Thursday, January 11, 2007

They ARE public schools

There's an e-mail from a Parent's Advisory Council representative that's making the rounds. There is a bit of panic in the air as people are suddenly realizing that the money isn't going to just flow from the Metro budget to the school system and cuts will have to be made, money will have to be accounted for and too much of the MNPS budget is uncontrollable.

I'm really concerned if the following is the quality of thinking that's advising Superintendent Garcia on the schools.

Here's the quote:

The district will lose $1,000,000 in funding to Lead Academy, the new charter school that was approved this month. Kipp and Smithson Craighead charter schools also receive approximately $1,000,000 each from our school budget to operate their schools. This is a provision of NCLB.
Two things--the easy one first. This isn't a provision of NCLB. There is plenty in NCLB to quibble about but these schools are NOT funded because of NCLB. They're funded because the school board signed a contract (a charter) with these school administrators to run these schools on behalf of MNPS.

Secondly, and most importantly, these charter schools ARE public schools. Their students ARE public school students. This $3 million would have been spent from the MNPS budget to teach them no matter which school they were enrolled in. Charters are just one of the tools that MNPS uses to teach a portion of its student population. If you follow this logic we should start complaining about the amount of money the district loses to magnet schools every year.

Please, let's remember charters are public schools--public schools that are far more accountable than the other schools in the district. And especially in regard to KIPP, a school that is providing an excellent return on taxpayer investment. We could use a dozen KIPP's in Nashville. I hope LEAD does as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments on the charter schools!