Charter schools

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok- I'm really behind the times in some ways. Can someone explain to me exactly what these schools are? Are these similar to the schools for gifted kids?
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    A charter school is supposed to be under the supervision of a local district, and usually they focus on a particular subject or method of learning. It's not just for gifted students. One of my nieces went to a charter school through 8th grade that focused on science and ecology, and she went to the national Science championships last year. My brother's kids go to a charter school (K-8) that emphasizes academics. There are several schools that specialize in alternative learning methods, some are religion-based, some are online only, some focus on a specific culture or language.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Mary! We have "specialty centers" here that are for kids with good grades and particular interests in certain areas- like math/science/technology or the humanities or the arts/dancing. Would that be a charter school- even though the classes are actually at various regular high schools?
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Both of my younger children attended a Charter school for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. The are schools funded by the state but without the state mandates for spending. They have more leeway in curriculum and spending. Most are under the direction of the local school district, but do not have to follow district mandates. I moved my children from their elementary school when the district implemented a mandated testing and learning system that focused on testing basic skills rather than teaching. It allowed more flexibility in what was done in the classroom. If done correctly Charter schools work. One of the best schools in our state is a Charter school. It is nationally recognized for it's program.
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Right down the street from us is a Charter Montessori. It is supposed to be wonderful. We took a tour and it seemed to be a great environment and very academically challenging.
    But for K it did not seem to be a School that would mesh with Special Needs kids.
    It just seemed like it would be more of a hassle for K and us.
    Actually we are still considering it for N.
  6. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Charter schools can be the answer for many kids not functioning well in the ordinary school system. However, what is good for one kid is not good for others.

    Also you have to very carefully about regulation, economy etc.

    I found an article about a school where they had to keep the lights out because they couldn't afford the power bills:

    Fortunately regulaton is tighter in most places so parents can send their kids to school in a safe environment.

    We have charter schools here in Denmark too. Many are founded when towns close down many of the small schools. Parents then join in and found their own schools in order to keep the smaller communities alive. In Denmark there often is as much activity in schools after the students leave them as during the school period. They are used for meetings by various associations, clubs and for adult education. They are our community centers.

    I would certainly look into the nature of the charter school in my area if my kids did have problems in their present school.
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    A charter school opened the year difficult child AND the neighbor girl started kindergarden. Neighbor wanted to check it out, wanted me to also. She was impressed. Gave me the number to call. I asked the "director" if they have anything for special needs kids. NO. Do you have any counselors? NO. What if your child needs extra help in an area, is there any help available? NO. She then said, if your child needs extra help don't send them here. My reply was that many kids have learning disabilities and they are not apparent until they start school. They have no library, they have to walk a block to the public library. Totally not impressed. difficult child went to public school...(which I fought with), he skipped a grade, therefore is a Freshman. Neighbor girl is in the last year at the charter school. 180 kids total K - 8. They all meet in the basement every morning to sing songs. Right==You take any middle school student and have them sing songs at 8am. by the way - they did have to get a counselor from the district office that came once a week. They also do not accept anyone. Neighbor would say how they had to even it out among races, girls and boys. They tell you it is a lottery system to get in, but really it is not. They choose. One lady who also works at that school witnessed my difficult child in a bad moment. We were at a baseball game. That Lady looked at my neighbor and said, "good thing we don't have anyone like HIM at our school or we would have to tie them to a the chairs and whip them" then laughed.

    To me this charter school is nothing than a glorified day-care. I do not see any specialty listed, as others do. It is in a very old abandoned Catholic school, in a very bad neighborhood. Neighbor lady ended up working in the office there. Where she went on to tell me HOW the school system works. She transferred last year to another charter school. This one does specialize in something. Neighbor has worked in the office now for 8 years and I know more about the school district and what the laws are and how it works than she does. But both her and her hubby think they know it all and do everything the best. If only the school district would give a drug test on ANY given day - year round, she would fail. And SHE is working with our kids.

    So. that is my opinion of Charter Schools. Many DO have resources available for Special Education. Usually small schools. Where the kids know each other for 8 years. Teachers know students for 8 years. So, if your kid has a "reputation" it will stay forever. And from my experience, blowing up, losing control, meltdown - gives them a reputation. Then they are treated different and difficult child's get angry. Then the reputation grows. Then anything that every happens at school is difficult child's fault. Even when they are NOT there.

    Personal experience here.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow....that's all I can say.
  9. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Also regarding the charter school..The neighbor girl, who is a super sweet girl is now in her last year at the charter school. 8th grade. since the school is so small, and is all she has known she is terrified of High School.

    We have several "choice" High Schools as well as the two district schools. the one district school is a block away. Has 3000 kids. This girl is so talented, but the charter school offers no electives as the public middle schools do. She is terrified to go to High School. Afraid kids will make fun of her.

    She chose one of the "choice" High schools. This particular High School also houses the Kenosha Military Acadamy. I work the lunch program their sometimes. These kids are always in uniform. They look very nice. When I mentioned the KMA to this girl she said she is afraid of the ones in uniform and will stay away from them.

    Small private or small charter schools may work great for some kids. Not mine. And not what they (in my town)have to offer. They do nothing to prepare the kids for the real world.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Kjs, the things you describe are EXACTLY the reason we did NOT put my kids in the Catholic school system when we lived in OH. Many of hte schools had been in place since before I went to school. They had NO accomodations for gifted children or for any child with any problem. ALL of my cousins went to these schools. One cousin is 1 yr older than Wiz and was reading in preschool and when he went to the Catholic school he quit reading. And no one caught this until he was in 3rd grade. They had no books he hadn't read or found interesting because they hadn't upgraded their library since the early 70's. And he refused to read out loud in class when called on so they just didn't call on him. His parents ended up spending a FORTUNE on private tutors to teach him to read.

    Other relatives of mine had similar experiences.

    Here in OK the Charter Schools all focus on something specific and have a very high rate of acceptance into 4 year colleges. Most are math/science based or arts based.

    Of course our little city has no charter schools. We have 1 private school that is part of a fundamentalist church. nothing wrong with that at all. They are very strict and kids who go there seem very well mannered.
  11. artana

    artana New Member

    Charter school laws vary from State to State. In PA, the Charter schools have to fulfill all IEP requirements. They have to do everything specified for disabilities. Unfortunately, they do not need to meet Gifted requirements, which bugs me. But, we're fighting for more. In PA, Charter schools tend to be at least as good as other Public schools.