Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Grocery Store Dan Soucek

So when Senator Dan Soucek was praised in a local grocery store for his support for Senate Bill 8, which will not only lift the cap on the number of Charter schools in the state but also force the public schools to share increasing amounts of their funding with the charters, Mr. Soucek reportedly said that his main concern was the "amount of misinformation" being circulated.

Actually, he might more accurately have said that he was concerned that the true impact of SB8 was actually getting out to the people, and that's a problem.

· The bill provides funding to charter school students at the expense of students educated in traditional public schools.

· The bill gives charters funding for services they do not provide.

· The bill will require that funds raised by public school athletic or band booster clubs be shared with charter schools.

· School lunch money, both through the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program and through any local supplemental cafeteria sales, will be required to be shared with charter schools.

· The bill will make it unaffordable for local public schools to continue operating a pre-kindergarten program because funds for Head Start, Smart Start and More at Four all must be shared with charter schools.

· The bill will provide a “school choice” for some students but not for all.

· Families of children who cannot afford to provide transportation or food service will be precluded from enrollment in a charter school that does not offer those services.

· The bill is likely to lead to re-segregated schools, particularly in our state's urban districts.

· The bill will mandate that any rental fees a local school collects on buildings used for community events must be shared with charters.

· This is a back-door voucher whereby home schools and private schools can convert to charters to receive public funding.


Your Friendly Neighborhood Teahadist said...

Finally, some thoughtful commentary on the charter school issue. Thanks!

As long as charter schools are locked in your catch-22, your critique has merit. If we insist that charter schools stay marginal (no sports, no lunch, no transport, etc), then you're right--giving them money for non-marginal functions makes no sense.

The key here, though, is your assumption (driven more by partisan politics than by anything else, I suspect) is that charter schools must stay on the margins of public education. For example, you assume that charter schools are segregationist because they don't have transportation, but the local charter school actually bought a bus and spent two years advertising to hire a bus driver. Back then, of course, they weren't getting money for the bus driver so they couldn't pay very much and no one took the job. They didn't want to segregate on gas money--when gas prices skyrocketed a few years ago parents volunteered to drive kids whose parents would have otherwise have had to quit the school. The charter school doesn't get any money to build a kitchen or provide lunch--having spent years preparing lunches, my wife and I can attest that if the school did get money from the state, parents would be up in arms demanding lunch. Same with a pre-K program for 4-year olds. In short, this bill gives charter schools the resources to act like non-charter schools, and offer the same services (lunch, busing, sports, pre-K, etc.).

If we preserve the rigid assumption that charter schools must be marginal, then you're right. If we take off those blinders and imagine what public education could be like, though, we can use this bill to achieve the best of both worlds: room for alternatives and experimentation while still preserving the social welfare functions of our public education system.

Obviously, WCS and other union schools want to marginalize charter schools to protect their jobs. When I think about the way WCS decided that the Two River's "Battle of the Books" team wouldn't be allowed at the county public school competition, and still refuses to let it compete in middle school sports I cringe at how petty and small-hearted the people at WCS are. If it really was "about the kids" they'd want those kids to make the most of their schooling, but it isn't--it's about educational jobs being union ones at WCS and not non-union jobs at TCRS, and kids come a distant second.

The question for the rest of us, though, is which do we put first: kids or union jobs. I know where I stand, what about you?

(oh, BTW, on that private->charter school red herring, you should take a look at why the two local private schools decided NOT to pursue charter status. Aside from having to follow state regulations (like church/state rules), they would also have to open their enrollment to all, with a lottery for over-enrollment which would prohibit grandfathering in former private school students (which is why rich secular private schools don't want to be charters).)

(And on that silly home school -> charter school accusation, speaking as someone with experience in both, why the heck would any home schooler want to do that?! If we wanted our kids in school, we'd put them in school.)

You know, it just occured to me that I'm lecturing you on how we can better promote diversity in our public schools. Think about that and despair--even a Teahadist supports diversity more than you do. ;)

brotherdoc said...

Dear Jerry, where is your cartoonist who did the drawing of Madam Foxx? We need him/her to do Soucek--the pretty face/empty suit/deer in the headlights stock head shot of this man has gotta go....

Ho Humm said...

So brotherdoc wishes to employ the first tactic of the left when it has nothing else, personal attacks. Typical

bettywhite said...

Here we go again - there are no "union" schools in NC. There is NO teachers union in this state! How many times do we have to say it? Teachers don't have a union contract or collective bargaining. Both are barred by a law that was passed in the 50's.

NewGuy said...

"There is NO teachers union in this state!"


Better tell that to the NC NEA who collect more than 12 million dollars in union dues from NC teachers who apparently don't know there is no union.

Just because they don't negotiate a union contract with the school systems doesn't mean they don't have a union. They are one of the strongest lobbying forces and large contributors to Democratic candidates in this state!

Anonymous said...

New Guy,
Teachers have a choice to join NCAE if they please. It is their CHOICE. So are you saying you are against large groups, like NCAE and others, from funding candidates? Do you feel the same about Americans for Prosperity?

NewGuy said...

No, anonymous....I didn't say any of those things. You need to work on your reading skills.

What I did say was that, contrary to the assertion made by bettywhite, there are, in fact, teachers unions in NC.

Every trade group, business group, union and special interest group in this country has the right to lobby their representatives for what they feel is in their best interests. Or to take out ads and/or campaign on behalf of the candidates they think will best represent their interests.

How in the world did you read anything into my post other than my clear statement?

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between unions and advocacy groups. Organizations like NCAE and SEANC have their place in NC, but to give them the dreaded title of "union" is a bit much. Do educators and state employees deserve advocacy groups in a state that does not have collective bargaining? Absolutely! But to tag them as unions (as polarizing as that is in the nation) is a bit of a stretch. But, then again, life would be boring if we didn't have polarizing topics, right?! Haha...

Betty w said...

Lobbying the legislature is not the same thing as having a union. The legislature does whatever it has the votes to do. Teachers associations or groups do NOT have the same bargaining power that a union has.

That Teahadist creep again said...

Huh. Eight subsequent posts and not a single one of the liberal commenters here tried to dispute anything I said about the bill (except semantics about "unions," but that's fair--I'll try to quit using "union" and refer to the "NCAE" from now on). Should I take that silence as consent?

Anonymous said...

I think you can take the lack of comments as a concession that your head is shoved so far up your a** that it is pretty pointless to try to talk to you. At least your head is staying warm on these cold, snow days (which I'm sure is a liberal conspiracy also since they don't care about our children's education). Your serve!