Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Do charters play on a level field?

When I wrote about the latest round of charter school approvals,  reader Carrie Diane posted a series of questions about charter schools.   "Before I get anyone upset, I'm just asking questions here because I honestly do not know the answers,"  she began.

That's a challenge. Discussion of the pros and cons of charter schools has been going on for more than a decade in North Carolina.  Some people have strong views and come out sniping.  Meanwhile,  others are just entering the conversation and get frustrated when they read articles that don't include all the background.

This reader posed some good questions that require more than an online comment section to answer.  So here's my stab at them,  and I'm sure the rest of you will jump in.

First:  When I read that charter schools get on average $2,000 less than public schools my first thought was that isn't that supposed to be because they are marketed as being more effective and efficient than a public school? I realize it is less money, but I was truly thinking that wasn't that part of the allure of creating charter schools? 

I wasn't covering education when the state launched charters in the 1990s,  but my understanding is that rather than saying  "Let's see if we can do the same job with less money,"  the founders wanted to see if charter operators could do a better job with roughly the same money.  The most recent study I've seen pegs the gap at just over $1,700,  but most of that comes from the fact that counties don't have to provide money for facilities, as they do for district schools.  The system is set up to give charter schools the same per-pupil state allotment for operating costs that all other public schools get on average,  and requires counties to do the same.  Of course,  needs and spending vary dramatically from school to school,  whether they're charters or traditional.

Next: Are we comparing apples and oranges when it comes to testing and measuring success? My impression is that charter schools do not have to follow the same EOG testing measures and Read to Achieve that a public school does. 

Charter schools have to give the same state exams and report the same results.  Check state school report cards (where you can also find per-pupil spending reports) or click the School Data links at the right of this column to see mapped results for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Mecklenburg charter schools.  Charter schools get more flexibility under Read to Achieve to deal with third-graders who fall short on reading skills.  But unlike district schools,  charter schools face closure for repeated poor performance on state exams.

And this: Are charter schools and public schools working along the same guidelines when it comes to teacher qualifications? 

No.  All teachers in traditional public schools must be licensed,  but charters can fill up to 50 percent of their teaching spots with unlicensed teachers.

And finally,  Carrie Diane questioned why charter schools don't have to offer busing and free lunches and how that affects serving low-income students.

This one gets complicated.  Charter schools have to have plans to ensure that no student is denied admission because of transportation or meals.  But that doesn't have to mean busing and cafeterias.  Some charters cover transportation by helping families connect for car pools and expect families to send or buy lunches.  They say they'll provide individual meal assistance and do what it takes to ensure that students from low-income families can get to school.  But some say disadvantaged families don't apply to charter schools that make it difficult.

Advantage charters?  Well,  not so fast.  CMS has a large and expanding menu of magnets and other opt-in schools with limited transportation.  And those schools often set admission requirements,  which most charters can't do.  Finally,  the biggest factor in school demographics is location.  Schools in east and west Charlotte tend to have high poverty levels and low white enrollment,  whether they're charters or district schools.  Those in Mecklenburg's suburbs and surrounding counties generally have much lower poverty levels and more white students,  regardless of who's running them.

So no,  charters and districts aren't playing on a level field.  But it's not always clear who's got the edge.


Anonymous said...

Stop whining about Charters. Questions - do a 20 year study of the GPA's after 4 years of college of kids who went to Charters. Divide by the population of the Charter Community that year. Do the same with local school districts that you would like to compare or bitch about. Until you have a percentage stop your whining about Charters ! You have not done a comparison. CMS is a huge whining machine anytime anyone wants to take a piece of their cake so just get over it. Your trying to teach 5 year olds stop acting like them. Keith W. Hurley

Herrera said...

Terrible social experience with race, economic status, fild trips marketing, following up with parent, poor conditions for car pool, poor paid lunch options etc.

Wiley Coyote said...

But unlike district schools, charter schools face closure for repeated poor performance on state exams.....

We should do the same for public schools.

Anonymous said...

Charters are unquestionably the way of the future as all types of private school parents realize they need to take advantage of the billions they pay in taxation annually for their own children instead of forking it out to the mooching ungrateful hands out welfare crowd who only use and abuse schools as their personal free babysitters or socialism redistribution tool.

It has nothing to do with race but everything to do with responsibility and integrity.

In the same process:

1)End all age mandatory public school enrollment by passing GS laws in the Legislature and in Congress. Academic education is not for everyone never was and never will be. Get out of the mindset that white collar is superior to blue collar or vice versa. They are both equally essential to society. Diff strokes. Everyone is not the same.

2) End all child labor laws and give parents are real choice to stop wasting time in school or disrupting and develop a work ethic early learning a trade for a lifetime saving trillions. Bring back millions of non-union manufacturing or skilled jobs from 3rd world nations. This is a fix for the welfare problem.

3) Pass a law in Congress to end tv cable contracts for any and all pro sports to save trillions and jump start the economy. Sports is a coffee break and trivial. End this present massive socialist albatross racket mafioso drag on the economy raping the masses from A-Z with ever rising costs.

Unknown said...



It isn’t about comparing District and Charter schools on money or education. It is about whom a parent trusts to better nurture their child. You can write until your fingers fall-off about quantitative differences; it won’t make a difference. It is about the trust differences between District and Charter schools.

This trust differential is no clearer than the District’s policy of “who you are, not the kind the kind of student you are,” that determines preferential funding. It’s called Weighted Student Staffing and it is at the root of why schools are so different within CMS.

I’m not complaining about the money for the program. Some students need more. But when it is based on family incomes and whole ZIP codes it is clear that those above the threshold level of WSS can legitimately make the assumption that CMS will short-change their students. Before CMS can win the trust battle, it has to change this program.

The paragraph above explains the trust differences between opposite sides of town. However, there is a more insidious erosion of trust. What does a parent of an excellent student trapped in one of these WSS schools do? Especially, when the parents want the benefits of a neighborhood school.

I know so many folks in CMS and am sure that none would short-change a single student. But this Weighted Student Policy weakens all their collective efforts.

The irony of this is in the WSS policy’s justification: “Early childhood poverty is the best predictor of poor academic achievement.” CMS’ misguided Weighted Student Staffing policy is the best predictor of Charter school growth.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but how did race get injected in that second-to-last paragraph?

None of Carrie Diane's questions mentions race.

Is the author suggesting "low white enrollment" schools perform poorly while "more white students" all but ensures success?

How could that be? Wouldn't the education writer for a major newspaper want to research and report on that phenomena?

Anonymous said...

To reduce costs CMS should look into decreasing bus service to all students.

Anonymous said...

Parents prefer charter schools because of the freedom and flexibility, more beneficial school start/end times, smaller class sizes, more engaged parents and more access to teachers.

Cornelia said...

Ann, I would so much like to see a comparison of per-pupil staffing, sans teachers and cafeteria workers, between charters and the local public school districts, such as CMS, Mooresville, Union County, Cabarras county, etc. Is it roughly the same? If not, does the extra staffing appear to contribute to student performance? I, of course, maintain that administrative staffs have grown such that they siphon off money that could be used more effectively either to increase teacher pay or hire more teachers and TA's. (I maintain this has happened nationwide, so, IMO, comparisons to central staffs in other large urban districts is meaninglessness. I feel the same way about colleges and universities, BTW.)

Wiley Coyote said...


Ann reported the facts of the matter regarding race and performance comparisons of the two systems and the paragraph you're referring to had nothing to do with a question asked.

The County is nearly 60% white yet CMS is less than 31% white.

The "achievement gap" between whites and blacks has been discussed to death for decades and at length many times on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Keith Hurley has a great idea. Get on it.

Unknown said...

ALL public schools have the option to hire teachers that do NOT initially have a Teachers License! These individuals teach under a "Provisional Licence" while obtaining a Full Teachers Licence.
CMS hires plenty of these individuals and so can Charter Schools. We at Russell Lee Jones Vocational Training Incorporated are completing a Charter application for 2016, and some of our initial staff will be coming from the Construction Industry. We will decide whether to require them to obtain a Full Licence, but the percentage of the total staff represented by these employees will be approximately 15% if we allow them to serve on the merits of Industry Certification as professionals in their Trade.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing 7:44. When did race get involved? It is the same type of thought when I have seen someone write that charters discriminate in their lottery. Not one charter asks your race in the application. I have never lived in a place that talks and generates some much uneducated assumptions about race then in Charlotte. It is too bad it occurs in the "educated" local newspapers. Please do your homework writer and it is ok to say that certain types of people just make more of an effort on choosing their school for their children. Has nothing to do on race but rather ability to look at choices and go with it.

Anonymous said...

from reading this article, I did not get the impression the writer was either advocating for or against charter schools. She was merely pointing out a few things.

And sadly, demographics does play a major role in the education discussion. The achievement gap that exists between white and black students is huge.

Wiley recently commented about the demographics for CMS, that only 30.5% of CMS students are white and this does not bode well for CMS.

Anonymous said...

When will charter school salary data be posted?

Anonymous said...

Blah, blah blah blah blah. Who cares? Parents should be given vouchers and send there kids where they want. Their local public, charter or private. Children's education should be a family choice. I also believe the results should be. No more pushing the blame around for failure.

Shamash said...


In this article


You said:

"I was interested to see that statewide, charter schools served a slightly higher percentage of low-income and special-education students than district schools."

But in this article, you state:

"But some say disadvantaged families don't apply to charter schools that make it difficult."

Which leads me to the conclusion that what "some say" doesn't really make much difference.

Apparently enough "disadvantaged" families apply to Charter schools to give them a higher representation than in regular schools.

Maybe it depends on the specific "disadvantages" the families have.

Or maybe their willingness to work a little more to overcome whatever "disadvantages" they may have.

Of course, we cannot measure that, so will never know.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry but how did race get injected in that second-to-last paragraph?"

Supreme Court, about 50 years ago...

Anonymous said...

Forget the infamous "gap" that is genetic and world wide. Races excel in different areas notwithstanding this is a complex highly advanced modern western society created by Europeans based on Euro standards principles guidelines and results.
See the Bell Curve study or many others.

Anonymous said...

On questions about race: There are racial performance gaps in CMS and pretty much everywhere else, even after income is accounted for. Why that occurs so consistently is a matter for much discussion, but it's a fact and a challenge for all public education.

On charter salaries: My goal would be next week. We have almost all, but a couple of schools are still fighting or delaying full disclosure.

On per-pupil spending: State report cards list district numbers (remember each charter is also its own district). So you could see how any given charter compares with CMS, Cabarrus or whatever. But it doesn't give you that data by schools within a district.

Anonymous said...

race has been part of the equation for years, CMS has been paddling up stream for decades on the issue. Whether it be bussing children all over Charlotte or the current issue, funding per student at one school versus another.

race also plays a role in charter schools. Look at where the vast majority of the "high performing" charter schools are located. Well clear of poor communities and this is cleary by design.

Shamash said...

Anon 10:52am.

"And sadly, demographics does play a major role in the education discussion. "

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I suspect that this has as much to do with WHAT WE MEASURE as anything REALLY related to specific "demographics".

If all you can sort folks by is race, age, income, etc., then all your analysis looks back to those "roots".

Unfortunately, we rely too much on Census-type data for analysis instead of things like personal traits (drive, determination, willingness to work or stay out of trouble, etc., etc.).

I suspect that such personal traits have a larger impact on education results, but just don't get measured (and sliced and diced) by the bureaucracy.

With some "demographics" (such as SES), it's really hard to tell which came first, the "status" or the attitude which results in the "status", so that makes the problem even more difficult.

Are people "poor performers" because they're "poor" or are they "poor" because they're "poor performers".

Anonymous said...

Charters actually do not get a fair shake in terms of money. There are no athletic budgets to speak of, I had to pay $200 per kid per sport, there is no team transportation, the kids are on their own to get there, everybody has to get to and from school on their own and the paid lunch programs consist of fast food take out. Charter school teachers do not have to be certified and they are usually paid less than public school teachers. Other than that, pretty much the same old ankle monitors, criminal records and religious nuts trying to take over.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools have come and go in the north. The sad part is that the kids are the only ones who either benefit or are hurt by the politics of charter vs. public. I am not sure how it is not demanded that there is a monitored probationary period for charter schools to oversee their spending and their student progress. I hope that NC actually pays attention to the lessons learned from charter schools in other states. I have seen some charter schools that were good schools but I have seen too many that were bad and the kids fall behind and have to catch up when they return to public school. I understand parents want more choices I just think that each parent needs to do more homework and take an active role in holding their child and the school accountable, whether public or charter.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points. As long as we stubbornly spend billions on testing to tell us what we already know (higher the income of the families the better the score) then there will always be the same schools near the top and the same near the bottom. Trade the staff at Providence with any project lift school......nothing will change. Wiley wants to close schools from these challenged areas. Why? So they can send these students over to Providence......wouldn't that make people happy.....a report just came out on Finland. There is no standardized testing. There is no teacher review process. What they do is attract talent by paying what engineers make and only accept the top high school kids then put them through a very tough process. One other diifference. In Finland, 5% of kids live in poverty in the US 23%.

Anonymous said...

"But some say disadvantaged families don't apply to charter schools that make it difficult."

I would encourage to you visit or research the succesful charter schools in this region. I think you will notice a trend.

with regards to charters that serve minority students, you will find that most of them are struggling academically just like their tradtional public school counterpart.

virtually no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room which is this, over 70% of all African American children in this country are born to single mothers, many of them into poverty. It's not an excuse, it's reality.

Wiley Coyote said...


Let me clarify your assumption about my wanting to close "challenged schools".


IF a school happens to be a "challenged school" then so be it.

We're using much of the same system we've had for decades and still have underutilized schools while CMS and their bad management make others OVERutilized.

I've pointed out several times the MIE and Coulwood scenario which is a farce.

Also the Whitewater school was built on a promise that never happened and the only reason they have enough students now is due to closing other schools.

Shamash said...

Anon 2:44pm.

"I would encourage to you visit or research the succesful charter schools in this region. I think you will notice a trend."

Is the "trend" any different from the public schools?

From what I've been able to tell, the people IN the schools matter MORE than what type of school (charter or traditional).

Let me know if the trend you see is any different.

(Also that quote you used is from from Ann and was from this blog post, not me.)

Shamash said...

Anon 2:44pm.

"over 70% of all African American children in this country are born to single mothers, many of them into poverty. It's not an excuse, it's reality."

The OTHER reality no one wants to discuss is that poor white kids STILL do better on such things as NAEP tests (Nations Report Card) than black and Hispanic kids who are NOT poor.

So, take THOSE kids OUT of poverty and what do you have?

Kids who STILL underperform compared to POOR whites.

The "achievement gap" is STILL there when "poverty" is removed from the story.

Few like to hear that.

Maybe the family life IS a factor, but since it's not measured along with the test results, no one can make that connection.

They know if you're "black" or "white" and "rich" or "poor", but not whether you live in a two-parent home.

That "tool" is not in the tool box.

So no one can find THAT elephant in the room.

Personally, I'd love to see the "achievement gap" between kids who have daddies in the home and those who don't.

I'll bet there IS one.

But we don't have that data, so we'll NEVER identify that as a "root" cause.

Instead, we have to use "race" and "income". Because we have THAT.

Larry said...

The only comparison to schools in Mecklenburg County was over race.

The rest were Statewide.

Now why is that? Seems like the whole thing would have been either Statewide or just Mecklenburg County.

I guess it is like the fact CMS is competing against real Urban schools like Chicago and NY, while we are not. For some reason we do a lot of selective massaging of things in this City.

Too bad our media does the same thing. I hope it does not lead to a Mayor, or elected official thinking he can get away with things.

Anonymous said...

Instead of trying to tear down the Charter system why not look at their successes and try to reposition CMS system to be more like their successes. The fact is CMS is poorly run. We dumb down the system to meet the needs of what should be the few. The result is flight of strong students. Charters are open to anyone who wins the lottery. People are quick to blame the school and the teacher but we never, ever mention the weakness of the parent. Truth is some parents just don't care and that is the core of many of our schools problems. I don't buy the poverty argument, I grew up in poverty with parents who never got beyond the 8th grade but I graduated from college and had a long professional career. We enable parents to sidestep their responsibility with various government programs. We have allowed the government to be the parent and that leads to a lot of the problems we have in our public schools--coupled with school boards who are unqualified or so politically oriented they fail to do their job. Start pointing the blame back where it belongs. Best to remember this, "you do not build up the weak by destroying the strong." That is what we have done too.

Shamash said...

Anon 2:42pm.

"One other diifference. In Finland, 5% of kids live in poverty in the US 23%."

Finland just happens to fit neatly into the "poverty" mold for failure.

Most Asian countries which perform even higher than Finland now do not.

South Korea is an example where "poor" kids succeed.

Also, you need to understand the concept of relative poverty to understand that "poverty" in the US is not the same as "poverty" in Finland, Korea, Vietnam, etc., etc.

So it's difficult to compare actual situations of the kids who are in "poverty" in different countries.

A "poor" kid in Finland might be middle class in Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

The biggest difference between charter schools and traditional public schools is with hiring and firing. For the most part, charter principals can hire and fire who they want. Traditional school principals can not do this, for the most part. Does this make for an unfair playing field between charters and traditional schools? Who knows? Who cares?

Anonymous said...

For the most part, people, especially kids and teenagers, live up to the expectations which families and community put upon them. And I do not mean wishful thinking type expectations. I mean expectations reinforced with firm positive or negative consequences. When you see behavioral problems or academic shortcomings which are not caused by physical or mental impairments, you can be sure they are because parents and government employees put up with it. The failings of CMS are entirely due to parents not giving a crap and government employees unwilling to do what is necessary. Until our schools are stuffed with such lame leadership, there will always be an exodus of students whose parents care.

Anonymous said...

I understand what your point with regards to poverty, you make a valid argument. My point is the issues we see in the African American are two fold, both a single parent and poverty in the same house hold. Again, when we know that over 70% of African American children are born into a single parent home, we understand this is not an optimal situation to raise a child. This is why I use the black/white comparison, white children are more likley to be in a home where both parents are present. Based upon what I have seen over the years, when parents invest their time with their children, those children tend to perform better in school and in life.

It is my belief that the succesful charter schools are more effective or appear to be more effective, because the average child in a succesful charter school is more apt to have both parents in the home or at least an involved single parent.

Another curious observation of mine is comparing the feedback provided by parents at charter schools versus the parents who's children attend traditional public schools. The parents at charter schools are prolific at posting reviews of their charter school in comparison to the parents at traditional public schools. Check it out some time on greatschools.org.

Wiley Coyote said...


From the CDC:

In 2012, the percent of nonmarital births for non-Hispanic black (72%) and AIAN mothers (67%) was more than three times that of API mothers (17%) and more than twice that of non-Hispanic white mothers (29%). A little more than half (54%) of births to Hispanic mothers were to unmarried women. These proportions were essentially unchanged from 2011.

A 2011 University of Melbourne study found that absent fathers were linked with higher rates of juvenile delinquency, while a Canadian study showed that kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older, even among socio-economically at-risk families.

Children without fathers are much more likely to grow up in poverty. While married couples with children enjoy an average income of $80,000, single mothers average only $24,000.

Though poverty is the primary risk factor for fatherlessness, absenteeism among fathers has also been overwhelmingly a black problem, regardless of poverty status.

The majority of black children nationwide – 54 percent – are being raised by single mothers (I've seen this number as hisgh as 67%). Only 12 percent of black families below the poverty line have both parents present, compared with 41 percent of poor Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families.

In all but eleven states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 70 percent of white children do. In all but two states, most Hispanic children do.

Shamash said...

Anon 9:36am.

"It is my belief that the succesful charter schools are more effective or appear to be more effective, because the average child in a succesful charter school is more apt to have both parents in the home or at least an involved single parent."

That certainly sounds reasonable.

Unfortunately, we don't collect enough data on that to know for sure.

Of course there is the occasional special study which shows the value of an intact family on education, but it would be nice if we had enough information to see what other factors matter.

The more I look at education, the more I'm convinced that it's primarily the students and parents who make the most difference (followed by teachers).

The rest is just how they happen to get into certain schools and not others.

As disruptive as it would be, I'd love to see an "experiment" where students and parents in a "good" school and a "bad" school were swapped to see where the problems would go.

I think they'd follow the students and parents.

There are all kinds of reasons certain kinds of behaviors may be concentrated in some group or the other, but I still think it's the BEHAVIOR that is at the root of the problem and not something inherent in the group.

I think we are wasting money and effort trying to change people who really don't want to change (or improve) themselves.

But, I wish we had a way to measure that.

Shamash said...


In typical Eurocentric, white, middle-class fashion, you are leaving out an invaluable resource for understanding WHY fatherless/motherless families ARE NOT THE PROBLEM.

Seriously. You need to go to "The Root" of the problem.

Be sure to check out Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D. editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education for the latest on this non-issue:

Single Parents Aren't The Problem


"Black children from households with neither a mother nor a father were twice as likely to be severely off-track when compared with black children from two- and one-parent households.

However, as a single variable, household composition carries little weight and appears to serve as a proxy for more serious issues, such as teenage pregnancy and incarcerated parents."


See, Wiley, it's not as simple as those of us with middle-class, white, European values would think.

You probably never thought about whether the schoolgirls were pregnant or had NO parents (raised by grandma or wolves?) or had parents in prison.

I know it TOTALLY slipped my mind.

As did this little tidbit:

"Although a larger number of white children from single-parent homes exist, many argue that the impact is not as severe because single white mothers typically receive more child support and alimony than single black mothers."

Yes, MANY ARGUE this (or so he says)...

I'm not sure if that passes as research in such a scholarly journal, though...

But at least they HAVE an excuse.

Wiley, just give up.

The answer is ALWAYS: MORE MONEY.

(And even though there are MORE white kids being raised by single parents, they have "more money", so they are doing just fine...)

Anonymous said...

8:57 you are correct. I know too many kids from "good" families at the "good" schools that are total screw ups. I would say mostly due to the parents giving kids too much leniency and freedom (and wanting their kids to be cool and popular) and the kids trying to be cool and keep up with their peers. Education at the suburban schools has become a joke too, just maybe for different reasons than the urban schools.

Still no news about the AK Instagram porn and rampant drug use, but hearing a lot about the Hough high cyber-bullying. News alert, the cyber-bullying is happening at every local school, CMS officials are just keeping the info under wraps.

Anonymous said...

So you want government to pass a law ending sports for the social good. Is that not socialism?

Anonymous said...

I don't really care if we have charters or not. I do not think that they will make a difference. The problem in education is not schools, teachers or even administration. Don't get me wrong, the giant county districts are weird. They have a large unnecessary bureaucracy. Government in anything is a mistake. Keep the feds out. The real problem is work ethic. America has lost the "eye of the tiger". American homes are broken. One mom and one dad is an anomaly and not the norm. Schools are a symptom of the problem. They are not the cause. We just don't want to face the truth. Isn't New Orleans all charters? Are they a top institution's of learning? Are people moving to New Orleans because they are a beacon of education? I'll stick with my local school and try to keep my kids of the video games.

Anonymous said...

A previous poster commented that Charter School parents post more on greatschools.com then public school parents, does this change the playing field? Or does this comment from Ridge Road Middle on Greatschools (which serves the community that so many children are rushing out of and going into charters):

Posted April 19, 2014

"I hate this school the bullying is bad and all the kids think about is there shoe game.Warning if you child doesnt have good shoes like lebrons, jordans, kds or kobes you child will get picked on it has changes so much i had the buy my child 300 pair of shoes so he wont get picked on. i volunteered to that school and i see kids twerking, kissing, and all. If you are a caucasian parent turn around and look for another school."
—Submitted by a parent

How does this change the playing field, this one comment? It changes it drastically for many reasons. This school has almost 50% on free lunches (but they are buying $300 shoes). It is that kind of mentality that educated, caring parents, parents who want the best for their children, with aspirations to go to a stellar college, a fabulous job post collage and have their own wonderful family later in life; run as far away from CMS as they can, desperately running away.

So you tell us writer, what would you do as a parent who's home school has these kind of reviews??

Anonymous said...

Race has nothing to do with this. Ann, Have you requested and prepared the data that I required? All I see is about 30 more whines and no data so no outcome. You cannot move forward or upward in life without the data or hard work. Ask the tough question Ann I gave you the formula and solution in the first comment.

Wiley Coyote said...


I read the article and it really doesn't confirm or dispel the statistics, again statistics, that I posted.

Single Black households, single Black mothers, increase in poverty and poverty rates have gone hand in hand since the War on Poverty began.

My comment posts two different studies conducted plus info from the CDC.

Whether or not Auntie or Grandma is raising their white relative or their black relative is just another bullet point added to the basic issue of kids being brought into this world in the first place.

Shamash said...


"I read the article and it really doesn't confirm or dispel the statistics, again statistics, that I posted."

Well, I was posting that just to show how the "other side" counters arguments about broken homes being a problem.

Not that I necessarily agree with his "research" as much to show what passes for "research" by someone who now has more than a little clout in Washington, DC, and the ears of many lawmakers through his association with both HSBC's and the Congressional Black Caucus.

He's their "go to" guy when it comes to problems with minority education.

So between HIM and the rest of us, you KNOW who's going to get heard.

Anonymous said...

If our population drop's, problems will only get worse. The answer is not to curtail population. The answer is to stand up to the things that attack the family. Look at the family statics of the GREAT GENERATION. Look at the current statistics. I am a relatively young man. My parents where much older then my contemporaries. I as a child, I hated some of the "old school" ways. Now I love them. I thank god for them.

Shamash said...

Anon 8:07pm.

"How does this change the playing field, this one comment? It changes it drastically for many reasons. "

Greatschools has some good information, but the anecdotes posted by "parents" (or whomever) are probably worthless (or at least should be taken with several grains of salt).

It's interesting to me that the two really bad comments are from parents who appear to be less "literate" than the positive comments.

How this just happened is now known, but it could be that someone else is planting the positive comments, or maybe it's just that the less educated parents have kids who are getting a worse deal at this particular school.

We'll never know for sure based on those comments, though.

The test scores are above state average, though (for what that's worth).

But there are no test results that can tell you how the kids are behaving (or the school "culture"), which seems to be the biggest concern of the two negative commenters.

Anonymous said...

8:22 "Old school" is the only way. We have lowered our standards to accommodate (or not offend) so many groups of people, and for what? Our standards have been lowered at home, in our families, at school, on the job. The "new" way isn't helping anyone.

I wonder if there are any "old school" proponents left in CMS?

Anonymous said...

Shamash, I didn't know you wrote the story as I had asked the "writer" to tell me what she would do if her home CMS school had these kind of reviews (referring to Ridge Road Middle). I did not ask for your opinion but you seem to think your opinion trumps everyone else including the writer. That review alone says a million things about CMS and the climate of CMS.

So I will take another quote that pretty much sums it up better from Bolyn McClung "It isn’t about comparing District and Charter schools on money or education. It is about whom a parent trusts to better nurture their child. You can write until your fingers fall-off about quantitative differences; it won’t make a difference. It is about the trust differences between District and Charter schools."
Compare it to a 3 star restaurant, (which if Greatschools.com is giving a school a rating of 6 is pretty comparable), I would eat at a 3 star restaurant but one or two reviews said there were roaches and rats and the cooks may not wash their hands, I don't care how many good reviews are attached there is no way I am sending my precious children to eat at that restaurant. So stop analysis this to death with your non-stop opinions.

Anonymous said...

the reason why race became injected into this discussion is because it plays a role in both charters and traditional public schools. While there are a few exceptions, if you look at the successful schools in this region, whether charter or not, they share a common theme, in that most of the children who attend those schools are white or not African American.

while traditional public schools have no control over who attends, charters do have ways to influence the type of students/families who attend them. When you can use a selective method to eliminate certain demographics, you increase the likelyhood of being a successful school. While it is true that charter lottery applications do not ask the race of a child, they are able to influence the race of those applying by procedure. For example, most charters require parental involvement, it is required or your child will not be allowed to attend. The amount of time required to give per year ranges from 10 to 20 hours per student per year. Secondly, since most charter schools do not offer transportation, they are able to build the school in a location that inhibits many from even considering the option and that is assuming they even find out about the school in the first place.

Since most of us can agree that a child who has involved parents, no matter the race, that child is probably going to be more successful student than a child who does not have involved parents. As such, Charters have an advantage when they can mandate parental involvement at those schools.

are charters and traditional school playing on a level playing field, doubtful.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:33pm.

"So stop analysis this to death with your non-stop opinions."

So I guess that means I don't get 5 stars?


(P.S., y'all. Don't worry, I'll be gone soon enough...as all good things must come to an end.

Hopefully before the next school year.

But I may drop in on occasion to torment a few folks.)

Larry said...

8:36 Ann is doing all the hammering she can, but the new Charters keep popping up faster than she can get the coffin closed on one.

And I am sorry you do not agree with the posts above you. And find it necessary to denigrate others for their opinions.

Maybe the problem is not the posts. But like I said earlier, that sure escalated quickly.

Anonymous said...

Relax Larry, Ann is not bashing charters. They are just all the rage down here. We have had charters up north for a long time. Some are good and some are awful. They are not a magic bullet.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Shamash, didn't mean to be harsh on you. But if I won't let my children eat at a place rumored to have roaches and unclean cooks, how am I going to trust a place that will have them 35-40 hours a week and that "place" is supposed to mold and nurture their brains with the worlds information. I want an utopic atmosphere and I will make sure that they get this utopic atmosphere as best I can, it is my job, my duty since the moment they were born.

So, I don't care if the playing field is fare, it is not my problem and the problem is extraordinarily to big for little me. My job is to make sure society gets a well mannered, well educated adult at 18 years of age. That is all I can do and if other parents don't feel the same, I don't want my child around that attitude.

Anonymous said...

Anne is not hammering on Charter schools, I think she is very fair and balanced in her reporting.

Anonymous said...

and frankly Larry, I am not too impressed with the two charters in my region, Carolina International and Cabarrus Charter. Cabarrus Charter's principle just abruptly quit, she didn't even last one year, yet not a word from the school or media, they now have a principle in training. Rumor has it she was forced out by angry parents with too much power. This school boasts about the wait list, but they fail to note of 633 students enrolled over 100 have withdrawn and many teachers have been either fired or resigned in the middle of the school year. Carolina International recently dismissed their principle over the holidays after more than 24 teachers left during a 1 1 /2 period. Plus a few years ago the treasurer at carolina made off with $137K., the school spent over $600 K to stay out of legal trouble. Also, Carolina International is being outperformed by the local traditional public high schools.

Shamash said...

Anon 7:55pm

I pretty much agree with you on the job of parents, but you can find bad reviews on just about everything.

Since I'm in the process of looking for schools for our kids, I'm also wary of anecdotal "evidence" about schools (just as I am on everything else).

You can always find a few disgruntled customers for just about everything.

Sometimes it's the customer who is the problem, though.

I'd tend to trust an official health report over one or two people saying they saw a roach in a restaurant, though.

Because those people could be disgruntled ex-employees looking to mess with their former bosses.

We are facing the prospects of a move, and believe me, it's tough to trust half the things you read or hear about anything, anywhere.

And I'm an ardent follower of things like Consumers Report and Angie's List and ALWAYS research our options.

A lot of time "official" sources don't want to take the risk of getting sued for saying anything bad, so only say good things about a product or service.

And unfiltered "opinion" isn't always accurate, either.

You can see that in the various unscientific CMS parent/teacher/student "polls".

But sometimes even the "competition" has been known to post bad reviews on services and products.

And people lie on surveys.

Even on surveys which are designed correctly from a sampling and "scientific" standpoint.

And if you were to ask who makes the best BBQ, Hamburger, or Pizza you'd start a fight with many people.

Shamash said...

Anon 7:55pm.

I think choosing a good, or best school is a good topic and think we really don't have a lot of good sources.

Again with Greatschools as a source...(at least it's better than nothing).

Check out Carolina International School "comments" from 2 reviewers, since someone mentioned that school in a negative light:

1. They do not differentiate with students (- submitted by a teacher)

2. This school embraces each student to enable them to reach their full potential. (- submitted by a parent).


So how to decide between them in picking a utopian school?

Could one be a disgruntled ex-teacher, while the other is a parent who helped kick out that same teacher?

Different grades, different classes, different anything else?

We'll never know.

And other opinions seem to be very polarized with this school, so something's not right.

Even the objective facts on the school aren't that helpful, either.

On the one hand, their test scores look good, but they've apparently fired a lot of teachers, so who knows if that will continue.

Personally, though, I'd probably avoid the school since it looks like too much "drama" at this time.

And only an insider would know for sure what's happening there, but may be biased.

(About the only thing I could rely on is basic demographics and any test score information they have.)

Larry said...

My this is local depository for any bad news about Charter Schools.

How about some extraordinary news about Charter Schools.

51 percent of students in Detroit attend Charter Schools.

Close to 100 percent of students in New Orleans attend Charter Schools. They started changing the system after Katrina.

And the results have been better than the old systems were.

Now do we need to discuss the race ratios and the like are are we going to just accept the fact, Parents want what is best for their Children, no matter what.

And if they want the best, then why are our Elected Officials, Media, Teachers, Teachers Groups, Administrators and just about every body else, not allowing them to have the choices?

If you can do it better, then show us by making CMS and the like actually start working.

And please stop using me as the bad guy in your dramas. Lack of results in CMS is the bad guy here.

We need to focus on that, if we are to fix it.

Anonymous said...

There are not too many choices inside the Charter schools unless one is part of the board, not even teacher choices.

Shamash said...


"And please stop using me as the bad guy in your dramas. Lack of results in CMS is the bad guy here."

Got your back, bro'...

We can tag-team being the "bad guy".

I'll wear the mask, though.

Wiley can be the "manager" who occasionally hits the good guys over the head with a chair when they're outside the ring.

Anonymous said...

Maybe parents are looking at Charter school options for their children because they are looking for an improved social and behavioral environment, and not necessarily for the academics. Who can fault parents for wanting that?

Anonymous said...

12:03...Financial discrepancies are not unique, and will only become more widespread now that the cap is removed in NC and charters continue to push for less regulations.

A new report released a couple of weeks ago details what happens when charters lack adequate oversight: http://integrityineducation.org/charter-fraud/

With our current legislature and political climate in NC, you can bet your sweet bippy that charter operators are licking their chops.

And as one reader commented on the "success" of New Orleans, which is nearly all charter schools...what he didn't mention was that district is under investigation for doctoring their numbers. Stay tuned.