HB242 Tightens SBE Scrutiny of Charter Schools – House should concur.

June 22, 2016

The Honorable Tim Moore, Speaker of the House
The Honorable Larry D. Hall, Democrat Leader
N.C. House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

Re: House Bill 242

Dear Speaker Moore and Representative Hall:

Please concur with HB242 which tightens scrutiny and control over charter schools by the State Board of Education (SBE).

For the first time, HB242 will require the SBE to annually identify all low-performing charter schools and all continually low-performing charter schools. [See page 5, beginning with line 48 through page 6 line 6].

For the first time, HB242 clearly defines the criteria for low-performing and continually low-performing schools and these definitions conform with the NC grading system based on End-of-Grade testing that applies to all.

HB242 also provides that, annually, the SBE may terminate, not renew, or transfer the charter of a continually low-performing charter school.  The exception is for such a school that has met its state-designated academic growth for each of the three years immediately prior or if the SBE chooses to approve a school improvement plan.  The fate of such a low-performing school is totally within the hands of the SBE.

These provisions are in addition to current statutes that require an annual independent financial audit performed to SBE specification and a regulatory compliance audit also performed to SBE standards for every charter school.  These audits must be reported to Raleigh no later than October 31 following the June 30 year-end.

It is thus impossible for any low-performing charter to escape being identified by the SBE on an annual basis under HB242.

As you know, DPI reported that charter students outperformed district students in 12 demographic groups, including minorities and low-income students, by significant margins.  Charter schools are successfully improving education and parental choice in NC, and HB 242 will ensure that this superior performance is sustained.  The SBE has the option of fully reviewing any charter at any time, and the bill does not impede this option in any way.

I hope that you concur with HB242 that will further enhance the SBE’s ability to oversee this excellent educational choice for our parents and students.

Sincerely,

Baker Mitchell, President

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Judge Clarence Thomas on the “Heroic Virtues”

The following is an excerpt from Judge Thomas’ Feb. 13, 2001 Boyer lecture at the American Enterprise Institute’s Annual Dinner.  His lecture was entitled “Be Not Afraid,” and he addresses our tendency for self-censorship.Judge Thomas

“This tendency [for self-censorship], in large part, results from an overemphasis on civility. None of us should be uncivil in our manner as we debate issues of consequence. No matter how difficult it is, good manners should be routine. However, in the effort to be civil in conduct, many who know better actually dilute firmly held views to avoid appearing “judgmental.” They curb their tongues not only in form but also in substance. The insistence on civility in the form of our debates has the perverse effect of cannibalizing our principles, the very essence of a civil society.

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If a tree falls in the forest and no media carries the story …?

If a tree falls in the forest and no media carries the story, did the tree really fall?

If public charter students test the highest and no media carries the story, did the public charter students really test the highest?

In disaggregating official state test results posted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)  for 2015, public charter school students outscored public traditional students 66.6% to 56.2%. Continue reading

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National School Choice Week: Are NC public charters a good choice for your child? Demographic data reveal, “Yes!”

In acknowledgement of National School Choice Week, the following evaluates North Carolina’s public charter school option. What are public charter schools? What is their academic record?  Who are their students?

Information compiled directly from North Carolina Department of Public Instruction test data shows that the state End-of-Grade (EOG) test performance average of public charter students is higher than that of traditional public students, and that in 10 of 12 demographic subgroups— including minorities, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities— students at public charter schools academically outperform students at traditional public schools on EOG tests. Continue reading

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Charter Students Outperform Traditional Students by a Wide Margin

According to official state data, how do public charter students compare to public traditional students on state End-of Grade tests?  The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released the raw data for each public school’s end-of-grade test results. DPI also calculates the percentage of tests passed – known as “composite performance percentages” –  for each school and for all public school students in the state as a whole.  kgrad

However, they avoid showing a breakdown of performance percentages that compares public traditional school students with public charter school students.  Because both groups of schools administer exactly the same tests, it is revealing to see how the two public school groups compare. As we know, the state average for all public schools is 56.6%. So what is the performance average for all of the state’s charter school students?  Continue reading

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A CLP school is a CLP school is a CLP school: and by any other name would perform as poorly.

In a fit of legislative hocus-pocus, the same Perdue regime which left NC $3.5 billion in debt and cut funding to schools passed Senate Bill 704[i] in the twilight hours of 100 years of Democrat control in May, 2010.

The 553-word SB704, with an ungainly 248-word title, pretends to offer a fix for incompetent local school boards that breed “continually low-performing schools.”   Continue reading

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Classical History Curriculum by The Roger Bacon Academy

The Roger Bacon Academy (RBA) developed and teaches a classical history curriculum for the schools that it manages.  I have been asked frequently how the RBA “classical history” curriculum differs from a typical “social studies” curriculum, so I would like to share my thoughts on how one might view the difference.  (With apologies to our Dean of ELA and History.)

It is 100% ORGANIC. Continue reading

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One of the many…

One of the many…Maj. James V. Johnston, 84th I.D.

Major Johnston Painting

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U.S. Senate Resolution for Charter Schools

RES. 171

Congratulating the students, parents, teachers, and administrators of charter schools across the United States for making ongoing contributions to education, and
supporting the ideals and goals of the 16th annual National Charter Schools Week, to be held May 3 through May 9, 2015.Senate

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 6, 2015

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How not to teach elementary school science

CURRICULUM CRITIQUE: SCOTT, FORESMAN’S “DISCOVER SCIENCE”

[When organizing some digital archives on this rainy Saturday, I came across this paper that I had written in the early 1990’s while taking a course for a lateral entry teaching certificate.  I don’t know if this particular series is still around, but things have not changed very much.  I do know that the disdain for using any math in an elementary science text is even more prevailing today than 20 years ago. ]

sf discover science

Texas Edition, 1991; Grades 1-6; Specific Comments refer to the Sixth Grade Text Continue reading

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