Stan Jester is the blogging man of the week!
His newest post on the DeKalb School Board’s meeting regarding the Tapestry Charter School petition is a must read.
Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond captured the Tapestry discussion saying about charters in general, “We don’t have the understanding or capability to offer you an objective analysis.”
The DeKalb Board meeting appeared to recreate the debate of last year’s charter amendment. Some board members used this time to learn more about charters and the laws that govern them. The interim superintendent suggested the board’s negative reactions were a function of not having a strategic plan – “Now that we are into the strategic planning process, we have to look at how we evaluate and approve charters going forward.” The district hired the GSBA for $300,000 to help develop a strategic plan. The funny thing is, they already did that last year. You can read Nancy Jester’s blog “Strategic Churn” and learn all about that. Mr. Thurmond and the Board may want to review the current strategic plan (just penned by the GSBA in 2012) and stakeholder engagement sessions. The first item noted as an area of “greatest agreement” in the summary of the community engagement sessions states, “Alternative learning environments – DeKalb’s community likes having options for where to send children to school….”. So, DeKalb voted overwhelmingly to approve the Charter Amendment and has specifically told the district they want more options. OK.
Truly, this is a DO NOT MISS post. It is informative, frustrating, sad and insightful as to just how lost our ‘new’ school board and their interim superintendent really are when it comes to addressing the meat and potatoes of education.
I was struck by this question asked by Dr. Morley, “If we are getting all this money for these students, why can’t we meet those needs?” That’s a terrific question and it took a charter petition for this question to be raised. Had the Tapestry petition not been presented, would anyone have asked about the effectiveness of our services and meeting students’ needs? I advise to Dr. Morley to examine the various academic metrics to see that DeKalb has done a very poor job of meeting students needs. This charter school petition just inspired self-examination that may lead to improvements for students. Just think what potential innovations the actual school will generate.
Implicit in Dr. Morley’s question was the view that children produce a revenue stream. The usual questions were asked that imply that somehow approving a charter will hurt someone else. They fail to understand the concept of the balance sheet. While funding for the students in a charter would flow to that charter’s account, so do the liabilities for teaching that child. Yes, a district loses revenue but it also loses costs. In some cases the costs are greater than what the district is reimbursed, so it’s possible to be a net gain for the district. And the district should be happy to have a laboratory for innovation that could develop a way to deliver high quality services at lower costs. So why do district leaders not seem happy about this? Could it be because they are confused about what the mission of a school system is?
Read the rest here >> 09/09/2013 – Tapestry Charter – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting