Weekly Leg Fax: Charter school waiting lists

 Parent Voices Weekly Education Fax

April 10, 2013

Oppose rapid expansion of charter schools

 This week’s update:Charter waiting list numbers greatly exaggerated

Local Chicago NPR station WBEZ-FM reported this week that the charter school waiting list figure cited by advocates“significantly overstates demand” and that “the 19,000 figure counts applications, not students, meaning if a student applies to four schools, he or she is counted four times. It includes kids who have turned down charter seats and are now enrolled in other schools.Perhaps the most startling finding is that a significant chunk–about 3,000–are high school dropouts applying for alternative schools. What’s more, saying that 19,000 students are on waiting lists to get into charter schools ignores another figure: there are between 3,000 and 5,000 available seats in charter schools right now, according to charter advocates.” (http://tinyurl.com/cpdyzd5)

The Boston Globe reported a similar story: “The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in tallying the waiting lists statewide and for many individual communities, including Boston, frequently counts the same students more than once.” (http://tinyurl.com/d6z7s4b)

PAA’s position: PAA opposes efforts to privatize public education through the expansion of charters, vouchers or other privately-run programs at the expense of regular public schools. Using misleading waiting list numbers to create a sense of urgency to expand charter schools is not helpful. The most authoritative studies show that charter schools overall are no better, and many are worse, than traditional schools. Policies which encourage the rapid proliferation of charter schools could be harmful to students and communities.

PAA’s recommendations:

  • We believe in improving the schools we have, rather than shutting schools down in order to expand charter schools.
  • All charter schools should have neighborhood boundaries and accept all children from within those boundaries whose parents choose to enroll their child at the charter school.
  • Charter school enrollment processes should be consistent with and as simple as those of neighborhood public schools.
  • Charter schools should not require fees, charge financial penalties, or otherwise create a financial barrier for students to be in school.
  • Charter schools and all other schools receiving public funds must be equally transparent and accountable in reporting their spending, enrollment, discipline, and transfer and attrition rates, and be prevented from discriminating against special needs, homeless or low-income students, children of color or English-language learners, or any other protected class.

For more detail on PAA’s position on charter schools, please see http://tinyurl.com/bczrjqa

For more information please visit us online at www.parentsacrossamerica.org

Download a pdf version of this fax here.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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