Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Charter ramp-up

The state legislature hasn't even convened yet, but the Republican majority has vowed to quickly lift the cap on charter schools. The N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools, headed by former state Sen. Eddie Goodall of Weddington, is wasting no time. The group is taking sign-ups for a Feb. 7 seminar on starting new charters (click the link for details).

One of the things I'm curious about is how much monitoring there will be. If charter operators can get the money with little or no oversight, we're bound to get some bad apples in the new barrel. But expanding the state's charter-school staff to handle new applications and supervision may be a tough move with education money shrinking. I asked Rep. Thom Tillis of Cornelius, who's been tapped as speaker of the House, about that when we talked in late December and he said such details haven't been hashed out. It'll be interesting to watch.


Shifting gears, reader Charles Gregory sent me a link to this Washington Post article on Raleigh's student-assignment battles and how they're connected to tea-party politics and the national debate over high concentrations of poverty. The headline signals a pretty one-sided perspective, but the article explores a variety of views.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me for being a little clueless here.

I'm taking a bus up to Raleigh on Jan. 24th with a group called "Parents for Educational Freedom in NC" after seeing the moving "Waiting for Superman" sponsored by the African-American Delta Sorority and other black community leaders including a NC African-American congressman. I seriously doubt the majority of African-American people I watched the movie with were registered republicans. I'm a white republican who is NOT a member of the tea party.

Since when did supporting SUCCESSFUL charter schools like KIPP and the Harlem Children's Zone become party affiliated?

Ann Doss Helms said...

There's no connection between the Washington Post article about tea-party politics and the N.C. charter push, other than they both came across my desk this afternoon. I put a breaker mark in to make that clearer.

You're right that members of both parties (and unaffiliated voters) support successful charters. But while Democrats held a majority in the N.C. legislature, the 100-charter cap was maintained. Republican candidates made campaign promises to lift it, and that's a prominent part of their plan for the first 100 days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Lifting the 100-charter school cap certainly appears to be supported by some prominate Democrats.

I know, bipartisan support for something. I'm as bewildered as you are.

Anonymous said...

Those who read the Washington Post article might also want to read the following, a study done in 2009 by Queens University comparing academic outcomes for various subgroups between Wake and CMS.
The Observer carried a long article about this but the link no longer works. The Queens researcher (Cheryl Pulliam) concluded that there is "no silver bullet" out there (including assignment) that solves the difficulties of educating high poverty students.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, my comment and link about the 2009 Queens University study comparing Wake and CMS showed up for about 3 minutes and then disappeared off the blog. Gist of it was that academic outcomes for high poverty and minority kids in CMS were improving while Wake's were flat and often lower than CMS. That trend continues today. According to the author of the study no one has found a 'silver bullet' that consistently solves the high poverty/low achievement problem.

Ann Doss Helms said...

This is strange. Had someone yesterday who was trying to post data as a comment and it was also disappearing. I'm not deleting anything, and I had assumed it had to do with maybe exceeding some word limit. Was your post extremely long? I need to try to figure out why comments are vanishing.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Dave Enna, our online guru, suspects that comments are disappearing when someone cuts and pastes material that includes coding that the site rejects. Web links normally work. I'm going to try to post a link to the study you're referring to (I think).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ann. Your link is there right now. My post was not very long--have no idea what happened to it. Like I said, it was there for three minutes, then gone.

Unknown said...


Thanks for the note about our workshop.

Some thoughts from the Alliance:

There should be rigorous standards for obtaining new public charters and measurable academic and operational requirements for renewal of a charter contract.

Staffing of a charter support group will come from per pupil allotments the school would receive already so there hopefully will not be a need for a new appropriation.

Hope all is well in Union!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,
I had a post deleted twice on your blog about red-shirt day. The post had to do with CMS's new TeacherInsight Gallup Poll which the system is using to gauge teacher effectiveness and weed out potential new hires.

Anonymous said...

My Teacherinsight Gallup Poll post was not long and was deleted fairly quickly.

Anonymous said...

Here is the post that was deleted TWICE:

How TeacherInsight works:
1. Candidates answer multiple-choice and open-ended questions online using a 5-point Likert scale.
Questions focus on three areas:
• Teaching philosophy - To what extent is there a mission to teach, to what extent is teaching not a job,
but a mission, a calling?
• Relationships - How does the candidate create relationships with colleagues, students and parents?
• Instructional approaches - Does the candidate see a class or a group of individuals?

2. Candidates’ answers are compared to Gallup’s pool of 400 high-quality teachers, identified nationally by teachers, principals and parents and a percentile ranking (0-99) is calculated based on his/her predicted potential for teaching success.

3. Candidates’ scores are reported directly to the district’s central office databases where they are available to principals and Employee Services staff, but not to candidates or anyone else in the district.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Well, I'm kerfuffled by the disappearing posts.

Eric and I do have the ability to delete posts. I've only done it a handful of times, when something was offensive and off-topic or to remove a duplicate post. When that happens, you still see a note saying the post was removed by a blog administrator.

Obviously The TeacherInsight post survived this time. And my long version of the Queens link did, too. So ... computer gremlins?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Eddie, thanks for weighing in. But it sounds like a charter support group is different from an oversight body, right? I'm picturing a support group as something like your organization, which might provide education and "peer pressure" to boost quality. But wouldn't you still need someone with authority to decide when a school isn't worthy of a charter? What launches that process now? I know some schools have at least been threatened with loss of their charter.

wiley coyote said...


What I was trying to post yesterday (twice) was data from a PDF file that came from CMS.

It was not a large amount of info nor was it a link. I would have posted just the link but unfortunately it was a PDF attachment to an email from CMS.

I have noticed some strange goings on from the other side using DISQUS as well.

Very annoying.

Anonymous said...

Ann or Eric -
Can you find out for sure if parents can opt out of having their children take ANY of the district driven formative or quarterly tests AND can they opt out of their child taking the EOG tests? If so, it would be huge and would send a message to Raleigh and to the District that testing is NOT the way to assess learning, nor is it fair to pay a teacher's salary based on scores a group of students receive on a test. Please find out from DPI directly - not from the district - as we've know that districts WANT to test because funding for schools is linked to 95% or more of all students taking tests (great deal for the test makers), but if parents had a right in North Carolina to request that their child NOT PARTICIPATE in the inane and repetitive testing, that may be a way to protect our children's ability to be life long learners, instead of the death of quality education. Thank you and I look forward to your researched response.