Would a Biden Presidency Mean the End of Charter Schools?

The issue of charter schools came up in another thread, so I thought we could discuss it here. Where I and at least one other person here (looking at you @JonNC :wink: ) send our children to a charter school, I’d be happy to address any questions about our own school and what I know of charter schools in general.

It is also emerging as an election issue because federal funding is involved. Here is Biden’s position on charter schools. It sounds like he’s OK with charter schools but wants to end federal funding for for-profit charter schools, which make up a small minority of charter schools.
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/trump-twists-bidens-position-on-school-choice-charter-schools/

I believe Trump supports maintaining their federal funding, but correct me if I’m wrong.

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I’ve seen mentions along these lines about Biden and Charter Schools. In general Democrats do not like charter schools, and want to see them eliminated one way or another from what I’ve read. The typical reason given is that the public teachers unions do not like the competition from charter schools and the teachers unions donate large sums of money to Democrat politicians.

I’ve seen President Trump say he likes charter schools and I believe he recently authorized more funding for them, but might be wrong on that.

Not to go crazy with articles and excerpts, but a few that I recall seeing the past and a few newer mentions.

Trump exploits Biden’s charter school silence

President Donald Trump is promising to grow charter schools in a second term as he works to win over Black and Hispanic voters, and former Vice President Joe Biden is letting him run with it.

Before an audience of nearly 24 million viewers, Trump said during his Republican National Convention speech that Biden has vowed to “close all charter schools, ripping away the ladder of opportunity for Black and Hispanic children.”

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“What would Biden do when it comes to charter schools?”

excerpt:

What would Joe Biden do about federal funds for charter school expansions that were an important part of President Obama’s educational initiatives? So far, he has indicated that he would not support expanding the small share of charters that are for-profit. However, there will be intense pressure on him to eliminate all federal support as anti-charter organizations continue to issue negative reports.

One such report — “Broken Promises,” from the Network for Public Education (NPE) — was uncritically featured in recent Washington Post and Forbes articles. The report focused exclusively on the seemingly large number of charter closures, and is typical of the critiques of charters: As much as possible, discuss things other than the improved academic performance of Black and Latino students from poor urban backgrounds who attend charters…

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Here is a recent talk Joe Biden gave on charter schools in which he says he does not like them.

Joe Biden hates charter schools

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I have not watched this video but saw it listed. Larry Elder talks about Biden’s dislike of Charter schools.

“Joe Biden wants to do away with Charter Schools”

While my children are grown, I worked at one.
But I’m with you.

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I have a big problem with for profit charters. I also have a problem with for profit prisons. Why should the government subsidize a for profit? I have no problem with totally private schools that take no government money and make their own rules for admittance and teachers…we’ve had those for years.

My concern is non profit schools using government money AND being discriminatory. Maybe none of those are? But, I’ve heard differently. Any non profit using government funds needs to obey government regulations on discrimination. If they want to replace a public school, they need to take the same types of kids as public schools.

Where am I wrong?

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Because the public schools are also discriminatory but all of tax dollars go to that. The government needs to give us the choice to be able to choose the type of education our children receive. If a certain doesn’t like a certain charter or non-profit school they can send third child to the public leftist school.

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I share your concerns about for-profit charters. I’m unaware of any in my area, and they definitely constitute a minority.

As for the non-profit charters, where are you getting your information? Charter schools have to take whomever applies in the following order: 1. Siblings of enrolled students, 2. First come, first serve within regional boundaries larger than a school district, and 3. Out-of-district students selected by random lottery. I cannot see where discrimination is even possible here.

In fact, I’ll boldly claim the opposite: It’s the conventional, public district schools that are discriminatory.

We are the only developed country I know of that funds schools by property taxes. The haves go to well-funded schools while the have-nots go to delipidated buildings with outdated textbooks and metal detectors. Buying one’s way into a pricey white neighborhood with high property taxes has become a form of tuition to buy one’s way into a privileged education. If anything, charter schools provide opportunities for students who once had none.

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Honestly, I haven’t looked into them in ages! We have a non profit charter school that runs 8-12 grade. Two Evangelical schools that I believe are non profit and are noted for being terrible…one is elementary, the other goes through high school. We also have a Catholic school where tuition is quite high but is a good school…only through 8th grade. The two evangelical schools ran into some serious problems. They were non profits at that time and kept pushing for more funds from the city/county (not sure which, it’s been awhile). They also got called out on their discrimination. They kept finding reasons to kick out the bad students to raise their scores and got caught doing some shady things to avoid being caught at it.

The non profit charter school that’s part of the public school system originally was a learning institution attached to the college for their teacher training programs. It was an outstanding school and really hard for kids to get into. They have severed that connection and are now a stand alone charter…they relocated to the rich side of town. Btw, that’s where all the schools are located, even the catholic school. Our city is very cleanly divided into an east west/poor rich situation. The poor side of town is heavily Hispanic and the west side is very white. The city has been working on diversifying both sides but it’s been a slow slog to balance things out. The bad charter schools used boundaries to keep the Hispanics out, it was found…one of their many problems.

That bad charter has now been obeying the rules but they score very low on testing and parents aren’t happy with the education their kids are getting…so now, funding is also a problem for them. Cont…

Cont…

You’ll get no argument from me here! I agree our funding of schools by property taxes are the most discriminatory way to fund the schools. The problem is the rich white folks defeat any bills to restructure the way they are funded. Any school funding presented to voters almost always is defeated. It’s a conservative community and they insist that no money is given to schools until they improve and show they’re worthy! So, we have some of the lowest funded schools in our state which is already below average compared to other states. The very white schools still do outstanding work and any student is now allowed to go to any school…if there is room…they must take the students within their school boundaries first. That tends to leave maybe three openings! Of course, any kid can get into any bad school…they have plenty of room. It’s a terrible system put in place to try and help. Sometimes good intentions just don’t work out.

Things were much better when my kids were in school…my youngest graduated in 95. Now, it’s my grandkids struggling. Luckily, my youngest grand is an IEP and goes to a middling school that happens to have an excellent IEP program. She’s doing quite well.

There are three public high schools each with its own “specialty” STEM at one, humanities at another and business tech at a third. My grandson goes to the STEM so we drive across town as they won’t provide buses. He can ride city buses for free, however.

Overall, it’s working some of the time and failing some of the time. Even the public charter is only doing a smidge better than any others. The catholic school has discussed several time about expanding to high school but the money just isn’t there and tuition would have be in the ridiculous category. I can’t even think of solutions that wouldn’t take years to accomplish…then came Covid…the response here has been really good. It surprised me. They were prepared in short order, organized, made sure every child had a Chromebook and internet…paid by the city if needed and the teachers did a fantastic job with a stressful situation. I give kudos when earned and they earned it!

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To clarify, this is a charter school? If so, how is this even legal? Charter schools are public schools and therefore can’t be religious or religiously affiliated. I know of one that got in legal trouble for having the students read the Bible for a comparative religion class, (in which they also read the Quran).

It sounds like your city has some urban planning dysfunction, and school placement is one symptom of it. It’s unfortunate this happens so often. Your city may need to do what ours does, establishing much broader boundaries for charter school applicants. IIRC, you live in a medium-sized city, yes? If so, there could be a North-South boundary line so that students East and West of it have to be admitted.

Our charter was very up front that if we want high test scores, they would not be a good choice for us. Parents who respect their educational philosophy, which most emphatically won’t teach to the test, know this going on and enroll their kids regardless.

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Does Boeing and other companies profit from government contracts?
If a company provides a good or service to the government, and they do so effectively and efficiently, the taxpayers have gotten their money’s worth.

On this I agree to an extent. If, however, government schools are incapable of being effective, why can’t parents direct the education funds designated for their child to an effective private school?

I would never work at such a school. And that doesn’t typically describe charter schools.

I agree on the other hand, parents should have the ability to direct the funds intended for their child to a successful school.

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A note: not all states use that model

and even when they do use property taxes, most states supplement or redistribute the tax revenue to assist poorer districts.

Back to the title question, this is mostly a State issue on whether or not to support Charter schools, not a Federal issue.

Correct.

It should be. All education issues and spending should be a state issue, but I can see a scenario where Democrats at the federal level withhold education dollars from states that have charter schools.

Throwing money at schools doesn’t fix them. I remember the District Court order requiring not only the school districts of Kansas City, Missouri but the state itself to fund inner city schools so lavishly that they couldn’t spend the money fast enough to get rid of it. In the end, the court abandoned the project after years of trying to improve the outcome because it didn’t improve the outcome.

On the other hand, at least around here the Catholic and Lutheran schools operate on a far smaller budget than the public schools, but have much better results.

Which states don’t? Here’s the overview I found on the issue. https://www.ncsl.org/research/education/funding-approaches-the-property-tax-and-public-ed.aspx

“Throwing money” at schools certainly won’t help. But careful, deliberate allocation of funds can.

If this is the case, it would stand to reason that school funding equity couldn’t harm the wealthier schools while giving the underfunded ones a leg up.

I know a thing or two about schools operating on a shoestring. Children at our charter school help with tasks that large, public schools normally allocate to janitors. And our parent volunteer pool is enormous. But then, we’re well-resourced compared to the underprivileged schools out there.

Actually, it doesn’t seem to. In the Kansas City case, it didn’t. All it did was provide a great help for the Kansas side of the line because there was a tidal wave of people moving across the line to avoid the court-mandated high taxes. It wasn’t random spending. They spent money on high salaries to draw in high-quality teachers, coaches, music instructors, psychologist. I know one of them. He had a master’s degree in engineering and was hired to teach high school math. They built new buiildings, gyms, athletic fields. They bought computers and terrific labs for chemistry, physics, biology. They provided tutors. They forced students from the “high end” public schools to go to school in those “magnet schools”, and bused them there.

And it accomplished nothing, or near nothing except the development of suburbs in Kansas. After several years, the court abandoned the effort.

In NC, the overwhelming amount of education spending is from the state via ADM (average daily membership). Local jurisdictions provide a supplement.

Several of you brought up some things that I’d like to know more about!

This idea sounds good on paper. How would it be implemented? You can’t just give the money to the parents as some could care less if their child goes to school at all. I also envision a wave of quickly established private schools that are just there to suck up that money. How would we regulate them? Assure they are ethical? Assure the money is spent to educate, not enrich the higher ups? I’m not rejecting this idea, just trying to figure out how it would actually work and benefit the children!

I can see Democrats insisting on data showing the charters are working as intended. I also think it should be kept at the state level as much as possible but there are states that are just too poor and dependent on the government for aid. I’m thinking Mississippi, Arkansas…
Most of my children’s education took place in Wyoming. The schools there are very well funded as it mostly comes from oil subsidies, not property taxes. All schools had computer centers, sports and music were excellent in being funded…then we moved to Colorado and my daughter went to a school that had one computer in the entire school for the secretary…little to no funding of music and musical instruments. It was a shocking discovery for us…one we didn’t expect and I had to supplement their education in several ways to assure they got a well rounded education. Money well spent can make a huge difference!

I hear these types of comments all the time but I never hear why they perform better? Better student teacher ratios? That seems to be a big indicator of better results. What are they actually doing to have better outcomes and is it anything the public schools could do too?

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Cont… Oops meant to include the last quote…sorry!

I actually wish this was done in all schools but I can imagine some parents and kids whining about having to do manual labor…the horror! I think it gives a taste of a good work ethic and makes students care more about their school property…they aren’t going to graffiti their school if they also have to clean it off! As long as the work is fairly distributed and not abused by the staff, I’m all for it!

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The voucher system works well. Parents who couldn’t care less will choose the path of least resistance, whatever that might be on an area.

They won’t suck up a dime if parents don’t choose to send them there. In my view, the money should follow the child. I see no reason why private schools receiving vouchers wouldn’t have similar state oversees public charter schools.

I would insist on that, too. I just wish they would insist on that for the large city schools they’ve been running for decades. If they were, we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

All k-12 education should be run by state and local governments, but to the extent that the federal government interferes in it, the hope would be they wouldn’t stand in the way of education choice for kids in poorer states.

It certainly can.

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