Title

Charters Schools--Choice But At What Cost?

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This presentation is aligned with two of the conference’s strands. It focuses primarily on academic achievement of students at-risk while providing viable solutions in addressing the achievement gap as they relate to the efficacy of Charter Schools.

Brief Program Description

This session is designed take a probing look at the performance of Charters versus Traditional Schools. The guiding questions revolve around whether Charters contribute to the re-segregation of public schools? Further, does the luring of the best and brightest students away from traditional schools broadens their systemic, financial instability and jeopardizes valued programming; thereby exacerbating the crisis facing students at-risk?

Summary

The strength of charter schools rest upon the fact that they do not embody a single-minded pedagogical methodology. To their credit, they represent a full range of programmatic and instructional offerings ranging from language immersion, health sciences, business and finance, technology, math and science and many others.

Given that charter schools are exempt from many statutory requirements of traditional schools like spending, human capital, management, parental involvement, curriculum and instruction practices and governance, it is perplexing that they still cannot best the performance of the much maligned traditional schools on a grander scale.

On the one hand, parents are provided with an option to remove their children from the chronically low-performing for decades Public Schools. On the other hand, serious questions remain as to whether charter schools represent the high quality choice many parents presuppose.

The larger issue is not whether high charter school participation bodes well for school districts, but rather, are parents getting what they thought they signed up for?

Initial studies have found that students attending charter schools do no better than students attending regular public schools. The results have been inconsistent. For example, a 2013 report by Mathematica Policy Research found no significant impact on test scores of charter school students in comparison to students in the traditional school model.

Evidence

When the Brookings Institution released a report last week ranking cities according to their school options, systems like the DC schools—likely because of its plethora of charter schools—stood out as a national leader in providing parent choice. Yet, the information characterizes the classic good-news bad-news scenario.

According to the Brooking Institution’s Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) the scores of large school districts were based on 13 categories of policy and practice. The intent of the ECCI is to create public awareness of the differences among districts in their support of school choice, provide a framework for efforts to improve choice and competition, and recognize leaders among school districts in the design and implementation of choice and competition systems.

Looking at the DC Public Schools, for instance; only 20 of the system’s nearly 60 charter schools performing in the Tier 1-high performing category, critics question whether after 20 years, expenses associated with the charter choice represent the best option for the nation’s most underprivileged and vulnerable students. This case can be made widely across the national spectrum.

Further, the 60 percent graduation rate in DC continues to lag significantly behind the national average of 75.5 percent. With a per pupil expenditure of nearly $23,000, in 2014, the cost of failure is exacting as higher performing systems in the region spend less. In Montgomery County, for instance, the per pupil expense is approximately $15,552; in neighboring Prince George’s about $14,020; and in Fairfax County, about $12,554 per student.

Yet, another contentious issue for charter schools remains the controversial and widely publicized student lottery which appears to fly in the face of America’s guarantee of a free and appropriate public education. Education in the United States is compulsory. As such, does a system that can deny a student admission to a school meet that standard?

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Al Porter is a popular national speaker on contemporary educational issues, trends, legislative policy, reforms, and initiatives. As an education columnist with the Washington Post, he covered a wide spectrum of issues pertaining to schools, students, and teachers. His radio show entitled "Say What??" w/Alfonzo Porter challenges conventional pedagogy and was broadcast on WOL AM1450 in Washington DC. Al is currently the Managing Partner of Vertex Learning, an Educational Research, Publishing and Consulting firm located in the Denver, CO. He is the past President/CEO of Porter Education & Communications, Inc. (PE&C). From 1999 thru 2010, PE&C served as a national education management and development company specializing in a full portfolio of services to students, families, government agencies, and school systems. He has also been a public school teacher and principal.

Porter is a highly charged, dynamic speaker in the areas of business motivation, education, personal growth, and inspiration for both youth and adults groups. He is also perfect for corporate, government, and national association events. Porter is a former award winning CEO, journalist, educator, author, trainer and youth advocate.

His most recent book, “More Like Barack, Less Like Tupac: Eradicating the Academic Achievement Gap by Countering Decades of the Hip Hop Hoax,” (PE&C, Inc. 2010), addresses the decline in performance of public education in America; and how this reality directly effects the bottom line of every industry in our nation. He is also the author of “The X Stands for Excellence,” (Kendall-Hunt Publishing, 1996), a motivational text for middle and high school teens.

Dr. Kirby is a faculty member at Walden University Online. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, and later attended Fayetteville State University where s earned dual masters in Elementary Education and Middle Level Education and a Master of Administration degree. She received her PhD in Education with a specialization in Educational Administration from Capella University. She has spent 25 years in the educational field. She was inducted in Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society and Alpha Pi Omega Dramatic Honor Fraternity. She is a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and a Life Member of the Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars. Her dissertation, “The Advantages of Parental Involvement in Closing the Achievement Gap”, was published in 2006.

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Charters Schools--Choice But At What Cost?

Harborside Center

This session is designed take a probing look at the performance of Charters versus Traditional Schools. The guiding questions revolve around whether Charters contribute to the re-segregation of public schools? Further, does the luring of the best and brightest students away from traditional schools broadens their systemic, financial instability and jeopardizes valued programming; thereby exacerbating the crisis facing students at-risk?