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Posted on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

House Democrats question whether charter schools provide options for all parents

By Staff

Charter schools provide choice not for all parents, but “choice for those with means,” said Democratic state House members who oppose bills that would lift a cap on the number of charters and attract out-of-state providers, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

House Education Committee members said Wednesday they feared a parent empowerment package would launch a proliferation of new charters they feared would weaken existing schools by “cherry picking” better students and state aid dollars without assurances the new programs would provide a better education, according to the report.

The House began testimony on a package of bills already approved in the state Senate that would lift the cap on charter schools authorized by state universities, the Press reported.

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Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

Brian doesn't know what he's talking about. It's union rhetoric he's spouting. While some charter schools may not show better results than public schools, there's a reason parents choose them. What could that be, Brian? If it's all about the kids, and parent involvement is something all the "public" schools say is needed (because they look for excuses for their failures) then why do you spout venemous, unfactual, data about parents who exercise that option to be "involved" in their childrens education. This why public schools are failing. The union mentality of protecting their territory with whatever means they can. So transparent is the self serving attitude.


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

I'm glad to hear that our legislature is lifting the cap on charter schools. Finally! Practically every charter school academically outperforms the district(s) from which it draws its students, even if they don't outperform the state average. Students' scores, on average, increase more the longer they attend a charter school. And charter schools get these results with less money per student than many of our affluent or seriously under-performing districts, saving money for all taxpayers in the process. Nor do they receive Federal Title funds, construction bond money, etc. Why should publicly-funded education be a monopoly? We don't do that with college grants or loans, why should we do it for K-12 education? The money should follow the student, and all students should be allowed to spend their "government education grant" at any accredited school, including those housed or operated by churches, temples, and mosques. (Let them run a longer school day or year to fit in religious education without depriving their students of time for the standard curriculum.) Special needs kids could get an extra grant from the Federal government to help cover the extra expense of providing special education and supporting services.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

I have three Kids in charter schools. They are growing and learning every day. The biggest difference between Charter schools (my kids go to a NHA school) is that the first day of school, you learn what your Social Contract is and you have to sign it. This doesn't stop with the students but the teachers and all the parents have to sign it. Every month the kids learn a Moral focus word of the month and what it means. That leads to respecting yourself and respecting others. People have said there is no respect in school. There was a comment about HS that their child seen the disrespect shown. Well everyone should have learned how to respect in school, home, everywhere. Because how a Child is raised has a direct effect in how that child witll treat and respect others. Transportation; Charter School do not have busses, But did you know that Public schools are paid extra to have busses? Certification of Teachers; there is no difference between Public and Charter teachers. You have a set amount of time to be certified and then the State Board of Ed can penalize the school for not having the teachers certification, and that time is not a long, under a years time. Test Scores; take a good look at raw data. You will see everywhere in the state, the local charter school is out performing the local school district. I doesn't matter where it is in the state, the charter will outperform the local school district there in.


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

Busses? Really?

Mike K

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Standard libocrite rant just like MS noted. I love Slimbama's stimulus plan -- give states money so they can hire teachers. Nothing wrong with teachers, don't get me wrong; it's the manipulation of power that is troublesome. So what happens when the money goes away? Right, the job does too. I can't understand why Slimbama and his libocrite elitest pals cannot understand that strong private sector growth is the engine for the economy, and the engine for tax generation.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

I would love to see the statistics on the number of children that leave public schools, attend charters, then come running back to the public schools (usually after count day) because their needs aren't being met or they are asked or encouraged to leave. The public schools are required to provide everything a student needs (Free and Appropriate Public Education) but not at the charters. If a parent can't provide the necessary "donations", volunteer time, transportation, etc the child comes back to the public schools. I don't understand how that can happen...


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

skigrl50 I too would love to see real statistics on this phenomenon that so many "defenders" of our local public schools claim to be so common. When I was in my children's public elementary school on a daily basis, because they were attending an in-district choice school, the answer was fewer than 1 family per year would bring (or return) their students to that school from other schools (private or charter) I don't go to the middle school every day, so I don't know if this happens more frequently at the older level. It certainly doesn't happen in high school, because there haven't been very many "charter" high schools other than WTMC, which has so much demand there is a lottery to get in, and which has some of the best accommodations / most knowledgeable instructors for special-needs students on this county, because WCC was already the site for a number of kids with learning challenges to begin career or academic post-secondary training. As far as charters not being required to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education, you are flatly wrong. They are so required, for every kid with an identified disability. And they have to do the same testing and outreach in the event of a suspected disability. I have had 4 kids in my scouting group over the years who had IEPs and attended charter schools.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

That would be interesting to see if that is really true. The charter schools I know of in the area all have waiting lists. I don't know of any "volunteer" time that you refer to or donations. Just like any classroom, teachers request donations of all types. I have seen this from both public and charter schools. I am not required to provide anything for my student. If I can't send in something, the school provides it for my child. It is my choice to donate or send in items. Transportation is maybe your only valid point. If a family doesn't have the means to get a child to school via car or carpool, then yes, they would have a difficult time getting them to a charter. But with the way transportation is going with AAPS, they are almost in the same boat.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

I am so tired of hearing people comment about charter schools that have no idea what they are about. Do some investigating yourself before bad mouthing them. My children have been in charter schools since kindergarten. This is because of the poor option I had for public education. My oldest is back in the AAPS system for HS. She was better prepared for HS than her peers due to the education she received at her charter school. The expectations for her were high. They taught how to study, respect others, and focus on her future. Their focus on moral conduct is fantastic and how I want my child to act in society. My oldest would come home after HS and tell me terrible stories about how students disrespect their teachers and others in school. There is no respect for authority with our teens. I for one will continue to send my kids to charter schools until things change in the public system. I find it awful what teachers have to put up with. No wonder they can't teach effectively. At least charters create a productive environment to teach. They are very qualified individuals who truly love their profession. It is sad that they aren't compensated along with their peers regarding pay.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

Siwimfan, I am in your chearing section. Charters school produce a very good learning environment that is lost in the public schools. With a direction to have Moral Focus and the use of uniforms it takes out the distraction you have in a public school.

5c0++ H4d13y

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:58 a.m.

We should outlaw private schools and increase the public school system's monopoly education.

Basic Bob

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:39 a.m.

What option do public schools provide? If you live in Detroit or Willow Run, they provide a last resort. Wonder why so many southeast Ann Arbor kids go to charters.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

People should check out the facts about charter schools. They do not perform better than public schools, they do not hire qualified teachers, and they take tax payer money and give it to corporate "sponsors." I for one would never want a corporation running my child's education. At least at public schools teacher's are required to have a degree and be highly qualified as laid in No Child Left Behind. I do not need my daughter getting an education from someone who is not even qualified to teach at her shcool. If there is one thing we could to to make our state, country, and world a better place, it would be to invest all we can in education. Can anyone really expect more and better results working with less? We need to give the money taken from schools and handed to businesses and ceo's back. I'm going to not be selfish, money grubbing, do not want to pay any taxes for anything unless it directly affects me now, who cares about the future, call myself Christian but spit at the mention helping the children or poor and homeless. If it means raising taxes to make our state better, our lives better, and children's futures brighter, then I say go right head.


Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 4:14 a.m.

Union rhetoric.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

Yes, I too agree that people should check the facts about charter schools. Thank you Thankfulmom for your comment and joe.blow. You can see my comment below as well. I am thrilled with the education my children receive at a charter school and the moral focus. I know I wouldn't get that in the public arena.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Brian- I agree, people should check out the facts about charter schools. Please go the The Michigan Department of Education (questions and answers about charter schools) website. Scroll down to #16 and you will find: Teacher certification requirements for charter schools are identical to those of local district teachers. Charter schools that accept Title1 funds also are required to adhere to the "HIghly Qualified Teacher" provisions of the federal ESEA.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:35 a.m.

I wonder where the "fact" that Charter schools don't perform better than public schools come from. I bet it's like the fact that the poorer are getting poorer, yet when they actually looked at the poor, they've shown that those that were poor 10 years ago are now middle class and that the new poor are poorer, yet they don't stay there for long and are made up of mostly new immigrants happy to be here because they are rich compared to where they came from. Also, the rich are richer, but their different rich people than 10 years ago. Liberals love to spin stories like this, so I'm going to assume that this charter not being better than public is based off subjective data or liberal spin.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:25 a.m.

Get out of my way house Democrats. You are slaves to the Teacher's unions. Don't you dare eliminate my right to choose. What a bunch of garbage.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:36 a.m.

Brian, do you research, Liberals get more money from corporate America than republicans do. Obama broke the record in 08 for presidential money from WallStreet. Explain that!

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:26 a.m.

Why does that justify bad behavior, Brian? Both sides are hopelessly corrupt, and we need to attack both where the corruption lies.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:20 a.m.

But slave to big business and corporate interests are okay? Businesses and corporations receive huge government handouts (tax breaks, subsidies, etc.). I don't hear anyone complaining about that. Wake up!


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

We just want the choice to get away from tenured teachers who are on cruise control and don't know how to teach the subjects they teach. We also want the choice to opt out of classes that no other kids want with certain teachers. Supply and demand Komrade

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Standard Democratic rant. The party is owned by the giant unions. Anyone who thinks either party is anything but a big-money dispenser is seriously out of touch.

Joe Hood

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

Interesting, studies are showing that inner-city blacks are doing well with charter schools (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Why would democrats want to hurt a particular portion of their base?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

The democrats make many promises to the black community to get their votes then don't deliver. It seems to work for them because they never follow up on what they promise and no one holds them accountable. As they say talk is cheap....and in this case effective..........

Linda Peck

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

Do these politicians seriously want to take away our charter schools? What for? Is the public school system in this State afraid of being out performed? This argument that charters are for the affluent is not valid and they know it. There is something else going on here. It has to do with money and I think that some people I suspect feel they are not getting all the money they want from the taxpayers and I wonder who that could be? The public school system and the politicians who back them? The teacher's union? Stand up and speak the truth or are you afraid of that, too?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

It has to do with the circle of money. Unions pay dues to donate to politicians campaigns who look the other way when tough decisions need to be made that unions are not happy with. Taxpayers on the other hand don't pay dues but are expected to pay for all of the good things our politcians &quot;negotiate&quot; with our public sector unions................completing the circle of money.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

Ya think?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Democrat taxes take away our means! Meanwhile, wealthy liberals send their kids to Emerson and Greenhills. Hypocrites.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:28 a.m.

Governor Snyder is liberal now? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>