segregation from US or the school. We SHOULD NOT be segregating them, putting them on short busses (where discrimination starts), or putting them in groups together in the same classroom. The best place for a reader who picks it up slower to learn is from a reader who picks it up faster.

  2. Comment from Stephanie Hunter:

    Peter – respecting your solution-oriented nature I do have an answer to what we do but no time to share.

  3. Comment from Rita:

    Just a quick response to something that PPS Parent said: “I mean that there is something wrong with the idea we’re giving teachers about who they should be as professionals.”

    I think one of the most disturbing features of the “school reform” juggernaut is precisely the implicit attack on the idea that teachers are professionals.

    In addition to the charters’ dispensation for certified teachers, the darling of the “reformists” is the Teach for America program. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the young people who sign up to do this work, I’m sure they’re sincere and work very hard doing good things. What I object to is the implicit — often explicit — assumption that pretty much any 22 year old college grad with time on his hands is likely to be at least as good as, if not better than, a trained, experienced teacher. I mean, after all, they’re not jaded and are willing to work 60-70 hours a week. What could be wrong with that? Way to make teachers feel like valued professionals!

  4. Comment from PPS_Parent:

    Rita … Teach for America recruits top-notch students from outstanding universities and puts them into challenging schools in urban and rural area. TFA screens its applicants carefully and provides considerable training and mentoring. Nothing about the way TFA works denigrates older teachers or implies that anyone who got through college can go into a public school and teach.

    There is evidence that TFA’ers are as effective as more experienced teachers and perhaps even more effective.

    And, yes, what is wrong with being young, accomplished, energetic, devoted, and hard-working? Seems like we should be welcoming such people into public education.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Young teachers seem to do particularly well in he middle grades where enthusiasm and connections with individual students are much more important. Different ball game in the primary grades where they need a lot more support and experience pays big dividends.

  6. Comment from Ken:

    The “reform” movement has fully embraced the attack on teachers. Of course, most of the “reformers” have little to no teaching experience – unless they were part of Teach For America. TFA is a difficult organization to criticize; Linda Darling-Hammond was effectively cast aside by the pro-TFA groups. Yet TFA probably represents more of a problem than a solution to public education for the reason you mentioned: the 60+ hour work week (common in many of the new corporate charter schools supported by Gates/Broad/Walton). Of course, TFAers spend their two years working those long weeks (the kind of hours expected on Wall Street) and leave the field for other adventures (TFA boasts of connections to many of the globe’s most powerful management and consulting organizations, financial institutions, and graduate schools – connections available for TFA alum to utilize in post-service careers). Most TFA alums leave teaching; but the scariest of the bunch stay in education and ascend to positions of management. TFA alum and DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who recently said we should be developing “lifelong testing confidence,” is a prime example of the corporate mentality applied to education. As most of us on this site agree, standardized testing does not equal quality education. In fact, it probably represents the opposite of education. TFAers also spawned the KIPP schools, New Schools Venture Fund, the New Teacher Project, and New Leaders for New Schools. You’ll never hear any of the aforementioned groups deride testing – in fact, they think we should test children more, utilize more direct instruction, and adopt the management policies/values of corporate America and the military: zero-tolerance environments, teach-to-the-test pedagogy, and reading and math (maybe some science) to the exclusion of other topics. Hardly what we want for children. Children!

    The attack on teachers fits very nicely with current “reformers” agenda. The biggest cost in education is the labor involved in schooling. Teachers, particularly veteran teachers, represent the biggest cost in education. When you pair the current reliance on test scores as a valid measure of education with the emphasis on accountability (through the reinvigorated merit pay push), the possibility of firing older teachers based on student test scores becomes a tempting combination for “reformers” looking to reduce costs while improving test scores (think: corporate efficiency). I’m mostly offended by the comparison of teachers to lawyers or doctors: all we’re supposed to do is issue a decree or prescribe a pill, the kind of immediate cures America repeatedly falls for. In the end, their definition of learning always centers on test scores that can be magically raised with heavy doses of direct instruction hawked by the testing industry and publishing industry. When the metric of learning comes from standardized tests, the explicit or implicit logic is to teach directly to the test. Anyone can increase test scores by working 60+ hours a week, teaching directly to the test, and parading around with an air of youthful superiority. But this doesn’t represent learning and hardly represents a sustainable education system. Yet many reformers think education can be improved by making teaching a 3-7 year profession with a higher starting salary, extra pay for results (student test scores, or improvements in test scores), and increased accountability (read: hired/fired at any time, for any reason, but particularly for low test scores). Teachers do not want to work 60+ hour weeks because they have families; TFAers are young and mobile, looking to launch a career instead of maintain a family.

    The TFA training program is a woefully inadequate 5 or 6 week course masqueraded as a teacher preparation program, hardly an adequate preparation program for teachers in America’s most impoverished schools. TFA’s cheap labor (they’re paid a starting teacher’s salary, get some added funding from TFA, and can get 0% loans from VISA) makes them a huge attraction to underfunded schools and charter schools looking to skim on salary. Consider the following: for the 2009/2010 school year some districts TFA will place TFA corps members in districts that laid off other teachers this year.

    In the end, TFA is really a way for some confused college graduates to spend two years learning to teach, only to leave for something “better” or to improve the system by adopting the education agenda of the Business Roundtable and corporate America. Where is the opposition to No Child Left Behind? Where is the opposition to increased testing? Where is the advocacy for improving the lives of children? Not a word from the TFAers parlaying two years of teaching into something “more” for themselves, often in finance, business, or positions of power in the world of social entrepreneurship. The majority of TFAers leave the teaching profession after their first two years (and somewhere between 10% and 15% leave the program during their first two years), leaving TFA with a teacher attrition rate far higher than other teacher training programs.

    They’re viewed negatively by the education establishment for very valid reasons. Their intention may be selfish or selfless; their impact, I would argue, does not promote sustainable changes in education, particularly for poor and minority children.

  7. Comment from PPS_Parent:

    Nationally about a third of new teachers quit teaching in their first three years and half have left in their first five years, so if anything TFA’ers have more staying power at the beginning than other teachers. Some of that is probably due to the fact that TFA selects its candidates carefully, trains them intensively, and gives them continuing professional development.

    Principals who have had TFA’ers in their buildings give them high marks – as high or higher than the marks they give to veteran teachers. A randomized study showed that TFA teachers had their kids a month ahead of control kids in math by the end of one school year and at about the same level in reading.

    If TFA’ers are viewed negatively by the education establishment, that says something about the education establishment. The young TFA’ers go into touch schools and get good results. It’s ungenerous to say the least to call them confused and if other teachers are running down TFA’ers because they work so hard that should set off alarm bells for parents.

  8. Comment from Ken:

    Half of teachers quit in the first five years; between 10-15% of TFAers quit in their first two years. Of the remaining 85-90% completing the two years, over half quit teaching before even entering their third year of teaching. Do the math and you’ll see that TFA has a lower retention rate than traditional track educators.

    As for the IES study on TFA suggesting TFAers outperform traditional route teachers, a closer look reveals the report lacks reliability and validity. See for yourself:

    The intensive training referenced is a 5 – 6 week program, just long enough to teach 19th century classroom management approaches and teach-to-the-test pedagogy.

    TFA could be of service by acting as classroom assistants working one-on-one with struggling students. If anything, our poorest children deserve highly-trained, experienced teachers; inexperienced, untrained teachers are not the solution to improving education in America’s poorest communities.

  9. Comment from Peter Campbell:

    Stephanie – my daughter was flagged for developmental delays when she was a 3-year-old in preschool in suburban St. Louis. I spoke to a local district special ed person and was told that her IEP would follow her.

    You wrote, “ANY child can benefit from EI whether they need it or not.” I don’t know what “EI” stands for. Can you shed some light?

  10. Comment from Peter Campbell:

    This thread is starting to wander off topic. We’re talking about special ed, IEP’s, and now TFA.

    Can we come back to charters?

    I’d like to re-state my comment from #173.

    1) The charters here are either going to stay or go.

    2) If they stay, their numbers will either increase, decrease, or stay the same.

    If we wish them to go, what steps do we take? How do we fill the void they will leave RE: pedagogical diversity?

    If we wish them to stay, how can their deficiencies be improved?

    For those proposing their annihilation, I’d like to hear from you and let us know what steps you think should be taken.

    For those interested in keeping them, what do you propose to improve them?

  11. Comment from Stephanie:

    EI/ECSE is early intervention and early childhood special education.

    Something that is done very well in PPS (because of MECP having the contract) and the surrounding districts is early intervention. Many parents find it abrupt and harsh to enter school age services after having the special touch MECP delivers. Just wanting to clear the air on how it works here. Sounds like St. Louis is behind the times there.

    On the charter issue I am being educated by this blog on it. My limited opinion is that the charters that exist should be able to stay but until the issues of sharing the innovations and increasing diversity are explored and solved PPS should not allow any new charters. The focus needs to be on improving options in neighborhoods to be choice school without necessarily turning them into charter models. The charters are struggling like everyone else financially but it would certainly help their image a bit to partner up with close schools on projects, speakers, assemblies etc. (ie. Ockley and Trillium working together on our garden).

  12. Comment from Rose:

    I don’t think charters should be “annihilated,” but I don’t think they should be funded with our tax dollars.

    If they want to go co-op, go private, whatever they please, it isn’t my concern. My concern is we stop pretending there is a way to make the current system of advance application and lotteries equitable.

    I have not heard a single idea here that would make this system equitable.

    I think we are deluding ourselves if we think there is a way to make charters equally accessible to all, including homeless, ELL, disabled, foster and marginalized children. There is simply no way you can make an inherently unjust system just.

    I’m not an expert and I don’t know what sort of plan needs to take place to abolish school choice. But what I do think needs to happen is a return to the community school.

    I see a lot of arguing that first we need to make community schools strong again, then this will “attract” all those who are benefiting from the current inequity.

    I don’t think this is a viable solution. We can’t make the schools strong without the students, their families, and the funds they bring. And this will not happen as long as we have the current system.

    Peter, since you asked:
    EI is Early Intervention
    It is not an IEP. An IEP is a legally binding contract that forces the school district to serve a disabled child.

    Many kids get early intervention at ages 3 or 4 and then are discharged before entering public school. Getting IE does not mean a child will qualify for an IEP. The IEP standards are very strict.

  13. Comment from Stephanie:

    Chiming in on the making charter schools equitable for all….If there are new ideas then one of them simply cannot be weighted lotteries in favor of minorities because this sets up a new inequity. It might have been Rose or someone else that talked about sitting in on a meeting for a certain school and another parent said, “You won’t have any trouble getting him in here.” If the lottery is truly blind then the only “weighing” that would be remotely equitable is to do charter sign up drives in neighborhoods like block parties or canvassing and actively encouraging people to sign up. Other ways would be getting rid of sibling preference, no mandatory meetings, and providing transportation.
    At the school board meeting the Emerson charter cited the sibling preference as a limitation to increasing diversity.

  14. Comment from Dorsai:

    I’ve stayed quiet for a few days to let things sink in a little bit. I looked over the entire list of blog postings again, and there’s one frustrating fact that I can’t seem to get over.

    I feel that myself, Peter, and Mike have reached out to try to explain why we like charters, and why we believe there’s value in them for our children. But I don’t see that there’s been a similar effort from those who feel that choice/charters are robbing our schools of equity.

    I believe that most of the charter supporters have reached out, to different extents, for some compromise. I was willing to countenance a solution which didn’t have charters, if only someone would provide some ideas about how to address my concerns in public schools.

    We all long for a concrete solution which offers equity and flexible, effective education for our children, regardless of ability, race, or other tangible differences.

    We have heard why people are affronted by charters and choice, and I believe several of us (“us” being charter supporters) have spoken up to try to demonstrate that we understand what you dislike about the effect of charters and choice.

    Rose, Stephani, Ohme, Steve – please understand that I want a solution, and am willing to compromise a lot (i.e., a vision with no charters) – but compromise requires a step forward from you, too.

    I’ve asked, and Peter’s asked, for suggestions that address our concerns – beyond vague assurances that removing choice/charters, and restoring full funding to neighborhood schools, will somehow results in schools that satisfy us.

    I ask one last time, and then I’ll be quiet. Could those of you who oppose charters and choice propose some conrete solutions that potentially address the concerns that Mike, Peter, and I have? I’m not hearing that you understand why I wanted my child to have an education at Trillium. Could you help reassure me that you have heard and understood what is my driving concern?

    If you’ve attempted to answer, and I’ve simply been too unaware to hear your response, I apologize – but I would dearly love to see a list of possible solutions (that try to meet some of my needs) from those of you who feel that the abolition of choice and charters is the best route towards greater equity in our schools.

    Thanks all for the long and civil discussion. I’ll be quiet for a while now.

  15. Comment from Stephanie:

    Dorsai you said:
    I believe that most of the charter supporters have reached out, to different extents, for some compromise. I was willing to countenance a solution which didn’t have charters, if only someone would provide some ideas about how to address my concerns in public schools.

    Policy, policy, policy. We show up in mass to each every school board meeting to tell them that we want what is right for all children. We go to every meeting. We go in support of schools our kids don’t attend. Charter parents should partner with neighborhood schools to see what we can offer each other. We write our representatives and senators and tell them we are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. If you care about all public schools then shout about it and get involved even if your kid attends a charter. Get to know the people in your neighborhood who don’t go to charter schools and listen to their stories and maybe you will understand why this is so out of reach for so many people. All I ask is do not have a quota of “those people” for charters to meet diversity because then we create a new inequity of people that feel it is unfair to weigh in favor of minorities. I said that if the charters want to meet their diversity requirement they will have to reconsider sibling preference, mandatory meetings, transportation, and reaching out and putting the applications in the hands of the people that don’t even know it exists.
    You then said:
    Rose, Stephani, Ohme, Steve – please understand that I want a solution, and am willing to compromise a lot (i.e., a vision with no charters) – but compromise requires a step forward from you, too.

    I do quite a bit of the things I said in the above solutions and am working each day to do more and more of it and am in the process of building coalitions with other groups to see this through. I will be at the next school board meeting with a mass of parents speaking on behalf of issues that affect public schools. There is my step forward.

    OK there are some ideas. Your turn.

  16. Comment from PPS_Parent:

    The Mathematica study was not the only study that found an advantage for TFA’ers. The Urban Institutee reported even stronger findings. One way of reading the EPI analysis of the Mathematica study is that TFA could have even stronger advantages than the study showed.

    A study came out of Harvard not too long ago that showed that considerable proportions of TFA’ers stayed in the low-income school where they were initially placed past their two year commitment. It also showed that more than 60 percent stayed in teaching longer than two years and 35 percent stayed longer than four years.

    As to the charter school / neighborhood school issue, there simply is no reason why we can’t have both and have satisfied children and parents in both. Charter schools are 100 percent public schools and neighborhood schools are 100 percent public schools.

  17. Comment from Stephanie:

    PPS_Parent – It would be nice for both systems to be happy but when charter parents make statements such as:

    Could those of you who oppose charters and choice propose some conrete solutions that potentially address the concerns that Mike, Peter, and I have?

    When did it become the responsibility of the minorities to make schools a better place so your child could have the education you think they deserve? As I said before, I am rolling up my sleeves doing the dirty work and I am not just doing it for my child but every child and I am a full time+ working parent parent, barely scraping by, supporting my own parents, that also parents a child with a disability that I need to have additional skills to advocate for in her education so she might actually just be able to choose the high school she wants someday. I have an IEP coming up and I have to study the newest ways the district might screw me and my arguments, write notices that I refuse IQ testing and make sure they don’t do them anyway, review draft plans, update my personal education plan for her, and then still make sure I am not shanghai’ed at the meeting with someone saying her needs are better met somewhere else.

    You are not making education better for my child by making some kind of statement and sending them to a charter. That is not a solution. What is your solution charter parents? I don’t want to hear theories. What is your policy change and how are you going to see it through? How are you going to work for all children? I am working for your child so what are you going to do for mine?

  18. Comment from Dorsai:


    I believe Peter has already contributed a fairly concrete solution which meets your needs, which I’ve stated my support for already (i.e., in brief: figure out how to integrate alternate education methods currently used by charters into existing public schools and then implement this at the same time you phase out/remove charters), but I’ll throw out a few others – keeping in mind that these ideas are less draconian than the idea of out-and-out removing charters:

    – If one assumes that we don’t close any charters, maybe we could move some of them closer to neighborhoods with high-percentages of minorities/lower socio-economic abilities/higher IEP numbers/etc., to make transportation easier.

    – Again assuming we don’t decrease charters, maybe we could create generic “foster/mobile” slots in the lotteries proportional to the number of new/changed students who come into the district each year, in order to give charters, or mobile families, the chance to get into a charter mid-year? This wouldn’t be a quota, precisely, because it would be statistically matched to give mid-year movers the chance to get into a charter.

    – Perhaps each charter could be paired with the nearest neighborhood school with declining enrollment and give those students preference for charter enrollment? That way the preference wouldn’t be racial or socio-economic quota, but would still give folks a chance to participate in charters.

    But these don’t do a great job of addressing inequity. I think. Nothing does that better that moving charter teaching methods into the local schools and removing charters and choice – but I haven’t heard any concrete ideas from you on how that can be done in a way that ensures my needs are met.

    I’m afraid I don’t feel like your suggestions in post 215 and 217 are solutions that address my needs. They’re statements of your dedication to helping your child, and a call for advocacy “go to every meeting” rather than something which really helps me feel confident that you understand the concern that drives me to charters.

    I get the sense that you feel my call for ideas from anti-charter/choice folks is a request for minorities to shoulder the burden (you said “When did it become the responsibility of the minorities to make schools a better place so your child could have the education you think they deserve?”). I’ve never said anything of the sort, nor do I support that idea.

    I’m absolutely comfortable with the idea of pro-charter folks having to roll up their sleeves and make this work. But I’m asking for your suggestions because I am not feeling listened to. I want us to bridge this together, not feel like I’m giving up what is dear to me without some assurance that folks on the other side of the bridge will help me work towards a solution which benefits us both.

    I do apologize, Stephanie, for making you feel left out, though. That’s really not my intent. I want a solution that we both (at least grudgingly) accept. I believe there is room for compromise, somehow.

    (And I guess I’m not keeping my commitment to be quiet – but I got the sense you wanted a response from me with concrete suggestions.)

  19. Comment from PPS_Parent:

    Stephanie … I don’t see it as unreasonable that the charter parent asked people who oppose charters for suggestions that would take the place of charters. I took that question as a serious effort at dialogue. Charter schools and school choice generally can be contentious issues and how are people ever to come to common understanding, let alone a concerted course of action, unless they talk things over?

    It’s clear to me that you think that you’re getting shortchanged because other parents send their children to charter schools. But I still don’t see how that takes away from you or your child at all.

    Something like 25 percent of children nationally don’t attend their neighborhood public school – about 15 percent go instead to a different public school and about 10 percent go to a private school. That’s a lot of parents making a lot of choices.
    Interestingly, the proportion of Black children attending a public school different from their neighborhood school is about twice as large as the proportion of White children doing do.

    Getting down to practical politics, it is one thing to advocate for improving all public schools and it is quite another thing to advocate for reducing choices.

  20. Comment from PPSexpatriate:

    Honestly, I really think that folks need to take a break and read Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Privilege Knapsack” again SLOWLY, and Beverly Tatum “WHy are all the black kids” and hell, throw some Tim Wise in there for good measure.

    Just like it’s hard for me most of us to hear about how hard it is for families earning $100K to make ends meet during this recession, it is also hard for me as a parent whose is disadvantaged by the current system that some charter parents benefit from to hear protestations of the advantaged not being “heard”. Charters exist precisely BECAUSE you are being heard. PPS is not worried about poor children or disabled children or minority children who are perceived as having less ability to vote “with their feet” leaving the system. Consequently, they do not cater us. They are, however, concerned about rentention rates of white, educated,middle class families. . . thusly we have focus option and charters.

    See, Peter, this is why I cannot discuss these issues because we continually come back to people denying their privilege with their arms folded across their chests saying “I don’t believe you ….you need more people”

    I would absolutely love to have PPS charge an option fee for parents who opt for public charters and special focus schools. Something like what parents pay for full-day kindergarten. Families with foster children or who receive food stamps or other public assistance would receive a fee waiver. If people want to talk about what appeals to the market then the market should pay for it, right? Adam’s Peanut Butter costs more than Jif. Pacific Village chicken costs more than Foster Farms. Boutique-y schools are a premium for some families so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind paying for it.

  21. Comment from pdxmomto2:

    I’m sorry to point this out but public schools were not perfect before Measure 5 or before school choice. Suggesting that we can eliminate school choice and restore funding and every thing will be just wonderful is naive.

    Let’s be honest here – public schools have always done a crappy job of serving kids who were “different”.

    Public Schools have changed very little in the last 30 years. The debate should not be Charters vs. Pre Measure 5 status quo. It should be Charters vs. other school reform measures.

    Also I think the comparison between charters like most of those in Portland(largely anti-standardized testing) and corporate charters like Kipp et all (largely pro-testing) is inappropriate, they are totally different animals.

    My solution: Public schools that truly treat each child as individuals. Using testing to determine each child’s optimal learning style and teaching them in that style. Quit grouping children based on chronological age. Small classes, and professional Teachers. Let students learn at there own pace. Value multiple intelligences and the unique life experiences of all children and families. No expectation that all children or all families can be at the same place at the same time.

  22. Comment from Stephanie Hunter:

    I am not anti-charter nor am I anti-choice because I do not know enough about the ripple effect to know for sure how I feel yet.

    Your solutions are theories and whether or not they will work remains to be seen but what are you doing about it except talking? It feels like you are offering non-charter parents these ideas and expecting us to be grateful while you still get to have your publicly funded private education. I like my non-charter school a lot and would not leave it. I do not expect you to give up what you have for your child at this point either and yes I understand why I really do. However, I am offering concrete solutions to the inequities and this is your response Dorsai:

    (I’m afraid I don’t feel like your suggestions in post 215 and 217 are solutions that address my needs. They’re statements of your dedication to helping your child, and a call for advocacy “go to every meeting” rather than something which really helps me feel confident that you understand the concern that drives me to charters.)

    I post a lot about disability related topics but I am not a one trick pony here. I am a parent coach for low income, minority, disabilities, and even rich white people that don’t know how to handle their kids. I understand why you chose a charter and do not expect you to give that up necessarily but you most certainly are putting this in the lap of the people who keep having things taken away from them by disregarding my solutions as not meeting your needs. If you really care about inequity then you will not talk about what we can do to make our school a place you would consider sending your child and expect us to be grateful. I am doing the work for both of us bringing awareness to the board and community about these inequities and actively seeking partnerships with community members to make my neighborhood a better place for my child. I will keep doing what I am doing regardless and really it is your choice to join me or just keep wishing I would understand you when I have been clear that I do. Can you help me feel that you understand me and why I feel that programs and staff being cut because of falling enrollment is fair?

    The government is supposed to provide a free and appropriate public education. Appropriate as per the government is defined as the “basic floor of opportunity” meaning all students will have the same opportunities. In PPS all students do not have the same opportunities and it is not because you chose a charter. This is a policy issue and really you are either with me or against me because as I said before I am shouting from the rooftops and if we all stand together regardless of where our kids goes to school they have to listen.