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Posted on Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

Legislation would rob public schools to pay for charter schools

By Letters to the Editor

I am writing with serious concerns about the “Parent Empowerment” package. The name of this package is deceitful. It would be more appropriately named, the “Charter, Cyber, for Profit School Empowerment” Package.

Due to the amount of tax dollars that are taken from the public schools and placed in the hands of private investors, it is the height of irresponsibility for our elected body to enact these bills.

As a citizen and taxpayer, I am asking all members of the Michigan House of Representatives to vote “no” on the “Parent Empowerment” package bills. This is a blatant misuse of public funds, that have been allocated for public education. The money being used to fund these private, for-private educational companies belongs to the citizens of Michigan. More specifically the public educational system.

If there is disagreement as to how that money is being used in the public sector, then the majority of the citizens of Michigan should decide how the system is changed, just as we did in 1994 with the passage of Proposal A.

Our K-12 educational system is not for sale. What happens when these private, for profit companies, sell out to investors that do not have the best interest of our children in mind? We have witnessed what can happen, and it’s a nightmare. Wall Street is still recovering from irresponsible, unethical investors, and many families may never recover their losses.

Should these companies lose ground, who do we go to? Members of an elected school board? Superintendents? Taxpayers? No, we will be subjected to an executive board, a CEO and shareholders.

This is not a very good scenario. As people continue piecing their lives back together, it is entirely possible that we will see another tax payer bail out in a few years, if these bills pass. Only this time it won’t be the mortgage companies, or the auto companies, it will be the educational companies.

All of you, that are supporting these bills, are gambling with our children’s education. These are major changes to the way our educational system functions in this state, and these changes need to be approved by the taxpayers. What you are proposing, equates to the legislation passing proposal A, without a popular vote.

Allowing large for profit companies to benefit so generously on our tax dollars, allocated for public education, is unethical. Before millions of dollars are taken from our state, unregulated, our citizens need time to understand exactly what all of this means to their families. I fear there will be serious consequences as a result of your decisions.

Karen Bihlmeyer
Northfield Township



Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Tax dollars are paid by the citizens of the state. Those tax dollars should follow the children to the schools they attend, whether public or private. The public schools do not "own" those tax dollars. Statements concerning taking tax dollars from the public schools are just that, statements with no relevance related to where a child goes to school.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Our legislature cant pass bills fast enough to undermine our public schools and make commodities of our children. Thank you Ms. Bihlmeyer for bringing this issue to light. If you are a teacher those kids are lucky to have you on their side!


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

whodat, You are right. Parents who send their kids to public charter schools don't know what is best for their kids. Why not let parents have a choice where to send their kids? Can you imagine if the government started dictating where students could go to college?

David Paris

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

With all the failures of our investor class in the past few years, it amazes me that so many want to turn education over to them. Public schools are not perfect, and neither are parents, who, by the way, are still going to be part of the problem, but most people walking the street of the country are doing ok, thanks to public schools. I went to a parochial school from 2nd to 8th grades, and can tell you that my junior high experience was the worst experience of my life, and in no way prepared me for the public high school that I went to, which was on-par with AAPS. I think most people seem to think that our public school teachers are sub-par, and that they are over-paid, which is wishful thinking. Without unions we will surely see teacher wages & benefits drop, then, who will want to take up the profession when it pays slightly more than baby-sitting, but requires a four year degree? Good Luck with your Educational Utopia, I'm just glad that my youngest is a freshman in H.S.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

The teachers union, NEA, is the problem - but not for the reasons some people think. There are plenty of excellent unionized public schools where the union's only harm is to make education more expensive then it should be. Most parents are willing to eat those wasted dollars if the schools perform. Unions are THE PROBLEM is in failing schools where they protect "union member" teachers and others whose poor performance is the cause of the failure. They put member privileges above quality education for the kids, which strips the title of "Profession" from teaching and treats it as an industry with "dues paying members" the first priority. Those who think the "evil corporations" are the problem need to wake up, pick up a book and study the US free market.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Dirtgrain, Not sure why my point is not valid. Saline and Dexter are not what I would consider poor, scores were Dexter reading 70th percentile, Math 52nd. Saline reading 73rd , math 67 th percentile. So do you think 33% or more of the countries in the world doing a better job of education their children a good thing?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

See the replies I made to the comment I initially addressed to you above.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

The public schools doesn't "own our children", charters offer an alternative especially in under performing districts. Charters allow parents to control the culture/environment in which their children learn. Without charters only families with enough money to live in a places like Ann Arbor can expect a truly quality education, the truly wealthy skip out of the whole system and send their kids to private schools. Charters may not be perfect , but they give a poor kid a better chance in life.

Tom Whitaker

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Schools should be accountable to students, parents and taxpayers, not stockholders. This whole charter school thing is about tapping the $1 trillion of tax money spent on primary education and diverting it to the private sector--its a huge public service industry that Wall Street has been trying to undermine and infiltrate for decades. This is a concerted nationwide effort of conservative think tanks, non-profit organizations claiming to be advocating for education reform, the corporations that support them, and the elected officials who have benefitted from their contributions. They are all intimately interconnected, and moving toward a common goal: extracting huge profits from our kids' educations. &quot;While most education reform advocates cloak their goals in the rhetoric of &quot;putting children first,&quot; the conceit was less evident at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier this year. Standing at the lectern of Arizona State University's SkySong conference center in April, investment banker Michael Moe exuded confidence as he kicked off his second annual confab of education startup companies and venture capitalists. A press packet cited reports that rapid changes in education could unlock &quot;immense potential for entrepreneurs.&quot; &quot;This education issue,&quot; Moe declared, &quot;there's not a bigger problem or bigger opportunity in my estimation.&quot;&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

This is a little complicated because there is no one-size-fits-all solution and both sides and point to anecdotal evidence in support of their point. ..but this comes down to those people running the schools and teaching the kids. Some are good at what they do and some are not. There are many union dominated schools that work very well - that are outstanding. Where a great staff, dedicated teachers/administrators combine with active parents (who do their part), public schools can be excellent. The PROBLEM is in areas where teachers, administrators and parents fail and the union protects those who create the failing "union members" regardless of their incompetence. Union first! In those cases, CHARTER SCHOOLS should become the alternative and if available they will thrive. Higher test scores and a better learning environment free from the shackles of the TEACHERS UNION FIRST mentality that is corrosive to learning in those areas. Charter schools must also find a solution to apathetic parents - and that may be the limited supply of seats, which separates caring parents who want kids to succeed from those who don't care about education. CHARTER SCHOOLS succeed or fail not on whether they are &quot;for profit&quot;, but on whether parents want to send their kids to that school - A FREE MARKET SOLUTION - AND A FAILING NEA'S WORST NIGHTMARE. Public schools succeed and remain or fail and get replaced. In the worst areas, Charter schools may be the first learning opportunities for many kids to walk into a building staffed by people who must succeed rather then those who only need to follow union rules and pay their dues to keep their jobs.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

outdoor6709, when poverty is factored into comparing PISA scores, we see that our public schools are some of the best in the world. This negates your point.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Marva Collins taught poor kids in Chicago to read. Yes, I know that subsequent events may have cast doubt on her motives and methods, but she demonstrated very clearly that poverty itself doesn't necessarily keep children from learning. Impoverished environments do--or can, anyway. I suggest Theodore Dalrymple's essay 'What Is Poverty?' for an insightful discussion of some relevant issues.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Here is another: PISA: It's Poverty Not Stupid (link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. You'll have to revise your view that public schools are broken in this country. Then you'll realize that the charter school movement is not addressing the problems inner-city schools do face with poverty.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Here is one: &quot;I have not yet seen an analysis of the impact of poverty on overall PISA scores (I have sent for the full set of data; they tell me it will come in 10 days or so). But data available now tells us that poverty, as usual, had a huge impact on PISA reading test scores for American students. American students in schools with less than 10% of students on free and reduced lunch averaged 551, higher than the overall average of any OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country. Those in schools with 10% to 25% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch averaged 527, which was behind only Korea and Finland. In contrast, American students in schools with 75% or more of children in poverty averaged 446, second to last among the 34 OECD countries&quot; (soure: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

And your source is?.....


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

The public schools are the classic monopoly. Constituent (student) service declines while those in power rally to protect their not the students or taxpayers interest. If you think your school is great, compare it to its pears around the world. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Why is it that so many of the comments reflect an apparent fear of the profit motive? Why do people assume that a company attempting to make money by providing education would do a bad job, when the continued existence of such a company would depend on customers' satisfaction with its product? People who seek out a product and pay directly for it (as parents who seek an alternative school for their children do) often demand higher quality goods and services than do people who simply accept what's offered them, and they're usually inclined to take their business elsewhere if they don't get the quality they were promised. In my experience, public schools are quite variable in the quality of their products and services, and the attitude I encountered when I expressed dissatisfaction with the education my kids were getting was essentially 'too bad...shut up and go away.' One of my children was taught for a semester by a woman whom the department chair conceded to be incompetent. After many parents complained, the incompetent teacher was transferred to another school within the district. I can't say for sure, but I think that a teacher who generated that much discontent on the part of the parents wouldn't remain employed in a well-run for-profit school. I also agree with many of the folks here who question the justification for the large number of (and often extraordinarily high salaries of) public-school administrators. A well-run for-profit school would probably have less fat at the top, even if the CEO and other officers were earning a living, because it's not a sound business model to pay a lot of people a lot of money for very little productive activity. Apologies for the long post, but this topic merits a lengthy exchange of ideas, IMO.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

dirtgrain - Go back and look at my history on this blog. I do lots of research and post lots of links. I happen to be very busy right now, so I am not doing other people's research right now. You have not posted much more than a couple of quick google links that support your side of the story. I suggested you look at the state database, since posting that kind of statistical information here is impossible, it would take putting up a spreadsheet, which I don't have time for right now.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

DonBee, thank you for the slight about reading. It clarifies your tactic: ad hominem attacks with assumptions and innuendo--but you twice have balked at doing the work of providing a source to support your claims. What is it that you suggest I read? A link would help. That said, I'm no more in favor of liberals who are privatizing schools.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Dirtgrain - This is the same method of zero tolerance NYC used to bring the Times Square area back from failure. I would suggest you do some reading. It was created by a Liberal mayor and a liberal police chief.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

It's an example of a corporation profiting off of students--for ridiculous rule violations. And public schools would never be allowed to do something like this.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

How is that &quot;one reason&quot;? The kids learn to follow the rules. So many people seem unable to face the fact that failing public schools are FAILING.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Here is one reason: &quot;Noble Network of Charter Schools charges students at its 10 Chicago high schools $5 for detentions stemming from infractions that include chewing gum and having untied shoelaces. Last school year it collected almost $190,000 in discipline &quot;fees&quot; from detentions and behavior classes — a policy drawing fire from some parents, advocacy groups and education experts&quot; (source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

If our legislators were truly concerned about education they'd have an open public discussions about what is wrong and what needs to be done about the issues. Instead, we just have their knee jerk reaction to everything: pass something that hurts unions and 'privatize' whatever it is they want to 'change'. That is their first and foremost goal here. Let's be real about this - how many bills have come out of the Republican legislature that have as the goal to cripple, destroy, etc. unions? This is just another one. For the Republicans privatizing any government function is always the solution. When all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

I think the deeper question is why do so many parents feel compelled to look into alternatives for their child's education? Their local school is not working for them and is stuck in the industrial age. I think local schools need to stop complaining and start getting into the 21st Century! Public schools (not talking about charters here) need to redesign their curriculum (I would much rather my child learn how to write a 21st century blog for networking than reading yet another Shakespeare play), our school day (why can't students start school at different time or have more virtual options within the district), our teachers (more PD with digital technologies please!), grouping by age (rather than development appropriateness), preparing them with more specific skills for the future workforce. Being a teacher myself I am a believer in the public school system and I do send my children to the local public schools in Ann Arbor and must say it is disappointing to see my kids reading very old textbooks (rather than using books online or more up-to-date resources), getting &quot;busy work&quot; as homework, having very little technology integrated into their classes (or for homework!), and I'm looking at a very outdated website at my children's school (many of the teachers have a &quot;webpage&quot; that has not been updated in well over a year!). I can see why other parents look at charters, virtual options.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

Predictable and unfortunate.... a teacher writing a column to keep the money train headed to the MEA. This column is laughable and littered with self interest.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Ms. Bihlmeyer Thank you for standing up for your union and your pension. The founder of the Thompson Companies offered to open 4 charter high schools in Detroit and fund the buildings and extras. He is a wonderful person, he put his whole fortune on the block to do this for the children. Instead those children are still trapped in a failed system. One out of eight that start kindergarden graduate and are functionally literate. The result, the teacher's union was so violently opposed he withdrew the offer. Sound like for profit? Not to me and I am sure not to you. By law charters have to be non-profit. They can, like any school, hire a for profit management company. Some do, just like most public schools outsource some services. But this is not the story line that the teacher's union wants people to know or understand. Since state law makes each school be a separate district (the goal being to keep them from ever opening), having management that is familiar with federal and state laws and paperwork is critical and the overhead of having a paperwork specialist for every 200 student building would rob money from the classroom. Again this was something the lobbyists for the teacher's union got put in the law. Yes, the teachers union is all for the children and only for the children.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Don, Didn't mean to confuse you but Cody was my high school. And the school system, in my opinion, was swirling the drain back then. The differences between public and charter schools is the attitude of the students and the parents. The subject matter is the same between the two. By coincidence last night I hooked up with a couple high school buddies back in the old 'hood and we discussed Detroit's prospects for recovery. It won't happen in our lifetime. Detroit has been &quot;revitalizing&quot; since at least the early 70's. You simply cannot crunch the financial numbers to rebuild the city.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

Cody (a2citizen) - 1977 - a long time ago, and a very different school system in Detroit. Not all public schools have failed (after all charters are public schools too), only a few districts are complete failures. Detroit is an example of this failure. The whole city needs a rethink. Once the new corruption task force is done in the city, maybe there will be a government that can work. Once the government works, maybe the city can start a real recovery (not just the downtown business district). Then the schools have a chance. But as long as Principals are selling supplies paid for by the district to other people, there is no chance of the district in Detroit working.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

&quot;...pre-1967...&quot;??? Nice code, but I think you are allowed to say &quot;riot&quot;. Since you have nailed the decline to the year of the riots do you think there is a connection? I haven't decided that all public schools have failed. But there are articles here, routinely, about some ridiculous event in aaps that tell me their employees primary focus is on something besides the 3 R's. From sexual assaults on 8-year-olds that are not reported to police to &quot;lunch bunch&quot; for black students only, the list goes on. Cody, Class of 77


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

a2citizen - Of what era, pre-1967 when the school district was well run? In the Late 1960s and 1970s when it was in early decline or from post 1980 when the district was in freefall? And I note, you are keeping your children out of the public schools. So, you have decided they have failed, or your children would be in them. What is that called again? Starts with I think an &quot;H&quot;?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 6:09 a.m.

Hey Don, I'm a product of Detroit public schools and we are both commenting on the same website. So whose education has taken them farther?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

It is interesting to note, that Karen Bihlmeyer the author of this opinion piece is herself a teacher. Again, it all comes down to the money, but nowhere does she suggest how we fix the traditional school system. There is nothing wrong with funding a PUBLIC charter school with taxpayer money. It is a public school.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

I need a proofreader....Meant to say: It would be interesting to note, if Karen Bihlmeyer the author of this opinion piece, is herself a teacher?

Joe Kidd

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

I couldn't disagree more although I wish this did not have to happen. A couple things that Ms. Bihlmeyer brings up that are suspicious to me: &quot;The money being used to fund these private, for-private educational companies belongs to the citizens of Michigan. More specifically the public educational system.&quot; The money will be used by and is paid by the citizens of Michigan. Also most charter schools are dominant, more common than for profit schools. &quot;What happens when these private, for profit companies, sell out to investors that do not have the best interest of our children in mind?&quot; ' If this did happen, and I doubt it would, that would mean the school is doing so well investors want to buy them. That indicates they are doing a very good job. So, are you implying that investors are all crooked and they would strip the school of operating funds and leave the kids dangling? To suggest this I think you need to offer some proof that happens a lot. &quot;Should these companies lose ground, who do we go to? Members of an elected school board? Superintendents? Taxpayers? No, we will be subjected to an executive board, a CEO and shareholders.&quot; This makes no sense. &quot;lose ground?&quot; If a charter school fails the students can enroll in another charter school, a private school or a public school. &quot;Allowing large for profit companies to benefit so generously on our tax dollars, allocated for public education, is unethical.&quot; Are you implying that charter schools are making someone rich? Do you have some facts to back this up? If they are getting rich, how? The bottom line is if parents want to put their children in an alternate school from public education, why do they not have the right to do so? They pay taxes too, and I suppose they could say the same thing about public schools. Here are some reading materials: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Joe Kidd

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

Another: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> In this article, some of the cons sound like pros And a good video: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Interesting info in this, and cited by people in the education system. The example at 12:17 is a good example of public v private education.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

&quot;Parent Empowerment&quot;? These ALEC and Mackinac Center bills with doublespeak names are making for bizarre times. How about &quot;Neighborhood School Destruction Package&quot;?


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

Dirtgrain - 1) 13 studies, all flawed. The blog has covered this ground several times. There is no proof charters are in general better or worse. There are test scores within the City of Detroit that point to the charters there on average being much better than the DPS. 2) Then offer some solutions, give us something to think about and discuss, rather than we need to stick to the failed DPS system and trap the parents and children in that system. Don't say you have ideas and then hide them. I like your idea of using schools as neighborhood centers and inviting families in, now how would you move forward? What are the first steps? What are the goals of the program?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

DonBee: 1) It is melodramatic to say they don't have a chance. Worse yet, it is wrong to assume that charter schools offer something better; research shows they don't. Glittering generalities like &quot;choice&quot; and &quot;parent empowerment&quot; don't change that, but they do misinform people. 2) This is an unfounded claim on your part; I made no such statement. I have solutions in mind, but none of them involve privatizing schools, segregating them further, or destroying public schools. Charter schools are not constructive alternatives. One successful public school model is that of Deborah Meier. It started with empowering teachers and delegating control to them. Yep, teachers can make things better--if only they were given the power. One of the greatest predictors of a child's academic success is the education level of his or her parents. We should create programs to educate inner-city parents. We have to find ways to get parents in low-income areas to read to their children as much as parents do in higher-income areas (there is a discernible gap, and it explains a lot). We should strengthen the role of neighborhood schools as community centers. And the problems that correlate with poverty--drugs, crime, abuse, imprisonment (at ridiculously increasing rates)--have to be addressed. Education is integral to this, but the whole system and culture need to be addressed, as opposed to just thinking the schools alone can fix things.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

So dirtgrain your suggestion is: 1) Don't let parents in failed school districts have a choice or a chance. 2) Don't do anything to help the children in those districts because poverty is just poverty. Or do you have a constructive alternative, that has a reasonable chance of being implemented?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

DonBee, poverty is the problem. Charter schools aren't fixing that, but they are making things worse for inner-city public schools. Instead of trying to fix the problem, politicians and their puppeteers are figuring out ways to profit from it. Lastly, segregation is the trap. Look to your history.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

Dirtgrain - Maybe in the good districts, like Ann Arbor, there should not be any choice. But in Detroit and some of the other districts, your logic is condemning a generation of children to illiteracy and being poor. But maybe that is your goal? Are you looking for a voting block for specific purposes? Maybe repressing specific groups in society? I would like to really know why you want these children trapped in a failed system.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

Any money that a public school loses due to students opting to go elsewhere is bad for that public school. Operating costs don't magically shrink to match budgets. Logic supports my claim.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Please support your claim.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Of all the positions on both sides of the charter school issue, the &quot;companies should not make a profit of our kids&quot; argument is completely invalid. There are many parties operating within traditional schools that walk away with a profit - administrators, teachers, support staff, vendors; and depending on the amount, it's well deserved. Instead, let's reframe this point: What's an acceptable profit margin? Who should be earning it? Should measurable goals be set before the profit is rewarded? Should teachers earn automatic step increases based on time served and degree level, plus contract raises, even during a decade long recession? Let's also not forget that Charter schools have expenses traditional schools don't - property taxes, sales taxes, NWEA tests, come to mind. It would be great if researched these issues and shared their findings, as opposed to posting a letter representing one side of the argument. The comparison of for profit charter schools to Finanical organizations that received a bail out seems a stretch. No parent is going to continue sending their child to a charter school that fails to educate their son/daughter. The Colleges and Universities that authorize Charters have the option of not renewing a charter and closing the school, as Victory Academy in Ypsilanti is experiencing now - has the state board of education closed any traditional school for failure to educated it's students? Let's measure growth instead of proficiency. Let's make charters and the companies that run them more transparent. Let's reward teachers who meet growth goals. And in districts overcome with poverty, let's build programs that educate/incentivize parents to play a role in their child's education.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

&quot;Due to the amount of tax dollars that are taken from the public schools&quot; Charter schools are public schools, no taxes are taken from the funding of public education. Charter schools offer parents and children more choice in securing the best education and spending their tax dollars where it will benefit their families the most. For too many years now, parents and their children have had to play &quot;second fiddle&quot; to the unions that run public education. It is about time that the kids come first because that is what education is all about. Good Day

Adam Dickson

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Gambling with children's education? Charter schools produce standardized test results that consistently surpass the results of the DPS schools. Sounds like the gamblers are winning. Charter schools have higher standards for their teachers, and can fire them AT WILL if they don't produce results! If I had a kid, I'd have no problem putting them in a charter school.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Dirtgrain - I would suggest you look at the current charter information on the state website. I was not suggesting cherry picking.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

DonBee, cherry picking works both ways. From a 2010 article: &quot;University of Detroit Jesuit, Renaissance and Cass Tech are ranked in a report as the best high schools in the city of Detroit. . . . Two Covenant House academy charters for high school dropouts are listed among the worst&quot; (source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. If you want to do a good job of comparing public and charter schools, more formal research should be sought out.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

Dirtgrain - It is simple, you can do the research. Go to the state website and look up a few of the DPS buildings, then the charters with Detroit addresses. You will find the charters are doing way better.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Please support your claims.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

Parents who send their kids to charter schools for a better education are fooling themselves because of the &quot;grass is greener on the other side&quot; mentality. The same goes for &quot;school of choice&quot;. A public school education is a public school education. 1 + 1 = 2, whether you are in a public, charter or private school. If you don't send your kids to a private school for financial (or any other) reasons, fine. But don't kid yourself into thinking a charter school is providing a better education than any other public school. If you are to busy to be involved in your childs education a stranger standing in front of a room full of 20 or 30 kids is not going to be of much help.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

@ a2citizen, I am confused, your statement that your child is not in public school and hopefully never will be seems incongruous with your original post.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 6:03 a.m.

Don Bee, I attended Detroit public schools. My child is not in a public school and, hopefully, never will be.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 2 a.m.

a2citizen - Send your children to the Detroit Public Schools then. Since there is no difference in public schools, you should not mind sending them there at all.

Dog Guy

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

As a longtime taxpaid teacher, I share your concern for my sinecure, my check, and my benefits. I am distressed that parents might have more concern and fondness for their children than for me. Thank you for your attention to this proposal.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

As long as schools like AAPS continue their social experiments on children (PEG, Glenn Singleton, the new &quot;discipline gap&quot; strategies, etc..), it will get harder to prevent the socioeconomic segregation you speak of. Bottom line, if parents don't feel the school is taking their child's safety seriously or not challenging them academically, they will leave if it is financially viable and charter schools make it financially viable.


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Thankfully, your &quot;selfish&quot; concerns, if one doesn't read weasel sarcasm in your comment, have you standing coincidentally on the right side of this issue. Paying teachers well is surely an important issue. More important is preventing the socioeconomic segregation that politicians are trying to bring about. &quot;Charter schools: because I don't want my kid going to school with those kids.&quot;

Jeff Gaynor

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. At its worst, this is a nightmare. The most positive spin would be saying it's better for tax money to go to investors rather than to staff - mostly teachers, and to some degree, resources for students. I reckon some might argue this might save taxpayers money. Doubtful, but even adding that into the equation, but at what cost - and for whose benefit?

Angry Moderate

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:09 a.m.

Don't you think someone who has a financial conflict of interest should disclose it when he comments on the topic, Mr. Gaynor?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Mr. Gaynor - You only have to look at the Administration salaries in Ann Arbor to see that the &quot;for profit&quot; motive is alive and well in public education - only instead of share holders - it is the administration that lays off teachers to line their own pockets.