Monday, June 15, 2015

Stan Jester Asking for Comments on New Charter School Rules
Update: Charter School Policies Removed from 6/17 BOE Agenda


District 1 Board of Education representative Stan Jester is looking for comments concerning the new DeKalb School District Charter School Policies.  As many of you may be aware the Georgia Department of Education has indicated they will not approve any Charter school requests without those schools being granted full governance autonomy by their local school districts; We all know how DCSS feels about giving schools complete autonomy - see the Druid Hills Charter Cluster fiasco.

Stan Jester has provided the documents the Board will be reviewing at the June 17th called meeting.  Stan is also requesting comments.  These new rules will greatly affect 4 schools in the Dunwoody-Chamblee school cluster (Chesnut Charter ES, Kingsley Charter ES, Peachtree Charter MS, Chamblee Charter HS). 

Click on the following link to be directed to Stan's blog:  http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2015/06/4431/
 
The following vague, non-specific statement from the proposed policy, in my opinion, allows the BOE to reject a Charter petition for any reason that they so desire.  How does the district and BOE determine what is "in the public interest"?
 
The Board shall not approve a charter petition unless the petition meets all legal requirements, and the Board deems the petition to be in the public interest.

4 comments:

  1. The State Board of Education defined 'public interest' in their charter school policy. The fact that DCSD ignored this is significant.

    This proposed policy also ignores requirements from the State Board of Education and the Georgia Department of Education requiring that conversion charter schools (this includes clusters) have autonomy in finance, personnel, curriculum, and other areas.

    A cynic could conclude that the purpose of this proposed policy is to make sure there are no more conversion charter schools or cluster charters in DCSD. Sometimes cynics are right.

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  2. The Superintendent and the Board of Education made known their very negative view of Charter School/Cluster self-governance during the Druid Hills Charter Cluster "discussion". I would be very surprised if any conversion charter school is approved within DCSS. The vague and open-ended language within the Charter School policies allows them to really use any excuse to deny a charter petition, imo.

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  3. I agree, Dunwoody Mom. But I don't know how to change this situation. DCSD has never valued innovation, and if you carefully read the Charter System petition you will see that DCSD still maintains tight central control, with very little school-level innovation possible. And what little might be possible must move through numerous hoops at the speed of DCSD, rather than having school-level authority to respond to school-level problems.

    If DCSD was a shining star, then maybe innovation wouldn't be so necessary. But the "one size fits all" model of DCSD isn't working. Charter schools have a contract to deliver good results, or else they are shut down. Regular public schools and districts have no such penalty. That is just plain wrong.

    Unless the Georgia Department of Education or State Board of Education decide to enforce their charter school rules and policies the future of charter schools is very dim.

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  4. I do not believe there is any way to change the situation with DCSS. It's an engrained, cultural mind-set that control must be maintained by the Central Office and that local control cannot be allowed. Until someone can come in and totally change the culture and mind-set of DCSS, it will continue to be in the mess that it is now.

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