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New Charter School Proposed for Jeff/Clarksville

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#1 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 10:22 AM

http://www.in.gov/ic...orkapp-full.pdf

 

 

A national charter network is proposing to place a K-8 school in the Jeffersonville/Clarksville area beginning in the 2016/17 school year.  Projected enrollment is 860 students.   A public hearing will be held at the Jeffersonville Public library on April 27th at 5:30 p.m.    



#2 Holy Cow

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:32 AM

I did a little bit of research on this. My understanding is that the Indiana Charter Network is a not-for-profit arm of a for-profit national charter school provider called Charter Schools USA (CSUSA). This is organization has a very successful record of starting charter schools in many states in the US. They have quite a number of schools in many states. The company is out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. They contracted with the State of Indiana in 2012 to take over 3 failing schools in the Indianapolis Public Schools Corporation as part of the decision to enforce the state's school accountability law (PL-221).



#3 Tina

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 06:22 PM

Seems to me if someone wants a charter school in Indiana, they need to have someone on their board from Eli Lilly.  They sure do have a lot of former employees involved in Indiana's charter schools.


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#4 Donna

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 10:41 PM

What exactly is a "not-for-profit arm of a FOR PROFIT" company? 

 

Why does the IDOE give more credence to national programs and deny local initiatives?


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#5 Holy Cow

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 10:28 AM

Donna,

 

My understanding is that Indiana charter schools must be non-profits. I am of the understanding that CSUSA is a for-profit charter school company. My comment was meant to mean that they most likely started a not-for-profit organization, in this case called the Indiana Charter Network. If that organization is successful in its application to the Indiana Charter School Board, it will then contract with CSUSA to manage the school. I apologize for my poor choice of wording. 

 

Your second question is interesting. I have done a lot of looking into your point. Here is what I found. One of the complaints that opponents of charters use is that many charters perform as poorly if not worse than many of our public schools. Indiana is a place where many charters are in your words "local initiatives" that are started by local people. Many of these local entities do not seem to have the sophistication to be successful, where organizations like CSUSA, KIPP, Rocketship, Carpe Diem and other national entities have built the infrastructure to scale their schools more successfully. That may be why the Charter School Board looks favorably at the bigger national organizations.

 

Finally and not intending got be picky, but the IDOE is not the Indiana Charter School Board. From my review of their information, the Charter School Board has members appointed by different people (Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Legislature, etc), and it acts totally outside of the authority of the IDOE. It looks like it is almost like a separate governmental agency. It was started in 2011 as a solution to the problem of the state not having enough authorizers for charter schools.

 

I hope all of that helps. 


Edited by Holy Cow, 19 April 2015 - 10:29 AM.


#6 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 04:46 PM

Holy Cow you said "one of the complaints that opponents of charters use is that many charters perform as poorly if not worse than many of our public schools".    I think you may be mistaken ---- while there are a few charters that have certainly fallen short of the mark, there are many many successful charters.   And the good thing about charters is that they are monitored closed by their authorizer and if they fall short of the mark, they can lose their charter and be shut down.   This provides accountability that does not exist with our traditional public schools.   I hope southern Indiana will see many more charter schools in the near future.  Parents and children deserve a choice.    By the way, Rock Creek is a highly successful charter and is "A" rated.   It operates at capacity and most of its students come from Greater Clark.



#7 Holy Cow

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 07:39 PM

IM, First let me say that I completely understand the need for school choice of all kinds, and from my research, charter accountability is supposed to work the way you described, but the facts support my statement. Nationally, only few areas of the country approached charter school accountability in the manner it was intended. Joel Klein in NYC, and the Recovery School District in New Orleans (a post-Hurricane Katrina measure) are the best examples.

 

In Indiana, prior to the movement to letter grades for school performance, there were no charter schools closed in Indiana for the reason of poor academic performance. Those that closed were due to financial problems. It was only after A-F school letter grades did authorizers start paying attention to charter performance and closing poor-performing charters. I think if you look at the percentages, there is still a higher percentage of D and F charter schools than there is traditional public schools. I looked at the the National Charter School Alliance and the National Alliance of Charter School Authorizers to find that those groups are actually trying to look at consequences for authorizers who do not address closing poor charter schools the way you describe. 

 

Make no mistake, there are great charters in Indiana, but not as many as you think. I would presume from my research that we would have even more high flyers if  the accountability for charters was as strict in practice as it was supposed to be in theory, and/or if was as strict as the accountability on schools that accept vouchers.


Edited by Holy Cow, 19 April 2015 - 08:08 PM.

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#8 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 08:42 PM

It wasn't too long ago that Ball State was criticized for closing some of its charter schools ---- but they should not have been criticized for that -- they should have been applauded.  That is how it is supposed to work.   Charters are held to very high standards and if they do not perform, they can (and will) be closed. 

 

  Indianapolis has a lot of poorly performing public schools.  The vast majority of charters approved by the ICSB since they were founded in 2011 are in the Indianapolis area.   It takes time for a charter to improve the academic performance of students in these poorly performing areas.  It doesn't happen overnight.  That is why most charters receive a low letter grade (or low performance rating) for the first few years --- but if they do not start to show improvement, the authorizer can step in and make changes or close them.  The "charter" they receive once they are approved is for a set number of years --- usually 5.  They must show improvement in order to have their charter renewed.   Yes --- there are great charters in Indiana -- but obviously not many since charter schools are in their infancy in this state.  Time will tell if they survive or not.  I do believe that the authorizers are paying very close attention and the expectations are high.

 

 

Sacred Heart is an "A" school and they accept vouchers.   Christian Academy also accepts vouchers.   Rock Creek is a charter school and is "A" rated.   Community Montessori is rated "D" and is being highly scrutinized by their authorizer.   Changes will be made or they will be closed.  

 

There are some poor performing local public schools as I am sure you know  --- some in GCCS, Clarksville and New Albany.    No school system is perfect.  Parents should not have to send their children to a school that is performing poorly --- parents deserve a choice.   One size does not fit all.

 

   Charter schools are public schools and are tuition free.  Private schools like Sacred Heart or Christian Academy can now accept students who want to go there but weren't able to because they did not have the funds for tuition --- through the voucher system these schools are open to all.   That is wonderful.

 

If charters do not perform well, parents will simply stop sending their children there and the school will falter even before an authorizer closes them.  Charter schools have to work hard to keep their charter and  be successful -- with a lot less money than traditional public schools.      Southern Indiana has very few charter schools --- we need more.   I wish the Indiana Charter Network well with their proposal.


Edited by IntegrityMatters, 19 April 2015 - 09:02 PM.


#9 Holy Cow

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 10:44 PM

IM, your statement that charters are in their infancy is really not correct. The Indiana General Assembly passed the state's initial charter legislation in 2001. That is 14 years ago. Your comments about authorizer intervention in poor performing schools is as I said in my last post, the way the authorizer-school relationship is supposed to work. It did not work that way until 2012 when the state started to get serious about school performance. 

 

Let me fill in some blanks. In 2001, only two entities in the state were allowed to authorize charters. Those were the state's 4-year public universities and the Mayor of Indianapolis. As a side note, the Mayor of Indianapolis is the only mayor in the United States with chartering authority. Of the public 4-year universities, only BSU chartered schools, and they heavily criticized for doing it. So IM, to your point, prior to 2011, only BSU chartered schools outside of Indianapolis because the Mayor's authority was obviously limited to Indianapolis. 

 

Now let's do a quick look at school accountability in Indiana. Poor performing traditional public schools get 6 consecutive years of F performance before the state steps in. The 6-year cycle starts all over again if the school improves to a D. Think about that... Over a child's 12 years of school, a traditional public school can be a D or F without any consequences. There is no timeline for charters. Ultimately, the authorizer decides the fate of the school, and like I said earlier, there is a higher percentage of D and F charters than traditional publics. Voucher accepting schools only get 2 years of D or F performance. After those two years, they cannot accept vouchers until they achieve a C grade. Given all of that, who is held to the highest standard?

 

I am a supporter of school choice, but school choice advocates did not (and should not) accept the excuse that it is difficult to educate kids in tough areas. After all, poor urban school performance is what started the charter school movement. As school choice advocates, we cannot say that we should accept poor charter school performance because these kids come to them from tough areas. In other words, there is no difference between the F a traditional public school get and the F a charter school gets. 



#10 Avid Reader

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 11:46 PM

Ball State turned down Rock Creek's charter application at least two times that I recall. I do not know in the end how they did get their charter off the ground, but it did take quite a bit of time. I am glad to see it doing well, however there are other A rated elementary schools in Clark County: Clarksville Elementary, Wilson, Northaven, Utica, New Washington Elementary, Jonathan Jennings, Pleasant Ridge, Maple, Riverside. These were all listed in the Evening News article.



#11 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 07:54 AM

Holy Cow --- I NEVER said we should accept poor performance from a charter school --- neither should we accept poor performance from a traditional public school.   The point is that when charters take over a poor performing or failing school it takes time for them to be able to turn them around.  It doesn't happen overnight and the first few years of a charter's existence will indeed show little or no improvement.   But they are trying and they are held accountable AND they operate with less money than a traditional school.  Authorizers are becoming more and more strict about performance -- and that is a good thing.  

 

Ball State is very strict about authorizing charters --- that is why Rock Creek didn't make it the first couple of times.   It is very difficult to get a new charter approved.   Very, very few are approved the first time they make an application.   Some go through several application processes before getting off the ground. 

 

The "A" to "F" rating has not been around very long at all.  And I realize there are several schools in the area that are rated "A" as Avid Reader listed.   The "A" to "F" system has it flaws as well and is undergoing changes to make the ratings more accurate.   Northaven for example was "D" rated for several years -- and then was an "A".   I never understood how a school could be "D" one year and then "A" the next --- the grading system just seems to be too subjective.  

 

While we can spend days criticizing charters, public schools, private schools, vouchers, etc , the whole point is that parents deserve to have a choice as to where they send their child to school.   Traditional public schools, no matter how well they perform, should not be the only choice available.  One size doesn't fit all.


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#12 Holy Cow

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 03:50 PM

IM, I did not mean to hit a nerve. I did take the statements from your previous post (#8) and your last post as being a bit apologetic for poor charter performance. Again, I apologize if that was not the case.

 

There are only 5 examples in state history where charters have taken over poor performing schools in total. Those are Howe HS, Arlington HS, Manual HS, and Emma Donnan MS in Indianapolis and Roosevelt HS in Gary. To your point, of those, only CSUSA has been able to improve the grade above an F since the takeovers occurred in 2012. It is important to note that the state had never before enforced PL-221 before that time. Recently, the State Board of Education voted to close (it did not take it over like they did in 2012) another Gary school in its enforcement of PL-221. 

 

There is nothing subjective about the school grading formula. It is a mathematical equation based entirely on data. The elementary and middle school system is different from the HS model, and the model for elementary and middle schools (and was you said) has been the subject of great scrutiny by the IDOE and the legislature. One thing that makes Indiana different from any other state in the country is that all voucher-receiveing schools, all charters, and all traditional public schools give the state assessment which enables the state to issue all those schools letter grades based on the same metrics. No other state gives parents that universal method of comparing schools for the purposes of making the choices that you and I support. 

 

I just want to keep this issue rooted in facts. There is an inordinately high percentage of D and F charter schools in Indiana. This has been the case since 2012 when the school grading system was instituted. I provide that as a school choice supporter who believes that giving people the choice of more poor performing schools should not ever be the focus of the school choice movement. It is not about more "choices" for for choice sake; it is about more "quality choices" for kids' sakes.  


Edited by Holy Cow, 20 April 2015 - 03:56 PM.


#13 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 09:42 PM

To keep things rooted in fact:   there are 75 charter schools in Indiana.  25 of those have only been in existence from 1 to 3 years; 17 from 4 to 6 years; 15 from 7 to 9 years and 18 over 10 years.   25 of the 75 schools are located in Indianapolis -- and only 5 charter schools are located south of Indianapolis.  The others are located in the northeast and northwest corners of the state.    33 of the charter schools were authorized by Ball State; 28 by the Mayor of Indianapolis; 8 by the Indiana Charter School Board; and the others by Calumet College; Trine University; Grace College; Evansville School system ; Daleville Community Schools and Lafayette School Corp.   The 5 schools in the southern half of the state have done quite well with the exception of Community Montessori which is being closely monitored at this time by its authorizer.   I believe that authorizers are being held to a higher standard and that is good.   We want quality charters --- just like we want quality traditional public schools.

 

While I certainly acknowledge that charters have had some problems, there are many that have also been successful.  The key is to provide much more stringent oversight by authorizers and intervention where necessary.   I think the ICSB was formed in part to replace the Mayor's office --- if you look you will see that all but just a few of the schools authorized by the ICSB have been in Indianapolis.  The ICSB is now starting to "branch out" into other areas of the state and utilize models that have proven successful in other locales.   Hopefully, this will bring many more highly successful charters to the state.   You are right that it is not just about choice --- but about more quality choices for students/parents.   Let's hope that more quality choices come to southern Indiana in the near future.  Our kids deserve the best.


Edited by IntegrityMatters, 20 April 2015 - 09:43 PM.

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#14 Holy Cow

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 11:43 AM

Your statistics regarding school quantities and geographies are correct. I would suggest that we add to them by diving beyond sheer quantity into quality. All classical educational research suggests that it takes 3-5 years to turn around a low-performing school. Let's start with that premise. As you stated, 50 of 75 charter schools have been in existence for a window that is consistence with that time frame (4-6 years). We should focus on how man of those 50 schools are D or F rated schools. Given that the initial premise of charter schools was "increased flexibility" in exchange for "increased accountability" (the ability to be closed by an authorizer), shouldn't there be something done with those schools by the authorizers? If the authorizers do not do something, what should happen to them? There is a mathematical computation for "new" schools in the A-F grading system that enables them to derive their grades strictly from how much children "grow" while being educated in their schools. This aspect provides relief for schools that take students are academically behind when they come to the new school.

 

By the way, the original purpose for the ICSB when it was the product of legislation in 2011 was to charter schools statewide. Part of the problem they have had is that they did approve charters for some really high-flying schools (Basis - which has been identified as one of, if not the best high schools in America by US News and World Report), but they ultimately did not come because they felt the state has become less conducive to successful chartering over the past couple of years.


Edited by Holy Cow, 22 April 2015 - 11:52 AM.





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