Charter schools and the damage to real public schools | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools

Posted By on Sat, Feb 9, 2019 at 7:31 AM

click to enlarge 5147wuioadl._sx339_bo1_204_203_200_.jpg
Charter schools have become a growing political issue nationally (if not so much in Arkansas) as advocates of democraticaly run conventional public school districts come to understand the  peril. For reading, an essay on how charter schools are "pushing public schools to the breaking point."

In Little Rock there's ready evidence of some familiar points in the article: First, the transfer of students to charters with loss of state financial support; the loss of voter support for the eroding public school district in tax elections, and the concentration of less-advantaged students in the public school district. Efficiency is an issue, too. Little Rock, already overbuilt in some neighborhoods, has been losing still more students in those neighborhoods to charters that have taken over old buildings (purchased by the Walton Family Foundation for lease to private operators.

“It’s really not a matter of whether it’s ‘state’ money or ‘locally raised’ money that’s being transferred,” writes Rutgers University professor Bruce Baker in an email. “It’s about the fact that kids are shifting to charters, and money for district schools is declining at a pace whereby the district cannot possibly immediately, efficiently adjust its budget and use of space.”

Indeed, the ebb and flow of charter schools make it near impossible for school districts to precisely predict enrollment, staffing, transportation, and facilities needs. And because public schools must, by law, accommodate all students, public school administrators are in the awkward position of having to anticipate the greatest need without knowing for sure the students will show up. And should students who transferred to charters at the beginning of the year come back mid-year, the per-pupil funding doesn’t come back with them.

Baker also finds fault in the inefficient way charter schools are configured with their own separate governing boards, separate administrative and teaching staffs, separate facilities, and separate transportation (if they happen to offer it).

“It’s just inefficient,” Baker contends. “Running two systems in a common space is just less efficient and more expensive than running one.”
In Little Rock, there are multiple school districts where there used to be one, with one of the largest, eStem, currently creating not only problems for LRSD, but for  UA Little Rock, made home to a high school on a campus inadequate to handle it.

In some cities, growth of privately managed schools using public money has led to takeover of entire school systems. That could yet be in the cards for Little Rock.

Tags: , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Today's the day for landlord-tenant bill UPDATE Another defeat

    Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould) says he will present his HB 1410 to provide protection to renters at a committee meeting after adjournment today. The bill will incorporate changes suggested by the Arkansas Realtors Assocviation, but that powerful lobby still won't support the bill. UPDATE: the bill fell one vote short.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • Headlines and the open line

    A busy legislature leads the day's video news roundup. Here's the open line.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • Senate committee approves tobacco tax bill with income tax cut

    The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee this morning endorsed Sen. Jim Hendren's SB 571 to provide an income tax cut for low-income people and make up the revenue loss with an increase in the tax on cigarettes and other smoking products.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation