Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Voucher and Charter Abuses

The Baton Rouge Advocate carried a story that stumbled upon a common practice of both voucher and charter schools called creaming. This story is about a child who received a voucher to attend a religious school in Ascension Parish. Upon attempting to enroll her child in the school, the parent found out that the school required an entrance interview and the taking of an enrollment test. Following the testing, the parent was notified by the school that her child would be required to repeat the 4th grade in order to be accepted by the school. The student had passed the 4th grade LEAP which normally is the main criteria for promotion to the 5th grade, yet the voucher school would not honor the previous placement of the student. As a result the parent will probably choose not to enroll her child in the voucher school.

These practices (the entrance interview and grade repeat requirements) allow a school to skim only the most "acceptable" students without officially refusing entry to some students they don't want. Many charter schools "manage" their enrollment in this manner to insure high performance ratings. Real public schools must accept all students no matter what it does to their performance scores.

Another story in the same issue explains how Crestworth Middle school will now be taken over by the state from its charter manager partly because of fire code violations. But it also turns out that the charter board has not been paying its bills and is probably in financial trouble. So even though the media has buried the real story, all but one of the charter takeover schools in the Baton Rouge area have now been taken back from their charter operators. And the one still in the hands of its charter operator is a Turkish operated school still under investigation for possible violations of policy and/or law. Instead of reporting on the complete disaster of the Baton Rouge takeovers, The Advocate a couple of months ago announced that the State Department had created a new "achievement zone" to take over failing Baton Rouge schools. That article forgot to mention that all but one of the schools being taken over were really failed Recovery District schools.

You couldn't make this stuff up! The voucher and charter schools are a huge waste of our taxpayer dollars, yet the new media in Baton Rouge continues to assist the State Department of Education in trying to dupe the public. This one story by reporter Charles Lussier is the first one by the Advocate that begins to tell the public truth about how deceptive the Recovery District has been in dealing with the charter school disasters.

Take a look at the latest posts by Diane Ravitch just today that demonstrate how dangerous these vouchers and charters can be to our public school systems and how they shortchange our students. To add insult to injury, Louisiana is becoming a laughing stock across the country for Jindal's reform fiascoes.


Kathy said...

Not much of any real investigation of education news is ever in the Advocate. Actually I think the best news comes from the reporters associated with Garnett...News Star out of Monroe. Did you see the story of the mother who didn't even get a voucher due to lack of seats. Think that was yesterday. So, sad. We who have been opponents to the ed reform and vouchers tried to tell them. More to come!

We even got coverage on MNBC's "Hardball" earlier this evening. Another moment for the nation's viewers to laugh out loud at Louisiana.

Kathy said...

Here's the link, Mike to Hardball.