There’s little question there’s nothing more important than investing in the lives of our children. While Frederick County and Maryland do have some excellent public schools, there are also many schools that are second-rate. In fact, disparity in school quality isn’t unique to Frederick County or Maryland and is exactly the reason why charter schools were created in the first place.

I recently found out that, despite Maryland’s reputation for excellent public schools, the state received an “F,” worst in the nation, when it comes to charter-school-law rankings (see Center for Education Reform at www.edreform.com). Is this because we don’t need charter schools? Or is it because Maryland has many very affluent communities with good tax bases and most of the public schools are very good? However, what about those less affluent communities with lower tax bases and second-rate schools? Don’t the children in those school districts still deserve an opportunity for the highest level of education?

It seems that resting on our laurels and waving the flag of great blue ribbon schools is a bad idea and will only contribute to greater disparity. What we need is choice, competition and pay-for-performance. In life, there’s no free lunch. To attract the best talent, we have to be willing and able to pay $125,000 (look at TEP charters) to retain the best teachers and have the flexibility to get rid of those that are underperforming. There’s no more powerful agitator than excellent charter schools, and the only way to pay for the best is through charter schools. However, in order to have good charter schools we first need to have good charter school laws.

Reform? Or apathy?

Adam Meredith

Frederick

(68) comments

mikeswan1200

FACTS!!
OK….here are some 2015 PARCC scores from the Charter Schools vs FCPS as a whole. Two of the three charter schools outpace FCPS drastically in the later grades. Let’s put the notion that all Charter schools are underperforming to rest and stop pulling data from other areas of the country…
There are adding together the Met Expectations and Exceed Expectations percentages and discounting the "less than 5%" count. FCCS-Frederick Classical Charter School, CCM- Carroll Creek Montessori, MVM- Monocacy Valley Montessori.
English Language Arts/ Literacy-Grade 3 FCPS- 56.2/ FCCS- 55/ CCM- 40.7/ MVM- 46.9
English Language Arts/ Literacy-Grade 4 FCPS- 49.4/ FCCS- 70/ CCM- 14.3/ MVM- 25
English Language Arts/Literacy-Grade 5 FCPS- 46.8/ FCCS- 64.1/ CCM- 27.8/ MVM- 65.5
English Language Arts/Literacy-Grade 6 FCPS- 48.0/ FCCS- 65.7/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 70.4
English Language Arts/ Literacy-Grade 7 FCPS- 40.1/ FCCS- 60.6/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 64.3
English Language Arts/ Literacy-Grade 8 FCPS- 41.0/ FCCS- NA/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 70.8
Mathematics Grade 3 FCPS- 51.6/ FCCS- 50.0/ CCM- 33.3/ MVM- 31.2
Mathematics Grade 4 FCPS- 41.1/ FCCS- 42.5/ CCM- 9.5/ MVM- 8.3
Mathematics Grade 5 FCPS- 43.2/ FCCS- 48.7/ CCM- 22.2/ MVM- 24.1
Mathematics Grade 6 FCPS- 41.1/ FCCS- 48.5/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 40.7
Mathematics Grade 7 FCPS- 32.3/ FCCS- 54.6/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 67.8
Mathematics Grade 8 FCPS- 25.8/ FCCS- NA/ CCM- NA/ MVM- 63.2
FCCS has been around since fall 2013 and started with grades 1-6. Classical education (FCCS) tends to test better in later years due to repetitious structure. FCCS drastically outpaced FCPS in reading starting in grade 4 and math in grade 7. Only time will tell if this pattern hold true.
MVM has been around since 2002. They drastically outpaced FCPS in reading starting in Grade 5 and math in Grade 7.
CCM has been around since fall 2012 and test score are not good. I’m guessing they are generally at a disadvantage on the PARCC due to its Spanish immersion concentration and the high teacher and administration turnover. Potentially like MVM, the Montessori education takes time manifest as better scores in the later grade levels.

mikeswan1200

The above numbers are percentage of students within the total of "Met Expectations" and "Exceeds Expectations"

Hayduke2

Nice statistics but you are comparing 40,000+ students performance to a much smaller sample. Really is apples to oranges unless you match numbers and demographics of each.

mikeswan1200

Somehow all the opponents pull up random studies that show unfavorable results from around the Country on Charter Schools (BTW...I could do the same thing demonstrating good results). However, when actual FREDERICK COUNTY testing results are posted, you want to dismiss it. Unbelievable...

Hayduke2

Not dismissing but you can't mathematically treat a sample of 40,000 the same as 400. Come on man!

public-redux

The 2015 PARCC scores reflect less than two full academic years for a school that started in fall 2013, right? Do you think it is possible that there might be explanatory factors other than "charter"?

I support charter schools but I detest bad arguments, especially for ideas I hold dear.

merediad

Unfortunately, as a result of some editorial liberty a changed title changed the thrust of the letter. The point isn't whether or not charter schools will lead reform (though I do think they can), it is that without reformed charter school laws they stand little chance.

Fundamentally, I believe competition is good, that it stimulates higher levels of performance. Who wouldn't want options? Who wouldn't want better schools? Who wouldn't want to give charter schools the best chance of success through reform? Answer: those who already district to good schools and are apathetic to the fact that others don't.

What folks fail to recognize with this myopic thinking is that ultimately, they too will reap the benefits of competition. While this won't happen overnight, if given a chance through reformed laws, Charter schools can stimulate excellence.

Hayduke2

Operative word in your last sentence is " can." No strong data that simply being a charter school does. Same can be said for public schools in terms of stimulating excellence.

merediad

...and only if given a decent chance of success by having reasonable charter laws!

Hayduke2

who defines "reasonable charter laws?"

phydeaux994

First, when this conversation started this morning I was challenging DickD's never ending contention that Charter Schools are Private Schools. I think I have put that falsehood to rest. Second, I never said that I agree with Tom Neumark and the LTE author. They won't change anything in the near future. Third, I never contended that Charter Schools will always outperform regular Public Schools. Again, my answer to hayduke was as follows. "Nobody said that a Charter School in the inner city will outperform a regular Public School in the suburbs. Charter Schools are designed to offer public school education a different path to the same end. The students in Charter Schools are chosen by the luck of the draw in the lottery. They don't suddenly become smarter because they got chosen to attend a Charter School. But the founders of Charter Schools have an extra incentive to succeed, whether they are for profit or a group of teachers who got together to start a Charter School. They must succeed to stay in business. They must meet the standards set out in their Charters."

DickD

Right now, Charter schools are required to use state certified teachers, This is one item Neumark and his cronies want changed, In fact, right now the charter schools cannot hire their teachers, so how can you possibly say charter schools are better or worse. The teachers are the same, the pay is the same. But that would not be true if Neumark got his way.

phydeaux994

You're grasping at straws now DickD. Tom Neumark will never get his way. You know that. If Governor Hogan couldn't get the Maryland Charter School Law changed it will stay the way it is for a long time.

Observer10

There is a need for charter schools in places like Washington, D.C. where the system is terribly broken. For Frederick County, charter schools simply are a way for a few families to have a private school at the public expense. Charter schools drain millions of dollars from the public schools to support their private schools. If you look at the progress of charter schools in Frederick County in reading and math, you would find that the charter schools lag their public school counterparts. Unfortunately, the Board of Education refuses to hold charter schools to the terms of their charters and allows failing charter schools to continue or to reinvent themselves. If taxpayers in Frederick County want to have their taxes make a difference, they should contact the members of the Board of Education and require charter schools to reach the goals in their original charters or be closed. Put the money back into public schools where all students can benefit.

phydeaux994

"If you look at the progress of charter schools in Frederick County in reading and math, you would find that the charter schools lag their public school counterparts."......Tell us where to look.

ehpercy

Try looking here http://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/

ehpercy

Ok, I also looked at the numbers and Frederick Classical is doing pretty good except the fact they have almost no Special Needs or FARM students. That gooses their numbers. If you disaggregate the their peers they are in all bets middle of the pack.

Oh, BTW, because they do not many Special Needs (with are supported by the County) or FARM students they are getting the funding they deserve.

ehpercy

I will note that I actually look at the facts versus what Tom Neumark and his minions are selling.

phydeaux994

How about our Montessori School. Their elementary school ranks second in the County behind Urbana and their middle school ranks #1. http://www.greatschools.org/maryland/frederick/

ehpercy

They are the exception that proves the rule. One school out of several doing ok with stilted enrollment in this county proves little.

ehpercy

And again I posit, that the greatschools list is not a good indicator.

mikeswan1200

FACTS!!
OK….here are some 2015 PARCC scores from the Charter Schools vs FCPS as a whole. Two of the three charter schools outpace FCPS drastically in the later grades. Let’s put the notion that all Charter schools are underperforming to rest and stop pulling data from other areas of the country…
There are adding together the Met Expectations and Exceed Expectations percentages and discounting

phydeaux994

Everything you say about Charter Schools in your comment are untrue. For your enlightenment: http://www.pbs.org/closingtheachievementgap/faq.html

ehpercy

Except the data does not prove out the value of Charter Schools. There are exceptions to the rule but generally Charter Schools underperform compared to their in district counterparts. It is even worse in high performing districts like Frederick County.

phydeaux994

Show me. Give me a link to ANYTHING that backs up your comment. Here is a link to back up mine. http://www.greatschools.org/maryland/frederick/

ehpercy

You are relying on one school on a limited list. How about the expanded lists here?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/charters-not-outperforming-nations-traditional-public-schools-report-says/2013/06/24/23f19bb8-dd0c-11e2-bd83-e99e43c336ed_story.html

There are also Dept. of Ed. surveys that prove the same. Please try to do some real research.

Just a note, one of the people that Tom Neumark used to try to prove his point was the leader of Charter School in Anne Arundel County that had test scores in the middle of the pack of an underperforming county. What does that say? If they can prove they are better (which mostly they are not) I will listen, but I will not allow someone to berate the public schools for their shortcomings when the alternatives they proffer do worse.

DickD

"I recently found out that, despite Maryland’s reputation for excellent public schools, the state received an “F,” worst in the nation, when it comes to charter-school-law rankings (see Center for Education Reform at www.edreform.com). "


So, you want us to take a report issued by the organization that is trying to overthrow the public school system. Isn't that the same as the "Fox watching the hen house"? Do it my way or you fail. Give me what I want, nothing else is acceptable. All BS.

Comment deleted.
DickD

Yes, Neumark is fighting to get all control away from the County and the State. He does not want anyone telling him what he can or cannot do, but he wants our tax money. It isn't going to happen!

phydeaux994

I agree.

phydeaux994

http://www.greatschools.org/maryland/frederick/

ehpercy

Do remember Tom Neumark touted that Frederick Classical would be the best thing since slice bread. I guess they missed that.

phydeaux994

That's like picking one criminal out of the population and saying all people are criminals. Come on percy, your as unwilling to admit you're wrong as DickD. Narcissistic personalities will never admit defeat.
http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/charter_schools/docs/md_charter_school_laws.html

ehpercy

But you are buying into his snake oil aren't you? The performance numbers are against you. Again as I pointed out Frederick Classical does not show up on the Great Schools website.

ehpercy

I am waiting for you to show me numbers that prove me wrong. I have done the research and they are not there for you.

ehpercy

Almost no special needs or FARM students at Tom's boutique school. Sounds like a private school to me. Oh BTW studies have shown that students at private schools on the same socio/economic scale as public school students do only as well or worse than their public school cohorts. Guess what, money rules, and Charter school advocates want it to take it away from the majority.

phydeaux994

This is the answer I gave hayduke earlier....phydeaux994 Apr 26, 2016 10:27pm
I totally agree with you hayduke. Nobody said that a Charter School in the inner city will outperform a regular Public School in the suburbs. Charter Schools are designed to offer public school education a different path to the same end. The students in Charter Schools are chosen by the luck of the draw in the lottery. They don't suddenly become smarter because they got chosen to attend a Charter School. But the founders of Charter Schools have an extra incentive to succeed, whether they are for profit or a group of teachers who got together to start a Charter School. They must succeed to stay in business. They must meet the standards set out in their Charters. But I'd still like to see some of those numerous studies you mention for my own education.

ehpercy

Here is what you don't get, the students that get put into the lottery are students of motivated parents/guardians. Look at the top performing schools (public/private) and what is generally the hallmark? Motivated parents/guardians. But when compared to their peer groups on the socio/economic scale they do not meet the mark of public schools. How do you square that with you business model? Tom Neumark sells that BS but is absolutely unable to back his numbers up, and never has. Charters are a bad education model, and a bad business model. The numbers don't lie regardless of Tom Neumark's decades long obfuscations.

Hayduke2

" Education Week reports on the growth of websites that attempt to provide parents with help in choosing schools, including rating schools according to testing results. The most prominent of these sites is GreatSchools.org. Its test-based school ratings could not be more simplistic – they are essentially just percentile rankings of schools’ proficiency rates as compared to all other schools in their states (the site also provides warnings about the data, along with a bunch of non-testing information). " Several sources warned about using your above reference as being simplistic and using self-reporting data. The reference above also lists Linganore HS ( which I think is a good school ) but it should be noted, as referenced in today's FNP, that they did not make the World News list of top high schools. So, one might conclude, that it really depends on what point someone is trying to make.

DickD

Yes, I wondered about Linganore too and agree it is a good school.

ehpercy

Hhmm I don't see Frederick Classical anywhere on that list. Please prove to me how great Tom's public financed private school compares?

Hayduke2

You are relying on an F grade given by an organization that promotes only charter schools, lobbies for school choice ( read vouchers ) and wants to bust unions as well as have outside sources decide policy. NO thanks.

Dwasserba

Charter schools again. We have schools. You can have a bad school, a bad teacher, and still learn. You have to want it. Foster that.

DickD

In 2104 the Huffington Post had an article, which also shows the northern states spending more money and having better results from their public schools.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/04/wallethub-education-rankings_n_5648067.html

DickD

In 2015 there was an article in USA today, which ranked Maryland with a B for public schools. The best states spent the most money, the worse states spent the lowest amount of money. But even within a state there are many differences. And guess what, the public school systems doing the best were also the ones with the highest incomes. Vermont and New Hampshire did the best, Mississippi was the worse.

Look for yourself:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/01/15/247-wall-st-states-best-schools/21388041/
"Nearly 51% of 11th and 12th graders in Maryland excelled on Advanced Placement tests in 2012, the only state where a majority of students performed better than average on Advanced Placement exams. Maryland also had the largest nationwide improvement in students' Advanced Placement test scores between 2000 and 2012. Younger students also outperformed their peers on standardized tests. Nearly 45% of fourth graders were proficient in reading, more than 10 percentage points higher than the national figure and second-highest nationwide. Unlike many other states with top-rated school systems, Maryland school financing was relatively well-distributed. The difference in per pupil spending between the worst and best-funded schools districts was $3,565, one of the lower figures reviewed."

DickD

The worse public schools in the nation have always been in the South. Mostly because they do not fund Southern schools like the northern states fund public schools. Another problem is the lower wage scales in the South that tends to work against teachers wanting to work for a school system, while they can make better wages in the private sector. Naturally, one of the biggest problems are cultural. Students that get extra help at home, from their parents always do better. And these are usually the students that go to charter schools as they can avoid the problems in your geographically assigned schools.

Our own Maintenance of Effort (MOE) generated by the past BOCC caused many of our current problems. This is the same group of Republicans that allowed rampant development and privatization of nursing homes.

The cost of public schools, on Frederick County, should not be forgotten either as it takes about half of the County budget. If you want to cut your budget, the easiest target is the public schools. And that is another reason the Republicans target the public schools.

DickD

Reform? Reform what? We do not need to reform public schools by misusing our tax money for your personal gratification.

There is no way charter or private schools should be allowed to get tax money. And they are advocating for charter and private schools in across the U.S., charter schools are really private, even though they have them labeled them "charter".

Private school are not administered by the local, state or federal government, which is what the Republicans are advocating. The Republicans want to use our tax dollars to do it. And although they maintain anyone can go to a charter school, they know and realize, as we do, not all can because it takes someone to give children transportation and students have to apply at a charter school with no guarantee of acceptance. Students can also be disciplined and removed from the school at their whim, which is not possible in a public school. A public school must take all students, physically and mentally handicapped included. And although they maintain no religion is taught to keep separation of church and state, they resist putting that in writing. On top of that they refuse to accept the State certification of teachers, which the state insists upon for public schools. Of course, they have to right now, but this is what they are objecting to. School vouchers are even worse, they can be used in private schools and there is no requirement for separation of church and state. Personally, it is my belief our State of Maryland Governor is flirting with a law suit on this issue alone.

Republicans want private schools to get religion back into them, they want private schools so they can get rid of unions, known not to support Republicans, they want to be able to teach classes in subjects they prefer, not all state mandated subjects, they want to lower teacher wages and they want to privatize and allow for profits, while not allowing any control by the elected governments.

Charter schools and vouchers are nothing more than a Republican ruse to eliminate or weaken our public school system, which is the best in the world. If they ruin this, what is next?

dtwigg

If there were a way to reward good teachers by paying them what they're worth we would have better public schools. There does need to be a way to get rid of poor performing teachers. They drag down the system.

DickD

That I would agree with. Tenure has been a problem. Everyone, no matter what job, should be capable of performing at least at a satisfactory level. If not, good bye.

shiftless88

I'm curious if there is substantial, widespread and credible information showing how charter schools in a given area have boosted the quality if the public schools in those areas. I'm also curious about the impact of charter schools in a strong school district such as the one we have here (versus big city school districts).

And to repeat the comments of yesterday, the "F" grade was given by an organization that is trying to increase charter schools (and probably make money from them) so it is not some sort of objective rating but an advertisement.

DickD

Yes, I found that too. Maryland is not the top ranked, but it is higher than most. It all comes down to how much money you want to spend on your schools. The more money, the better the schools. There does not seem to be anything that compares charter to the regular public schools, in an area. Probably because there are so few of them. But charter schools have their problems too and many are not ranked high.

ehpercy

How about paying recruit retain quality teachers in all schools? We never hear that from the Charter school advocates.

DickD

The other thing you don't hear is public schools and current charter schools require state certification for teachers. The charter schools want to get away from state certification.

armillary

Yes, we have great public schools. Some need improvement. Let's fund and fix them. Let's not be distracted by the charter school alliance of union busters, government haters, freeloaders and helicopter parents who would have us both erode public schools and increase the cost of education.

[thumbup][thumbup] Exactly.

Nicki

[thumbup] armillary!

phydeaux994

"Let's not be distracted by the charter school alliance of union busters, government haters, freeloaders and helicopter parents who would have us both erode public schools and increase the cost of education.".........Who are these people you talk about? Do they exist? What is their agenda? You say to destroy the Public School, despite the fact that they are Public Schools. Where is your proof this is happening. I have given my proof and not one of the naysayers here have offered one iota of proof to support their argument. It just proves that the people of FC fear any change. They whine and cry that America's schools don't measure up to the rest of the free World, yet they do nothing to change that. Somebody comes along with a new idea to tackle the problem and they shout them down.

Hayduke2

phy - I believe that there are numerous studies that show public vs charter both have mixed results. Charter schools have the same or similar performance and issues as public schools. There is some evidence that some are doing better with some disadvantaged students but that may also be that they spend , on average 3-10 weeks more in school. The crux of this article said that they will lead reform and that simply has not played out.

phydeaux994

I totally agree with you hayduke. Nobody said that a Charter School in the inner city will outperform a regular Public School in the suburbs. Charter Schools are designed to offer public school education a different path to the same end. The students in Charter Schools are chosen by the luck of the draw in the lottery. They don't suddenly become smarter because they got chosen to attend a Charter School. But the founders of Charter Schools have an extra incentive to succeed, whether they are for profit or a group of teachers who got together to start a Charter School. They must succeed to stay in business. They must meet the standards set out in their Charters. But I'd still like to see some of those numerous studies you mention for my own education. Peace

ehpercy

Yeah, they are the leadership of the Frederick Classical. Their is agenda is to have a private school with no accountability paid for by my taxes. You have not given any proof, just like Tom Neumark has not been able to provide any proof that stands any cursory analysis. There are now countless studies that show charter schools are an under-performing farce.

phydeaux994

Show me a couple. Yeah, right, you can't. BTW Percy, it costs less of your tax dollars to educate a Charter School student than it does a regular Public School student. So what's your gripe?

phydeaux994

P.S. Please read all of the comments before you comment. Most of your questions and allegations have already been answered or rebutted.

armillary

phydeaux994, politics makes strange bedfellows. Nowhere more strange than charter school politics. Helicopter parents want the best schools for their children. Can't fault them for that. Freeloaders want their tax money back so they can spend it on private school for their kids. That's not how it America works. Government haters want to abolish the Department of Education, EPA, IRS, etc. Union busters hate the collective bargaining power of anyone, but especially teachers. Each member of the charter school alliance has their own personal agenda. I'm sure you're not a government hater, but by advocating a flight to charter schools over addressing the needs of public schools, you're advancing the government hater's agenda.

phydeaux994

armillary, I respectfully will tell you that Charter Schools are Public Schools. Here is a link to the Maryland Public Charter School Law 2003. http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/charter_schools/docs/md_charter_school_laws.htm ........ Please read and get back to me with your retort. Preferably as a limerick. Peace

armillary

phydeaux994, charter schools are public schools that provide a subset of public school services to a subset of public school students. Helicopter parents love charter schools because they make them feel exclusive, like they're getting the private school experience for nothing. Government haters like charter schools because of their illusion of autonomy and independence. Union busters cheer charter schools because they push for changes to weaken or eliminate collective bargaining.

We don't need more charter schools which only serve some, we need more schools like Urbana Elementary, Centerville Elementary and Linganore High which serve all.

phydeaux994

Most Charter Schools are in the Cities, in low income neighborhoods. New Orleans 90% Charter, D.C. 50%. Not a lot of helicopter parents in these schools. You're being a little paranoid. Don't over think this issue armillary, it's not that complicated. Read the comments from yesterday.

armillary

phydeaux994, I'm not talking about other places, I'm talking about here. Your opinions about another's state of mind or reasoning ability don't advance your argument unless they rhyme.

phydeaux994

So armillary, you know that the Charter Schools in Frederick County are full of helicopter parents, Government haters, and union busters? I don't know about helicopter parents but I know that FC is full of Government haters and anti-union folks. However, I think that those people are more likely to be Charter School haters than Charter School promoters. So I will say to you and hayduke and ehpercy and especially DickD, Charter Schools ARE Public Schools. LOL

Hayduke2

Phy - never did I say they weren't considered public schools. That is an invalid assumption on your part. I am arguing that, for all the hype, charter schools have the same issues, general performance,and problems of typical public schools. If adding "public" in front of charter schools will make you realize that, so be it.

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