Charter School Activites

Charter schools are a major focus of the new Board majority.  Charter schools were originally conceived as a way to allow experimentation in new teaching techniques (and the best would then be adopted by the regular system), provide better education to poor neighborhoods, and do all of this for a lower cost that a traditional public school.

But if you look around Colorado, what you find is that the Charter school movement has been hijacked by several different groups, mostly conservative.  Charter schools today tend use either teaching techniques already found in the public schools or are trademarked fads, are placed in upscale neighborhoods, and are constantly coming to the school districts for “loans” and have outrageous fund raisers (win a new car raffles, etc.,).  They often have a religious or ideological bias built into the curriculum, have high teacher turn-over rates, and resist taking the same state tests that traditional public schools have to take in order to avoid genuine comparisons.  In short, they have departed broadly from the original intent.

On this page will we monitor Charter school activity in the District, especially anything that comes to the Board.  The links below will take you to pages that deal with specific Charter schools or specific Charter activities going on in the District.

Collegiate Academy of Colorado – Financial problems
Current status:  $400,000 loan approved by the Board, January 16, 2014.

Cornerstone Academy of  Colorado – Application problems
Current status:  In “facilitation” with the District.

19 thoughts on “Charter School Activites

  1. Obama and Arne Duncan are huge charter school fans. Last I checked they weren’t conservative…which movement are they a part of? There is a movement against testing all over the country, not just from charters. Also, 70% of the top ten high schools in Colorado are charter or option schools so clearly many are doing something right and better than a lot of neighborhood schools. You posted before that you aren’t against charters, this post is clearly antagonistic toward charters..

    • The point and purpose of this blog site and it’ related Facebook page is to keep people informed as to the actions of the Board in general, and WNW+Miller specifically. We find their motivations, pronouncements, and actions very worrisome and concerning. We are open to good, sound, logical debate.

      What will not be tolerated is the casting of aspersions, name-calling, or unthinking polemics. It is not freedom of speech when one person or group attempts to drown out the other side by sheer volume. We have prohibited people from posting on our Facebook site and this Blog when their actions are deceptive, bullying, disrespectful, or simply unthinking and repeated ranting. They may have the right to shout. We have the right to choose not to listen to them. They can shout all they want from their own blog site or Facebook page.

      Your comment above made unwarranted assumptions. Specifically, we have never said we were Obama or Arne Duncan supporters. In truth, some of us are and some of us are not. It is not relevant to the point and purpose of this blog. You also assume we are pro-testing. Obviously you did care to review one of recent Saturday Posts “Be Careful What You Test For…“.

      Your second to the last paragraph claimed facts without support. You did not cite a source nor post a link for verification of your claims. Finally, your last sentence is a spurious arguments without foundation.

      This is the third such post you have made.

      All of this has frankly placed you on the path for being banned. In fact, it is only because your comments to “Show Up At The Budget Meeting” were so honest and thought provoking that has stopped us. So long as you keep your posts to being informative, thought-provoking, with verifiable facts, you will be welcome here. If, on the other hand, we see then you will be prohibited from posting as well. Please do not let that happen. We do enjoy thoughtful posts even from people who oppose our views, such as Cello Girls’. If you model your comments after hers, they will not only be approved, but also stand a far better chance of changing some minds.

  2. Not all Charters require loans from the district to function. There are quite a few that do not require that even though Charters do not get the same amount of Mill Levy funding as general Public schools and have more fees to pay to the district. The few that do require the loans should not be used to paint the majority of the others that don’t with the same brush.

    As for the education of Public Charters being the same as General Public schools or fad teaching styles, that is incorrect. Core knowledge is a tried and tested curriculum that has been used for years, but is not in the general Public Schools and is not a fad. It goes back to what I learned 20+ years ago going to school: Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic. The curriculum stands up so well that the teachers don’t have to “teach to the test” in order for their students to pass those tests with flying colors. It is also such a good curriculum that my children are learning more with it than in a GT (Gifted and Talented) School. I know this because we left a GT school to come to our current charter. My oldest, who tested at 99.8 out of 100 on her aptitude/IQ test, receives more challenge at the charter than she did at the GT School.

    Not all general public schools are right for each child. Having the Charters available as a choice for educating your child is necessary. Every child learns differently and Public Charters can provide the different education styles that fit different children. My children did not do well in the general public school system. The curriculum there seemed to be more of a social science experiment than an actual thought out curriculum. The math that was available was Math Investigations, and the Language Arts was a joke. Math Investigations is not going to teach children what they need to in order to be ready for college. This has been proven by how many High School graduates that go to college have to start off with remedial math and English. This is not so with most graduates from the Core Knowledge and Saxon Math Curriculum. My local Public HS has 3 students from my charter currently in competition for the highest grades for Valedictorian. Not an easy feat by any means.

    I don’t know which Charters you are talking about when you said “outrageous fundraisers”. Our Charter does not do that. The PTO doesn’t even do that. Our PTO does 2 major fundraisers a year in order to give our teachers and children more educational, technology and arts support than is available in most General Public Schools. The school itself still gets by with the scholastic book orders, boxtops and candy sales to supplement the shortfall we get from funding. We have recently implemented using the King Sooper cards for parents to be able to help fund their field trips without any cost outlay to the parents.

    “They often have a religious or ideological bias built into the curriculum, have high teacher turn-over rates, and resist taking the same state tests that traditional public schools have to take in order to avoid genuine comparisons.”

    For this comment, I ask: Where? The closest thing to religious that we get is saying the Pledge of Allegiance. We also take the same tests: Map and TCAP. In our case, we score so high on them that it is hard to improve on that score from year to year. We also don’t attempt to change our curriculum so that the kids are doing better on the test just to do better. We teach our kids what they need to learn to be intelligent and productive members of society when they graduate. We also don’t have a high turn over rate. Our teachers are fully certified and keep their certifications up to date and we will hold up to any comparison you wish to place us against a General Public School. We do all this with less funding than General Public Schools. We may get the same PPR, but we have fees that the General Public Schools don’t have, we have to pay for our own building expenses that they do not, and we get less from the Mill Levies than they do. We get around $ 250 from the Mill Levies and they get $ 1400. After all’s said and done, we educate our kids on around $ 2000 less than the General Public Schools.

    I am not a political person, so I may get this wrong, but aren’t conservatives all about not changing things? Hence the “conservation” of what was there? I am an Independent because I prefer to look at the facts instead of being lumped in a group one way or another. As far as I know, the Public Charters are all about changing things and doing things differently than the General Public Schools. This would logically mean that they lean more towards liberal than conservative to my way of thinking.

    • Thank you for your post.

      We feel that there are serious misunderstandings on both sides of Charter schools. We are working on a fairly comprehensive series of posts concerning Charter schools. We hope the first post will be out in the next few weeks.

      What we do know is that the purpose, methodology, funding, and measurement of charter schools is not simple. As we have said many times, we are not anti-charter school. We are anti-poorly run charter schools. We are also anti-promise breaking when it comes to public funds raised by votes of taxpayers. Taxpayers have long memories on promises broken, but short ones on who in the public office broke the promise. Our concern on the use of 3A/3B funds goes to that. We worry that JeffCo taxpayers will remember the fact that WNW, acting for the District, broke the District’s promise on how the money was to be spent. They will not remember that it was WNW, and so will punish a later Board that goes to them in the future, asking for Mill Levy Override.

      This is not about whether Charter schools should receive more money. This is about where that money comes from.

      • As a concerned JeffCo voter and public charter school parent, I’m confused as to what promises are being broken? When 3A/3B was passed, it was with the understanding that the funds would go to help ALL of the children in public schools in Jefferson County, which includes public charter schools. (Here in Colorado, our public charter schools ARE public schools.)

        You can see the information re: the inclusion of public charter schools in the 3A/3B funding in this FAQ:

        Not allowing the public charter schools to be funded with that money would be breaking the promise, not the other way around.

        • At issue is not whether or not Charter Schools should receive part of the 3A/3B money. It is whether or not money that was supposed to be used to rebuild the Reserve Fund should be diverted to Charter Schools, in excess of what had been promised during the 3A/3B campaign.

  3. If you are not anti Public Charter, then why is the original posting here full of misinformation and propaganda to promulgate fear and loathing of Public Charters? If you want to shine a light on poorly funded and mismanaged Public Charters, then that is what you should do rather than promote the fallacy that all Public Charters have been “hijacked” and are operating outside their original purpose and vision.

    Public Charters are not in competition with General Public Schools. They are not taking money away from the children in General Public Schools because the children that are attending them ARE the General Public. Public Charters are also not all in the “upscale neighborhoods” and “coming to the district for loans” all the time. Public Charters are filled with children through Choice Enrollment. That means the parents have researched that school and found it to be a better educational fit than the General Public Schools and they chose that school. If the curriculum was bad, or there was high Teacher turn over, I guarantee you that the school would not be around for long because no one would attend there.

    Promoting the fallacy that all Public Charters have “departed broadly from the original intent” is just propaganda and misinformation. All that does is create an atmosphere of distrust, hatred and fear. This is not a good way to get your point across that the Public Charters should be managed properly. When it comes to poorly managed Public Charter schools, we’re on the same side!

    As for the comment: “not whether Charter schools should receive more money. This is about where that money comes from.” Public Charters are Public Schools. No where in 3A/3B did it EXCLUDE Public Charters from the funding that would be raised by the bond. Public Charters are just that; Public Schools. We are ALL Jeffco parents with children in Jeffco schools. Trying to exclude the Public Charters from using the funds after the fact is more along the lines of breaking promises than actually using the funds. The FAQ even says that some funds will even go to Public Charters.
    “Will any bond money benefit Charter Schools?
    Yes. The amount is still to be determined based on the specific needs of the schools.”

    I can also say from personal experience that some of our Jeffco Public Charters actually helped to get 3A/3B worded and passed with the expectation that we would receive some funding from it to help even things out.

    • We are not anti-Charter. We are anti-breaking promises. The Charter schools received the money from 3A/3B they had been promised. The funds at issue now are funds in excess of that promised money. Those proposed funds would be diverted from the rebuilding of the Reserve Fund, which is what needs to be done for a lot of reasons.

  4. I will call it like it is: Charter schools are a SCAM! Just follow the money of the proponents of these false educational institutions. They are nothing more than a way for corporations to extract money from the tax base and, in many cases, promote a religious agenda. And another point: if you don’t want your white children going to school with the brown kids, just man up and send them to private school.

  5. Ummm…JDS, our charter school has a higher percentage of “brown kids” than my local elementary and middle schools. This, and the Core Knowledge curriculum, were my primary reasons for sending my “brown” daughter there. Also, BTW, there’s no religious agenda at our school. It would offend this agnostic and her family.

  6. I guess I am the only GOP card carrying practicing Catholic who thinks kids should be allowed to privately pray in school who has the following opinion: WNW need to be removed from this board…NOW. School boards should not be about politics, they should be be about performance, accountability, and ETHICS. These three did not campaign saying they were going to divert EXTRA money to charter schools. These three did not campaign saying they were going to oust one of the most successful superintendents in the country. These three did not campaign saying they would use my tax money to pay for a PR firm to help one member not sound like Sarah Palin after a traumatic brain injury. These three did not campaign saying they would use my tax dollars to hire an attorney to represent them, EVEN THOUGH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ALREADY HAS COUNSEL!!! These three did not did not say that, if they had the chance, they would replace said superintendent with someone who had never led a district, AND THEN PAY THEM $80,000 MORE A YEAR THAN THE SUCCESSFUL PREDECESSOR. This board did not campaign saying they wanted to “modify” the AP History curriculum, even though the curriculum is meant to prepare students to pass a uniform exam that grants college credit.

    Would anyone please tell me how these three are possibly justified in doing what they are doing?

    Lastly, Ms. Williams has chosen to leave on her facebook page the following quote from a friend: “The only thing worse than democrats is muslims. Even rats are better”. Yes, Ms. Williams did not make the quote, but she also did not take issue with the quote which insults 47% of our country, and she not bothered to remove it from her page.

    I don’t have a problem with charter schools if they are effective, and I am not a fan of the common core and its excessive testing, but these three board members are to education what Obamacare is to effective healthcare. Get rid of all of it…now.

    • Sean, you are not the only conservative unhappy with WNW, by any means! WNW are not true conservatives, they are radicals. True conservatives would not spend taxpayer dollars so recklessly, would listen to the public and work to find compromise on this board. These are radicals with a religious and political agenda!

      We have heard from a number of true conservatives just as unhappy as you are with WNW.

      WNW and their supporters like to play this as conservatives versus liberals and the evil teacher’s union but most of us know that true conservatives would NEVER behave this way!

  7. LOL, I guess my voice recognition software cannot manage my Colorado twang. I was saying “WNW” but it came out as “WMW”. My apologies.

    • After seeing this comment, we went ahead and edited your typo for you! Don’t worry about it, we have made PLENTY of typos ourselves!

      Good comment! Would you mind if we posted on our Facebook link?

  8. By all means. “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike”.

  9. Good gravy! 2nd to last paragraph: “and she HAS not bothered to remove it from her page.”

    Maybe I need Julie Williams’ PR firm to do some vetting of my posts?

  10. The sad truth is that Charter Schools are NOT public schools, but are paid for by public tax funds. Charter Schools can both easily expel “troublemaking” students and reject special needs students to make sure their standardized test scores are higher so they can lobby for more tax funds, while REAL public schools cannot simply expel troubled students and reject special needs students because those students perform worse on standardized tests. If you support charter schools and you’re not a billionaire, then you’ve accepted the misinformation created by billionaires and you’re not considering educational best practices, evidence-based research, and what is best for communities of teachers and students. Have you noticed the recent public school closures; public schools for special needs students have been shut down because budget. But I’m sure there is a publicly funded charter school who will teach all of the special needs students how to be good little Burger King employees.

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