Adam Meredith’s letter to the editor (“Charter schools will lead reform,” April 26 edition) made some very interesting points — most especially the flexibility offered to charter schools to increase the pay for outstanding teaching professionals. Unfortunately, as noted by Meredith, Maryland “received an ‘F,’ worst in the nation, when it comes to charter-school-law rankings” — in fact, Maryland rates 43 out of 43 in its measure. (See www.publiccharters.org/get-the-facts/law-database.)

Research consistently proves that individual teachers have the biggest influence on a child’s performance, not the school as a whole. Speaking in terms of “good” or “bad” schools generally has very little actual meaning. On average, schools don’t perform much differently from one another, as the results between the most and least effective teachers tend to wash each other out.

Charter schools were formed in part to address that problem. By giving charter school operators the ability to manage their own staff, they have the ability to retain and promote their high-performing teachers. Unfortunately, union rules inhibit the ability of public schools to either address poor teaching or promote excellence in this profession.

The inflexibility and draconian nature of the union rules surrounding teacher pay and performance measures (coupled with the manifold central administration and mid-management costs) ensures little to no change will occur. Charter schools offer an alternative to this continuous state of affairs, yet Maryland bureaucrats remain steadfast in opposing any such alternatives.

In most every other state where charter schools exist, such schools have the ability to hire the best teachers and pay them accordingly. We need to hold our teacher unions accountable for these actions, which harm both teachers and students.

During this most interesting political season where the status quo and one-size-fits-all government is being brought into question, we need to focus upon current and future generations. Now is the time to allow greater choice and more flexibility in our public school system and demand our elected officials break down the wall of the good ol’ boy school system by allowing more charter schools with more local control, flexibility and authority.

Farrell Keough

Urbana

(41) comments

threecents

Phydeoux, Wow, how do you know so much about me? But anyway, if MD charter schools are doing so well, as you say, then why are we even having this discussion? So what if they got an "E", as Farrell said?

phydeaux994

This discussion started a few months ago between DickD and I. He kept insisting that Charter Schools are Private Schools for the elite funded by tax dollars that are a Republican plot to destroy Public Schools. I kept telling him that Charter Schools ARE Public Schools. That's all. The rest of you jumped on the bandwagon bashing Charter Schools so I, believing that Charter Schools can work have been defending them. You and others hate Charter Schools, say give them a chance. That's it, end of story. I have first hand knowledge of the effort it takes to start a Charter School in Maryland and be successful. I know the problems they have and the sacrifices the founders make to run a Charter School in the inner city. I never made the claim that they are a panacea. They are an attempt to help kids learn a different way, especially in the poverty stricken areas of the city. Some accomplish that goal, others fail. I am rooting for the success of Charter Schools in the long run, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Peace

threecents

Well said. Sorry I jumped on you.

phydeaux994

[thumbup]

mikeswan1200

Hayduke2- Only one article, but does make some good points. Salary may be higher, but would be tough to match benefits (since at smaller scale).

Anyone else have some posting functions disabled (or is it censorship)?

jsklinelga

mikeswann1200
Interesting point about posting functions. I even called to have them straightened out but with no luck. I believe you may be correct. i always wondered why such a small group dominated this section.

DickD

Not sure if it FNP or my fault, but some of my postings are not there two hours later.

DickD

This web site; publiccharters.org/get-the-facts/law-database. is put out by the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools. The F is based on Maryland not meeting their objectives, which has nothing to do with the quality of schools in Maryland, which actually ranks quite high.

This article was in the U.S. News, which ranked schools by their ability to teach - if that is relevant to you.
http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/how-states-compare

'A state-by-state breakdown of the 2016 Best High Schools rankings shows that Maryland is the leading performer for the second year in a row.
This year, 28.9 percent of Maryland's eligible schools earned gold and silver medals from U.S. News. Connecticut came in second with 24.9 percent, and California came in third with 23.8 percent."

What you are seeking is a private school, taking tax funds from the public schools. Charter schools are a Republican ploy to ruin the public schools and destroy unions, so the Charter schools can pay lower teacher wages,
which in general they do. Nothing objective in this LTE.

mikeswan1200

How could Charter schools pay less wages...why would any teacher stay? I have never heard anything from proponents than wanting the ability to pay teachers more. Often that is the case since you are trying to obtain teachers that use a less common teaching style (Classical, Montessori, Spanish-immersion, etc.).

hayduke2

But the letter writer makes the following point "In most every other state where charter schools exist, such schools have the ability to hire the best teachers and pay them accordingly." wouldn't it follow that they could pay them more or LESS if they got their way?

mikeswan1200

If the want to ability to hire the BEST teachers than they would pay them more. I don't know anyone (parents, non-charter, charter, BOE candidates, teachers themselves) that has said that teachers should be paid less. The toughest part is figuring out how. Charter schools generally have the flexibility to cut levels of administration and do not have "Cadillac" facilities. They rely more heavily on parent volunteers for daily operations as well as facility improvements. Money is used more effectively for educating children, including (in other states) paying the teachers more.

hayduke2

I think my second post and others I have looked at refute the more pay angle.

hayduke2

Mike- see the following for a good look at pros and cons of teaching in a charter school - http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/educator-tips/pros-and-cons-of-teaching-at-a-charter-school/

DickD

I found this part the most interesting. "The savings on union fees, if they apply, may not offset the fact that most charter schools offer lower salaries than their traditional public-school counterparts. Adams notes that charter school teachers tend to earn 10 to 15 percent less than they might get elsewhere, regardless of their experience level. Many charter schools lack the financial resources to compensate for this inequity with a strong benefits package. They may not take part in a teacher retirement program or offer full health insurance coverage for entire families. This shortfall may seem particularly harsh in light of the longer hours charter schools tend to require from their teachers."

Frederickdad2000

"The pay discrepancy grows when benefits and work hours are considered. Most charter teachers are not members of the state retirement system, which provides a potentially generous pension; and unlike in the traditional public schools, where limits to the work day and work year are prescribed through collective bargaining, charters can, and usually do, require teachers to work longer hours and more days...
he hopes his now-green teachers will ripen and stay around.
"Is it a struggle? Yes," he said. "But if they survive, they get stronger."

Some say they will pay more, but that is not the case in many places... "Urban Choice is led by Ed Cavalier, the longtime East High School principal. He acknowledged the charter can't match the salaries and benefits packages that some traditional school systems offer" http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/12/07/charter-school-teachers-green-earn-less/20015915/ https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/a-teachers-perspective/ /

Frederickdad2000

"I work at a charter school. I can honestly say that the lack of professionalism and organizing is huge. Management talks to the teachers like they are students and belittles us in front of our students. I have never felt so unappreciated and overwhelmed with work in my life. The sad part is that I get paid about $6,000 less than I would in a public school. Unfortunately, all public positions were full, so here I am." Comments section...
https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/a-teachers-perspective/

Frederickdad2000

Some say they will pay more, but that is not the case in many places...

"Urban Choice is led by Ed Cavalier, the longtime East High School principal. He acknowledged the charter can't match the salaries and benefits packages that some traditional school systems offer"
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/12/07/charter-school-teachers-green-earn-less/20015915/

https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/a-teachers-perspective/

/

phydeaux994

I don't understand. In Maryland the Charter Schools cannot hire teachers independently. All the teachers come out of the County or City system, depending on the jurisdiction. They are members of the union and get all of the benefits traditional Public School teachers get.

Frederickdad2000

Sorry for the confusion... that was a quote from someone in another state with a "higher" Grade than Maryland. Maryland charter teachers get the best of both worlds: due process protection provided by the union's negotiated contract and the different teaching methods than traditional schools. They get the same benefits an salaries in Maryland as other teachers based on district..in other states, that wouldn't be the case.

phydeaux994

The typical Frederick County anti-anything new crowd is out in force this morning. We had this discussion a few days ago. No matter if you show them the truth about Charter Schools they still go back to the "Charter Schools are Private Schools" argument. They do no research on what Charter Schools do and how they perform compared to regular Public Schools. They make ridiculous statements such as "they are run by nutty anti-science types" when in fact they never even met a Charter School operator. They lament the fact that the American education system is falling behind in the World but have no ideas to make it better. They "love" the Frederick County Public Schools but then complain about how the union allows bad teachers to stay in the system and bring down the schools. Charter schools are nothing more than a way to give Public School students an alternate path to a good education. They take less out of the taxpayers pocket than a regular Public School. They are successful all over the Country, and gasp!, even in Maryland and gasp! even in Frederick County.

BlueDawn666

They lament the fact that the American education system is falling behind in the World but have no ideas to make it better. They "love" the Frederick County Public Schools but then complain about how the union allows bad teachers to stay in the system and bring down the schools..actually no we pro-public school people are not saying this, it is the anti-establishment, anti-government people who say the above, because they want the public schools to fail so they can push for Charter Schools, you know local and private control. Make sure you know your source and why they are saying what they are saying, before you quote the source and blame us the pro-public school people...

phydeaux994

It's ridiculous that I have to argue this every few weeks. Charter Schools ARE Public Schools! My proof is the Maryland Public Charter School Law 2003, 13 years ago. For the umpteenth time, http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/charter_schools/docs/md_charter_school_laws.htm
If you have something that has negated this Law, post the link to it. Why would anyone want to the Public Schools to fail? Us pro-Public School proponents want to make them better. You seem to be happy with the status quo.

hayduke2

so stop arguing it - you cite your favored resources and ignore others...

phydeaux994

For instance? All I really need to make my case is pointing out to the naysayers the Maryland Public Charter School Law. I looked at DickD's links. The first one bolsters my case and the second I didn't get the relevance to our discussion. If you have more that I ignored, remind me.

threecents

I think we all know that charter schools are public schools and that the public has to pay for them. Here is a link to a good article on charter schools from the Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/

shiftless88

And again, I will point that if people like Cindy and Feral had their way the charter schools WOULD operate independently. That is what those organizations are trying to do. Would you agree?

DickD

I agree, every LTE they post says that. And they want 98% of the school budget per pupil. Not realistic, everyone knows that. If we were not a Democrat state, the Governor would already have given them what they want.

Dwasserba

There's homeschooling where you just deal with good ol' mom.

threecents

I love Frederick's public school system the way it is, and I look with suspicion on charter schools. Though some are very good, they tend to be run by nutty anti-science types or people who get in over their heads and then blame the public school system, and they take resources away from other public schools. I found it hilarious that FK called our public schools a good old boy network. As BD said, it is anything but. While FK has publicly kissed so many boots (Canadian accent) over the years trying to join Frederick's network.

Frederickdad2000

Teacher retention is a problem at charters https://dianeravitch.net/2015/10/31/study-why-do-charter-teachers-burn-out-so-quickly/

BlueDawn666

If Ms. Rose, the drop-out, is elected to sit on the BoE this could very well happen...... more charter schools with more local control, flexibility and authority. she is all about local control, she is all about charter schools. This is why we need to be informed voters and vote smart, voting for a drop-out is not a smart vote. Remember Farrell wrote a LTE in support of Ms. Rose, and we all thought that would doom her..well it didn't, the drop-out won all because we failed to realize that many people are like Farrell, government haters, these government haters would rather vote for a drop-out than a scientist.
good ol’ boy school system...so the public school system is the good ol' boy system? Since when, it is the public school system and we are the public..and yet we are stupid and voted for a drop-out to sit on the BoE so she can push her agenda of local control which means CHARTER SCHOOLS..

b1sellers

"that many people are like Farrell, government haters"
They are only government haters when the government isn't doing what they want. In fact, these so called government haters usually add to the cost of government and increase it with their wacky ideas of "less" government.

BlueDawn666

SO TRUE....

awteam2000

Charter schools rob funds from public schools to pay for someones selfish select system. There are plenty of private school alternatives for those who don't want to participate in the public school system. .

mikeswan1200

**Public** Charter Schools educate children using less funding than other FCPS schools, therefore more money funneled back into the rest of the FCPS system. How does this "rob funds from public schools"?

DickD

It causes duplicate cost of facilities for one thing.

mikeswan1200

The cost of rent and facilities improvements comes out of the (already lower) Per Pupil Allocation, not costing the rest of FCPS a dime. FCPS gives absolutely zero to the Charter schools for facilities.

mariashumaker

Amen!

armillary

Count on Farrell to represent the union buster and government hater perspective on charter schools.

hayduke2

Been there, discussed this , done that, etc... Move on Farrell....

richardlyons

[lol]

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