Aug 29, 2016

Charter Schools, Educators or Tenants?

I received a call from promoter and underground videographer Imantrek.  He is upset about the Morning Call's contention that they do not know who paid for the controversial mailer about drugs at Liberty High, despite that their associated Tribune Direct Mail produced the piece.  My hunch is that they're protecting that divisions privacy policy.  Although, I find that internal Morning Call situation mildly interesting, another aspect of this story interests me more.

As this controversy surrounding the Innovative Arts Academy newspaper ad and mailer developed, one common denominator with several other charter schools is the landlord,  Abe Atiyeh.  Atiyeh has not only been the landlord, but is active in getting these charter schools approved.  As taxpayers,  we would like to think that these schools are educationally innovative, and providing a unique learning opportunity, not available in the public schools,  which fund the charter schools within their district.  It is becoming more and more apparent to this blogger that the schools are designed first and foremost as tenants, or real estate business opportunities.

Charter schools have become fashionable, as public schools are perceived as dysfunctional victims of urban poverty.   School systems are now more inclined to approve charter school applications,  with Harrisburg's tendency to go over the head of local school boards anyway, and grant approval.

In reality, many parents looking for a better educational option for their children, may be sending their child to an under-equipped alternative.


Scott Armstrong said...


There are good charter schools and bad ones. it is up to the local school board to determine if charter schools are meeting strict state required mandates. This is no small task. In the meantime some people of questionable character have become involved because they see a profit potential.
The state needs to reform the approval,oversight, and funding formula of charter schools. Don't leave it up to the Democrats, they being the hand puppets of the teachers'union merely want to rid the state of them. Conversely, Republicans see charter schools as the only way around the teachers'union, who they correctly view as blocking reform.In other words we need a few legislators with vision to lead this effort.
I always say; sure the charter schools have problems, and very often the only thing is is the alternative, the local public school.

Scott Armstrong said...

the only thing worse is the alternative, the local public school.(early, in a rush)

doug_b said...

I attended Allentown public schools in the 50's and 60's. I wasn't a bad student, but these schools were so uninspiring, boring, more like forced confinement. I did well in college ( 2 STEM degrees). My wife had a similar public school experience - all the way in the western part of PA.

We vowed that our children would no suffer the boredom, lack of creativity, indoctrination of the 'government schools'. We home schooled, and are so glad we did.

Allentown is not unique, government schools are the same everywhere. They are the LCD (lowest common denominator). More money goes to physical bulidings, busing, maintenance, administrators, than goes to the actual teaching. The main focus is teachers salaries and defined benefit plans, and the teacher's union.

I'm not sure a charter school, with the same type of government school teachers would be any different from a government school.

Vouchers would level the playing field and allow parents to send their child to their school of choice. Maybe Trump can make this happen.

george schaller said...

your common denominator is a factor not only with this democratical dysfunctioning tools implimented as a risk factor? The facts of the matter are very simple most pa schools as a whole are underperforming educational institutions to say the least. Now we have to understand the monopoly on this at risk secto of our children that are not human, but just insurable perils under state law and the common denominator of this massive maddoff ponzie scheem on city, state and than the broad shoulders of the FED? The continuation of this massive circle jerk is a whole of a diffeRENT colur? That getting to the bottom of locally is a bottomless pit with many trapped doors and many a creatures behind all the trapped doors and in most of indigent innocent childrens daydreaming nightmares that have fell through those cracks, as I have personally dealt with the incompatence in on of these many failing institutions?

George Ruth said...

The problem with charter schools is that in order to get the 'charter' they must admit students with the same types of quotas (some might call it affirmative action) that never work. If a school is founded for a specialty then they should select the students based on their ability to succeed. And let's stop with the charter school in fun and games stuff like music and art, innovative arts (whatever the heck that is), etc. Charter schools should concentrate on what America needs, not what Johnny and Sally are 'into' as 13 year old kids. Offer slots to the best students in math and science. If we continue down this path as a nation we won't be too far from the day we'll have no doctors who speak English....much like cab drivers.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Vouchers would be the only way to really bring competition and innovation to schools, also it is time for more internet based schooling. We are still stuck in 19th century methods. The government should only regulate these schools by requiring basic testing.

Scott Armstrong said...

One more item to mull over. I have friends who have children in public schools in rich communities. They love them, eight different orchestras, multiple theatre and dance classes, all the advanced classes and so on. Public education is great as far as they know.
The truth is education in America has to be viewed as an anti poverty program. Only then will the poor urban and rural areas areas be able to provide a quality education to the unfortunate children who happen to live there. It's not just more money either, the corruption has to be weeded out as well. That will be the hard part.

doug_b said...

“Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination.”

Thomas Sowell

Geoff said...

Vouchers are an interesting concept in principle but fail as a public policy tool because they assume that the "good schools" have unlimited capacity to accept vouchers. Or that an ambitious student in Allentown could go to a better school in Stroudsburg with little difficulty. Nothing is further from the truth.

As a state, isolating poorer districts from richer communities leads to the obvious outcome. Allowing something as variable as property values to determine school quality also leads to the expected outcome. America tends to do fine in educating the elite but the education of a larger and larger proportion of the population (now starting to include the "middle class") lags farther behind.

Bringing an urban or rural district to a higher performing level is extremely expensive in time, personnel, and money. America differs from successful education countries in that it treats education as a morality play or a Horatio Alger story rather than as a public policy outcome.