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What's so bad about a charter?

Original post made by Optimist on May 7, 2007

What's so bad about a charter? Is PAUSD so fragile that a charter will destroy us?

I'm genuinely puzzled by the debate.

I've read the State Education code. MI is a textbook case for a charter. Yes, there's some complexity about per-pupil funding in a basic aid district, but it's not substantially worse than the complexity in a revenue limit district. It won't divert many resources and the arguments about out-of-district enrollment seem – well a bit xenophobic. I don't see how an MI charter will meet some Ed Code diversity requirements, but I expect the organizers to take on the challenge and comply with the law.

MI choice seems to me like the worst of all worlds. No curriculum, no textbooks, low community priority. Administrators who are letting their enthusiasm get ahead of their knowledge and experience. Community uproar. Let's embrace a charter and move on.

Comments (60)

Posted by A.J., a resident of Green Acres
on May 7, 2007 at 10:03 pm

I agree, what's so bad about a charter? I think the district even has some money set aside for examining a charter. From the Newsletter of the Palo Alto Council of PTA's May-June: "District Discretionary - one-time grant of $64,000 Anticipates these funds will be [sic] pay for a Charter School Task Force if needed and to extend the work of the Attendance Area Advisory Group Task Force."

So far with all the energy focused on debating MI ad infinitum, none of the things I understood were going to happen regarding FLES (foreign language instruction for all elementary students, who have no foreign language instruction at the moment) have happened. Let's let the charter go forward and move on.

This choice program promises to continue the controversy. It seems there are fewer opponents of the charter, it could be a much more robust program that benefits more people, and stands to be considerably less costly. It will also be more positive for all involved. Let it happen.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2007 at 3:04 am

The issues around preferential admissions and the requirement that the racial makeup of the school reflect the district may be difficult to meet with a charter. Here is an article about a language charter (German) in San Diego that is having just such difficulty, and it doesn't sound like the issues are resolved Web Link though I doubt we would have similar difficulty finding native Mandarin speakers. Didn't the letter from the 9 suggest one-way immersion to start choice anyway? The other option is to go one-way-immersion, then that does away with that requirement anyway. (A racially balkanized school seems to violate the charter laws -- the applicants have to show in their application how the racial makeup of the school will reflect that of the district. I don't think this is an issue that has been resolved in legislation for language immersion schools, though perhaps this would be an ideal issue for Grace Mah to pursue for the benefit of all immersion charter schools in the state. It doesn't seem that the San Diego school was prevented from forming the charter despite the concerns over these rules.)

The RAND corporation makes the point that charters that are located in traditional classrooms (versus taught partly at home) meet or exceed performance standards and test scores of public schools at a fraction of the spending per student. The school would almost certainly start later than a choice program and under almost any scenario would save money.


Posted by Al, a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2007 at 2:48 pm

I think charters make sense. They are MUCH better than allowing further erosion of our neighborhood schools. Even better, why not just give educational vouchers to all district kids who want an alternative educational experience? They can go form their own private school, and help to prevent overcrowding in our public schools. Choice is good.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on May 8, 2007 at 4:02 pm

I think the board is trying to be fiscally responsible and spend the least amount of money. That's good, but do we really know whether MI or a charter school would cost less? There are too many questions about the financial analysis done by Dr. Cook. (Why didn't the school board's finance person, Jerry Matranga, do the analysis?) For example:

- It's claimed that MI will be cost neutral, so there's no data showing these "neutral" costs of MI. (Neutral doesn't mean zero.) Yet ALL costs of running a charter school are shown.

- Aren't there some costs the state would reimburse? Where is that shown?

- Where's the long-term maximum cost of MI?

The PAEE analysis at www.paee.us (which was done by a financial analyst) shows a charter would cost less.
I'd like to see a side-by-side analysis – and I think the board should be demanding that all these details be addressed before making any decision.


Posted by Al, a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Let me just posit that a charter school WOULD cost more than MI choice in the regular track. It probably would not be a lot more. To my way of thinking, it would be worth the extra $$. We would preserve our neighborhood schools from further attacks, and we would establish a precedence for future choice schemes. Maybe we could even get SI and Connections (Ohlone) and Direct Instruction (Hoover)into charters.

The notion of jamming together MI and Connections into a single unit (at Ohlone) just seems absurd to me. They are radically different cultures. But that is their problem, really. We should never have gone down the road of this internal selective process in the first place. The way out of it is to establish charters or, better yet, establish educational vouchers.

Palo Alto really knows how to mess it up! It has gotten away with it for so long, because it had to $$ to do so. No longer the case...! This MI issue might be the tipping point for a new paradigm in PA schools.


Posted by Caroline, a resident of another community
on May 8, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Hi Palo Altans -- I'm a San Francisco public-school parent, advocate and blogger. I have a web page up on charter schools -- from the "anti" perspective -- to give you some background on what the problems are.

Web Link


Posted by RWE, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 8, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Let's start with the management structure at PAUSD. It's decidedly top-down, and far from the model that many current, forward-looking, public and private organizations have today.

There is little in the way of idea and initiative cross-fertilization among site administrators, teachers, and senior executives. Rather, it's a huge institutional football, kicked to-and-fro by come-and-go BOE members, come-and-go senior exectives, and small groups of parents with agendas. And we all pay for this.

This isn't to say that all most organizations operating in the 21st century don't have reporting structures, or that they run by themselves - they don't. It's more to say that the administration of public education hasn't changed very much in the last half century.

Also, the administrative curriculum that senior administrators engage is decidedly weak compared to what executives in the private sector face. K-12 education in America is a kind of ghetto for automatic administrative promotion at the senior level, with very little accountability.

Add to this the fact that we include an elected BOE in the mix as a variable - a big variable, because senior executives within PAUSD (and other districts) work at the BOE's pleasure. Think about the further weirdness as BOE's change over, with standing Superintendents in place; even more weirdness results.

Comparing this with the board structure of many comtemporary public and private organizations, there is a clear structural flaw - with every district having a rotating BOE (elections every so many years), and careerist bureaucrats (said with respect) having to "get along" so that they can "move along" to their next "assignment" (every 5 or so years, hence).

Where this all falls down in comparison to more efficient structures is that every district sees itself as a discrete entity - in teaching AND operations. there is simply no incentive to look for extra-district ways to create _significant_ operational or teaching efficiencies. The whole system - nationally, and locally - simply continues on its merry way, at a snail's pace _because_ there is no real incentive to change the way things are.

The "ignorance is bliss" factor is very hard at work in this scenario, because unlike 30-50 years ago, when many nations were catching up from the destruction visited on them in WWII, there are now many countries that surpass American K-12 educational quality, including education in districts as highly regarded as PAUSD.

Our kids are going to pay a big price for this ineficiency and political football, down the road, as the new "flattened" world permits trans-border skill mobility as never before. For instance, 1 in 3 new residents in Silicon Valley are from another country. One would think that meant something to educational administrators and BOE's, as they squabble over political means to political ends, but it doesn't appear to phase anyone.

The MI program is a perfect example of a half-baked solution to this problem. Parents want to set up a lottery system that will educate a lucky few. Is that efficient?

And why should K-12 educational bureaucracies change? Heck, BOE members simply fade into the background after they term out, or use their BOE experience to seek further political office. What penalties do you see out there for poor performance by a Superintendent? Virtually none. Most simply continue jumping from district to district, until they retire, regardless of performance. It's an "old boy" network, including the same old tired consulting firms that are hired ad nauseum to look in the same places for the same kinds of people to run districts that are virtually indistinguishable - in terms of operational and curricular policy - than they were 40 years ago.

What private corporation (or modern-day, forward-looking non-profit) would continue to look askance at opportunities to create extra-corporate efficiencies? American K-12 school systems almost _never_ do this. That's an opportunity constraint for our kids in tomorrow's world.

I'm _very_ pro public education. That said, we _must_ find ways to make educational districts far more transparent and inclusive, and at the same time less political. We _must_ insist that teachers and site administrators are heard when it comes to thinigs like MI. We shuold also include membership of the latter on the BOE, so that the current one-sidedness disappears, and the BOE has some members with on the ground experience in education - instead of the current situation, which is little more than a popularity contest preceded by campaign promises that can't be kept.

Look at the MI fiasco. Teacher and site administrator inputs were all but unheard. Instead, we had a motivated group of well-meaning people who used a well-worn political process to try to have their way with PAUSD - our _kids_ learning environment, where teachers and site administrators work _every day_, face-to-face with those kids, educating them, and socializing them.

Teaching and administrative professionals are burdened today as never before, but their inputs are hardly ever taken with the same weight as senior executives, the BOE, or parents. Think about it. What modern corporation operates this way? Look at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, GE, and so on. These organization all have their problems, and they do have structured management, but the ADAPT. This is something that American education is NOT doing, including districts like PAUSD.

I've asked around of teachers and site administrators here, about MI. Most of them think it's currently a bad idea, for any number of reasons. Yet those voices were never heard in the debate.

Parents should always have a voice in public education, but that voice needs to be educated about the reality of classroom experience, in addition to what needs to be done to improve the quality of education. But, this closed loop system that never seems to change, that seems essentially void of anything new in terms of curricular structure.


Posted by Al, a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2007 at 6:34 pm

RWE,

That was a good post. I think you just made the argument against single-payer health care...AND public education!

Public education, like the post office, needs competition. Fed-Ex drove the U.S. Mail in a very positive direction.

Charter schools are a move in the right direction. They provide choice and some competition. Educational vouchers would provide serious competition, along with serious choice.


Posted by RWE, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 8, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Al, No way do i want to throw the baby out with the bath water. That said, either public education changes the way it is structured at the state and district levels, or we _will_ see a slow decimation of the system over years. We have to do something to ensure that all of our kids are educated to world standards AND prepared for the complexities of competition the likes of which America has never seen. As of now, even PAUSD kids are not educated to this standard, because we're constantly squabbling over political issues that - in the end - don't really improve education.


Posted by Al, a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2007 at 8:13 pm

RWE,

"Al, No way do i want to throw the baby out with the bath water."

You won't. The baby will get stronger. Charters and voucers are not a threat to public education. They are a threat to an entrenched bureaucracy and the teacher unions. The kids will prosper.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2007 at 8:33 pm

"I've asked around of teachers and site administrators here, about MI. Most of them think it's currently a bad idea, for any number of reasons. Yet those voices were never heard in the debate."

Teachers may attend board meetings. The voice of a teacher on issues of policy should carry no more weight than the postman's.


Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 8, 2007 at 9:26 pm

A teacher's opinion on education should certainly carry MUCH more weight than a postman's, a police officer probably knows more about police affairs than a postman, a doctor know more about a medical foundation than a grocery clerk...


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 8, 2007 at 9:49 pm

The question should be "what is right with Charter schools", not what is "wrong with Charter schools". Charters were originally intended to provide an alternative to District schools—based on the belief that the "bureaucracy" was somehow "the problem". Relieved of the constraints of the Education Code, teachers were somehow supposed to become more productive, or more creative or more effective in their jobs and students who were underperforming would now magically start performing.

Reality does not seem to support the theory, as it were. There are too many factors to deal with here, but a few are worth talking about. The first is that California schools aren't performing very well to begin with. The API (Academic Performance Index) score of 800 has been declared as "proficient". Only about one-third of the school in California post scores of 800 or greater. That leaves two-thirds below, and many of that number, well below the 800 level. The API scores for Charter Schools is also about one-third above and two-thirds below. So, if these schools have not been able to increase the performance of the kids on the low end of the socio-economic spectrum, what is the point of operating these schools?

The idea that a group of elitist parents want to educate their kids in "their own school", paid for with public funds, is not why Charter Schools were originally created. Allowing Charters to drift into this sort of "private school" model is not in anyone's best interest—other than the elitist parents.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2007 at 10:37 pm

No. A postman knows about delivering mail but has no particular insight into setting postal rates. Teachers know about the classroom, not about educational policy.


Posted by RWE, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 8, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Parent, the difference between what a postman does, and what a teacher does, is a light-year difference. Teachers _educate and socialize_ our children; postal workers deliver mail.

Taking yuor argument to a logical extreme woudl have doctors not having a say in medical policy, which would be absurd. In fact, to the degree that professionals _don't_ have a significant say in the policy initiatives that impact their respective practices, to that degree is their profession, and the results rendered from their professional activities, compromised.

Frankly, your statement reveals a massive misunderstanding of what teaching professionals do, and the range of thier ability (especially the best of them).

Handing over education to "policy makers" has led to the politicization of education here, and the rest of America. the results are staring all of us in the face, every day, as the rest of the developed world's educational systems continue to outperform ours.

Your "policy makers" have left a lot to be desired; it's time to try something new.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Back to the topic, what is wrong with a Charter school in PA? There are plenty of private schools in the area and presumably they compete with PAUSD. Besides the much higher cost of a private school, those parents are actually financially supporting the public school in addition to paying for their children's education. Is the real objection to a Charter school is that PAUSD loses this subsidy?


Posted by Confused, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 8, 2007 at 11:25 pm

if choice programs converted to charters, how would that free up neighborhood schools? The new charter schools would need classrooms, which the district would have to provide. So let's say Hoover Choice becomes Hoover Charter. It asks PAUSD for space, and PAUSD assigns it to Hoover's current location. Ohlone ditto. MI wants space and asks for Garland. SI Charter asks for Garland too. One of them would get it and the other would be offered some other piece of real estate, even if the district had to rent it. Of course, each of the charters would pay back according to charter law, but, nonetheless, now Escondido would have only 250 kids left, not enough to justify occupying such a large campus, so Escondido will either have to close or take in lots of overflows. Or the district could just redraw the boundaries and kids from the north could be redrawn to Escondido. All this conversion to charter doesn't free up any real estate for a reduced non-charter population.


Posted by Confused, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 8, 2007 at 11:25 pm

if choice programs converted to charters, how would that free up neighborhood schools? The new charter schools would need classrooms, which the district would have to provide. So let's say Hoover Choice becomes Hoover Charter. It asks PAUSD for space, and PAUSD assigns it to Hoover's current location. Ohlone ditto. MI wants space and asks for Garland. SI Charter asks for Garland too. One of them would get it and the other would be offered some other piece of real estate, even if the district had to rent it. Of course, each of the charters would pay back according to charter law, but, nonetheless, now Escondido would have only 250 kids left, not enough to justify occupying such a large campus, so Escondido will either have to close or take in lots of overflows. Or the district could just redraw the boundaries and kids from the north could be redrawn to Escondido. All this conversion to charter doesn't free up any real estate for a reduced non-charter population.


Posted by Confused, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2007 at 11:26 pm

if choice programs converted to charters, how would that free up neighborhood schools? The new charter schools would need classrooms, which the district would have to provide. So let's say Hoover Choice becomes Hoover Charter. It asks PAUSD for space, and PAUSD assigns it to Hoover's current location. Ohlone ditto. MI wants space and asks for Garland. SI Charter asks for Garland too. One of them would get it and the other would be offered some other piece of real estate, even if the district had to rent it. Of course, each of the charters would pay back according to charter law, but, nonetheless, now Escondido would have only 250 kids left, not enough to justify occupying such a large campus, so Escondido will either have to close or take in lots of overflows. Or the district could just redraw the boundaries and kids from the north could be redrawn to Escondido. All this conversion to charter doesn't free up any real estate for a reduced non-charter population.


Posted by Confused, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 8, 2007 at 11:28 pm

Sorry for the repeats. I'm not used to this and I thought my comments were not being accepted.


Posted by Teacher are people, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 8, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Hm, an excessively high regard for teachers; must be a teacher in the house.

Seriously, doctors don't make laws governing medicine; lawmakers do.

I can see your desire to control educational policy because you have a stake in it, but that doesn't make your opinion wise or even privileged. Putting teachers in charge wouldn't improve things, though it would eliminate democracy! (Also, I notice you've factored in the best teachers, but don't forget the worst!)

Oh, and go easy on the poor postman.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 9:09 am

Has anyone read the recent post about the Mandarin speech contest winners? Web Link

"Bucking the Local Trend, Hybrid Approach to Mandarin Education Nets Local International School Top Honors in Mandarin Speech Contest"

"Yew Chung International School-Silicon Valley (YCIS-SV)...in Mountain View, reports that over one third of their entrants took home honors, including a first place finish by 7 year old Yasmine Razzak, a Palo Alto resident from an English-only household..."

"Only 30% of Yew Chung's daily class time is conducted in Mandarin (about 1.5 hours per day) by a separate native Mandarin-speaking teacher who has been specifically trained in the Yew Chung methods."

CORE SUBJECTS ARE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH, YET THIS SCHOOL MANAGES TO ACHIEVE AWARD-WINNING LEVELS OF FLUENCY IN MANDARIN!!

One of the core arguments for the choice/charter program has been that we need to innovate. It seems to me, dual immersion is considerably less bang for the buck, LESS innovative, and we can't afford to be that wasteful in our small school district.

If we want language, and we want language excellence, we need to consider these different approaches -- something the PACE people never did. They never compared different approaches and costs, fit with our district, etc., they simply proposed one thing and went with it. (Nico Janik admitted on Town Square that they never considered anything else.)

I think we should innovate in a way that opens the possibility for teaching fluency in several languages, not just one, without the serious baggage and facilities problems that the current proposal brings.

If we say yes to the current proposal, we will end up stuck with this dinosaur/expensive model essentially forever, to the considerable detriment of other language innovations and choices in the future.

The PACE people have shown no inclination to think creatively, to work with the district, or consider financial realities. Let them proceed with the charter, and we should proceed in the meantime with our strategic planning, with the World Languages Task Force looking at some of these more innovative strategies. By the time PACE gets a charter going (let me remind everyone that a charter application is a far cry from a charter school, which requires a huge amount of work), we could have far better language innovations in place in Palo Alto -- innovations that work better for our kids, offer the opportunity to ALL of our kids, and work better for our district. In that case, even if PA approves the charter the first time (provided PACE can't be persuaded to consider the good of other kids in the district and apply through a district in the same county with a more amenable financing structure), PAUSD would probably have reason to deny renewal of the charter if the district were providing language education more effectively and in a better way after a few years.

Even so, getting a successful charter going will almost certainly mean going beyond the borders of Palo Alto and including parents from surrounding communities. A regional language charter wouldn't be such a bad thing, even if we develop a superior, more innovate, and cheaper languages strategy at home.

I really haven't seen any relevant criticism that makes the charter worse than the proposed choice program. It seems to have a lot of advantages and is a better model for "choice".


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 9:50 am

pa mom,

Have you ever visited Yew Chung? Their educational philosophy was developed in HK and it is character based. It is a approach to bilingual education and has been around for many years.

If you only send very few students, it's easy to have a high percentage of winners :-)


Posted by 100 Flowers, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 10:50 am

pa mom,

You've jumped to conclusions.

I don't intend to dump on Yew Chung, but there is no statistical evidence for this model. Most parents from around here interested in dual Mandarin immersion have visited Yew Chung. Some of them, perhaps, cannot afford the tuition. But others simply do not believe in this approach.

It's nice they won some prizes, but that doesn't make it an effective way to learn Mandarin.

As for buck-bang, would this also be cost-neutral? How would that be better than dual immersion? In any case, dual immersion could be leveraged to get Mandarin introduced at the level of FLES, too.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2007 at 11:09 am

Guys, the laws are very clear--you can't convert public schools to charters unless pretty much signs on to doing so. Hoover and Ohlone teach the same curriculum as the rest of the PAUSD and I think they serve as useful models for some of the neighborhood schools. It's a lot easier, for example, to fight the endless-homework trend at Nixon if you can point to Ohlone managing on no homework.

From what she's said, I think Charles is looking toward some sort of FLES in the normal Ohlone strands. She says in the weekly that she'd like every school to have its own language focus. I'm sure in the perfect Susan Charles world, all schools would be doing the Ohlone Way.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Maybe some don't believe in the Yew Chung approach, that's fine. They are free to go to any of the other immersion language schools in the area. I don't think dual immersion is necessary to teach fluency, and I don't believe in setting up boutique programs that use so many resources to teach something unique to a tiny fraction of the student body in an overenrolled public school system.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 12:33 pm

During the debates over SI, people made the same claims, that SI would be a stepping stone for FLES. Others felt that FLES should come first and that SI would take energy and resources away from FLES. SI was starting first anyway, and FLES didn't make it.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

We should give FLES a go first. This is a public school system. I moved here for it. Those who are so unhappy with Palo Alto schools can choose private options for the exact education they are seeking, and if they can't afford it, they can choose like so many other parents, to move to a cheaper city nearby and send their kids to private schools. There is no widespread demand for this program; there is widespread dissent for the specific plan.

The board did handle PACE's application badly. It's a shame, and I think even the board wishes they could undo it, but it doesn't obligate the district to give them a school. No one, not PACE, not the district, anticipated our overenrollment problems. It's no one's fault, but this is not the time to have a program that requires its own school site forced on the district. If PACE can't be swayed to work within the realities of our district and for the benefit of all children in it, then they should be allowed to start a charter. That is their right.


Posted by Al, a resident of College Terrace
on May 9, 2007 at 12:38 pm

"if choice programs converted to charters, how would that free up neighborhood schools? "

Confused, if charters are put on neighborhood school property, they can/should be put in portables at the other end of the campus. If this would have happened at Escondido, instead of having SI take over the main buildings, things would have been better. Immersion programs are, by their very nature, separatist, so why not keep them separate?

A better approach would be to have the charters rent space outside the existing district properties. Several private schools have done so in Palo Alto.

If SI was moved away from Escondido, the existing boundries could/would be redrawn to make sure that Escondido has its required number of neighborhood kids. That is not a real issue.


Posted by RWE, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 9, 2007 at 1:52 pm

"Teacher are people" said
"Hm, an excessively high regard for teachers; must be a teacher in the house.
Seriously, doctors don't make laws governing medicine; lawmakers do."

You might look into who is mostly consulted prior to making clinical medical policy - it's not politicians, or patients - the _professionals_ have the last word, and the first word.

Again, teachers would NOT be in charge - read my post without making prior assumptions. In fact, given what I have writen aboubt this, your post indicates you have not read very carefully.

btw, there IS a HUGE difference between teachers and postmen, with one difference that many postmen are paid better than teachers. That's another "policy" decision that hasn't seved our city, or our nation, very well. If oyu doubt that, compare American K-12 education with the rest of the developed world. It's not a flattering comparison.

Look at the thread, above. We have everyone weighing on on "what's best in the classroom". Is there even ONE teacher in that conversation? No. That's indicative of what goes on in this and 1000's of districts every day. And we wonder why American K-12 education is in a shambles - it's a political football.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 2:27 pm

RWE,
You have good things to say -- please start a different thread about whether teachers should have a say in educational policy and continue this non-related thread there. (Thanks.)

100 Flowers: You wrote: "I don't intend to dump on Yew Chung, but there is no statistical evidence for this model."

There appears to be more evidence for the success of Yew Chung's model than an MI-Ohlone mishmash. An MI-Ohlone mishmash has no precedent at all, and there is no evidence at all that it will work, statistical or no.

Yew Chung is a successful program. PACErs have all along expressed elitism towards schools and students in Mountain View -- and here you haven't done anything but cast aspersions on their school without any hard evidence. Please examine your heart to see if this same elitism is not underlying your off-hand dismissal of their program.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2007 at 2:38 pm

The blank-refusal attitude about an MV charter by PACE seems to me to be so little about Mandarin, per se, and so much about making some sort of weird statement.

An MV charter for Mandarin would just solve so many problems, but for no clear rational reason it seems to be off the table while Ohlone MI which brings a whole new slew of issues--serious overcrowding, unclear curriculum, conflicting educational philosophies, unclear system of checks and balances--seems to be on its way to approval even though it's unclear that more than about three people want an MI program of this sort in this way.


Posted by Jerry Underdal, a resident of Barron Park
on May 9, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Anonymous,

With the amount of difficulty the district is encountering in introducing a program that the MI Feasibility Study says would have minimal cost, I'm not confident that FLES will make it through the process whether MI is killed or not.

Ballpark figures we've heard at board meetings suggest we're talking about a million dollars or more, depending on how the program is structured. Advocates will have their work cut out for them as they face many of the same objections being raised against the MI program.

People who are allied now in fighting MI will find themselves divided into opposing camps when the issue is not blocking but starting a program.


Posted by Optimist, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Different approaches to language teaching - Yew Chung vs full immersion - and the strong feelings they provoke in parents just strengthen the argument for parent-directed charter options. RWE makes some good points about teacher autonomy that we should absolutely discuss on another thread!

A few people still wish this whole thing would go away. They wish everyone were content with the same neighborhood schools. They wish that PACE didn't exist, that charter law didn't exist, etc. The reality is PACE exists and charters are part of the Ed Code.

Given all this I'm still puzzled - why does the district appear to fear a charter?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 8:35 pm

No, Charter law trumps education code, evidently. Ed code says you public schools can't screen students on basis of language ability. Hmm.


Posted by Optimist, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Resident,

I'm assuming PACE can construct a workable, Ed Code compliant charter application. If not, this whole discussion is moot.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2007 at 9:53 pm

One of the odd things to me at the last board meeting was Mandy Lowell's assumpution that PACE would put through a workable charter application. From what I've seen, PACE doesn't actually have anyone in its core group who has experience in running a school. Do they even have a teacher? Given how little interest they have in Ohlone stuff and their MI or die attitude, I think they would have filed a charter application ages ago if they'd had the know-how and budget on board.

I don't think they do and I don't think they ever have. Among other things, we're getting a bluff.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 9:01 am

OhlonePar,
I think a charter application has to have signatures of 50% of the teachers who will teach at the school? I thought that was a strange requirement, to have the teachers lined up already when filling out an application. Am I right about that? That could be one of the many barriers. That's separate from converting an existing public school, where you have to have agreement of the teachers, etc. I have no doubt that PACE could submit an application, but I have serious doubts they could see a charter to reality -- not because of how hard it is, but they don't seem to have the necessary do-it-yourself commitment in enough of the members. Like you say, they would have started this years ago if that was their inclination.

Jerry,
I've been reading the same comments and watching the opposing sides at school board meetings. I would say a majority of the opponents to this MI plan are supportive of FLES, and many are not in principle opposed to MI in our district. Some of the most vocal opponents of this MI plan have made public statements indicating they would be supportive of MI if there were reasonable compromises on important concerns, such as the timing. A lot of opposition could have been avoided if PACE had been able to be more flexible in light of problems like the recent overcrowding, which no one saw coming.

Much of the disagreement comes about because most of the opponents do not agree with the feasibility study's conclusions that the MI program proposed would be minimal cost, which even supporters admit doesn't encompass all the facilities needs and costs. So starting with your assumption that there was opposition despite "minimal cost" completely misses the point, most opponents did not agree the costs would be minimal, and they specifically pointed out the flaws and deficits in that contention. The feasibility study never offered a breakdown of costs and actual numbers anyway. A more honest and complete approach to accounting for the costs, even if the plan hadn't been "cost neutral" would have gotten a better reception.

PACErs have given lukewarm lip service to supporting FLES or are outright disdainful of it. FLES is going to be hindered if they get their way. I'd much rather take my chances with the people you think will split apart -- they seem to me much more willing to try to hash something out, so long as it is done in a more cooperative and reasonable way. I would expect more dissent from PACE out of sour grapes if they didn't get their program than I would from others.

I, too, have heard large dollar figures bandied about for FLES, especially by PACE members, but when I read the district's own report, it seemed to indicate FLES could be done fairly cheaply, depending, if it were done on a model like we already do music, where basically one teacher gets hired to visit different campuses across the district to teach everyone. Regardless, FLES will be much cheaper on a PER STUDENT basis than MI. FLES with summer immersion would also be cheaper on a per student basis, and wouldn't require any separate or new facilities.

The point is that FLES advocates are advocating fairness, and most want to see how language plays out in strategic planning, what we have the budget for, and what other priorities have to happen first. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 10:36 am

People new to this issue have no historical context, and so come to erroneous conclusions.

They have no idea that the original petition of 330 signatures (gathered in just a couple weeks) a year ago simply asked that the feasibility study NOT be started until a World Language Task force could come up with a workable plan for foreign language growth in our district. All anyone wanted was a way to put it all into the context of the whole district, and a chance to sit down and work it out.

The intent was a reasonable request to the Board to not circumvent our process. There was never a "no MI now or ever" part to the petition. It was all about working together to come up with a plan. A plan that had long and short term goals, benchmarks, etc.

They were told, publicly, that they were too late, that they obviously hadn't been paying attention if they thought this was a new subject ( one which had been turned down for 4 years, and suddenly was on the table the month before once a check was waved), that they were short-sighted and narrow-minded, and obviously didn't understand the importance of Mandarin to the future. The conclusion had already happened. And, the first quote, by Grace Mah, which acknowledged no valid concerns, and only stated that there were "racial overtones" to the meeting, came out in the newspapers. Even Mandy Lowell got tired of hearing the race card being thrown down and in August or September went on a tirade about how she had not heard any racism. Too late. By the time people get really angry, and the most extreme factions come out on both sides, name calling was rampant on both sides.

And thus the battle lines were drawn.

If we have learned anything, I hope we have learned how to do PROCESS in a transparent, ethical, thoughtful way, so that we can prevent future divisiveness such as this. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2007 at 10:38 am

Seems to me that FLES could be as easy as purchasing a video-taped (dvd) language program and showing it to the kids 15 minutes every day. In this case, the teacher doesn't even need to be trained in the language. Do this for 6 years in elementary school, and I bet you the kids would learn a lot! It's not immersion, but it sets the kids up to be ready for more advanced language classes starting in middle school.
I guess I don't understand why FLES is so complicated to start and get into our schools. And I wonder how much more support MI would have if FLES was instituted simultaneously.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 10:46 am

RE: FLES and programming. PA MOM -Absolutely. We would have to buy enough computers for each classroom for kids to "self-pace" themselves on a program, of which there are several EXCELLENT ones.

Much like the old fashioned SRA reading programs in the classrooms of my youth which were graduated in reading levels, and which kids progressed through at their own pace. Anybody here old enough to remember those?

It is absolutely true that 20 minutes per day of practice on a decent program will gain you fluency in verbal skills. Obviously this is a DIFFERENT GOAL from bilingual AND biliterate AND bicultural, but if introduced in the elementary schools, kids could move on to middle and high school and achieve the other goals if they wish.

The beauty of this approach is that it is not teacher intensive, and EACH KID'S PARENTS COULD CHOOSE THE LANGUAGE THEY WISH THEIR CHILD TO FOCUS ON IN THEIR ELEMENTARY YEARS.

I am betting a bond for computers in our classrooms for this purpose AND for the ability for kids to be able to focus on their progress in reading and math skills through computer program would fly.


Posted by Milton, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 11:53 am

This may be the worst idea in our country today. Certainly, at this point in history the mind, we are not ready for it; it is safe to say no child has ever learned a language from DVDs. Lock your children in the TV room at home. Chain them to their computers. But unleash them at school! Give them teachers. Make language something that unfurls the world for them.

No doubt you can find hucksters flogging language DVDs willing to pocket as much as we can throw their way. Just say no.

Give them a Swedish teacher who can connect them to the cutting-edge hacker sites, all of them now in Swedish. Find a Japanese teacher who can teach them to speak like yakuza. Kono yarrrrrrrro.

FLES, done right, will cost money and be complicated.

No computers for reading. None for math. And not even the mention of one for foreign languages. Imagine. It's easy if you try.


Posted by Optimist, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Sometimes as a community we spend a bit too much time telling others what they should want. Let's grant PACE that they want MI and they have the wherewithal to petition for a charter to implement an MI school. Can anyone say why that's a bad thing? I'm starting to worry it may just be Churchill who don't like a charter.

(Resident is right - the process is broken, but that's another topic!)


Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2007 at 3:10 pm

I have followed the Bullis Charter school controversy in Los Altos. It has been very expensive to the district and continues to be an active divisive issue. It is a very popular alternative within Los Altos with far more kids applying than can be accepted. I think Los Altos would have been much better off to respond to parental desires and keep Bullis open in the first place and to have looked at using the space at Egan Junior H.S., now used for Bullis, for some kind of magnet program for kids in No. Los Altos, which might have reduced the current pressure the other No. Altos elementary schools.

I think it is clear that the school board thinks that a charter school would be far more expensive and dispruptive proposition than an MI program. I trust their analysis. I was impressed by the interview in the Weekly with Susan Charles who was very positive about how the MI program would fit in with the Ohlone program. I trust her analysis more than the average poster here. I just don't see the downside to the MI program. Costs appear to be minimal.

I also think the original decision to turn down the MI program, which was a split vote, was wrong and reflected pressure from a minority of parents whose motives I have never understood. I'm glad the charter school issue came up and allowed a more reasoned approach.

I do believe Palo Alto needs an overall FLES policy. However, I can't see how the MI program will adversely affect the development of that policy and should help by providing another data point in what an effective FLES program looks like. Teaching all children a few classes a week, is an expensive proposition. I doubt the district has funds for it, even if this approach is considered effective, which I also doubt. Susan Charles suggestion that each elementary school specialize in a language sounds good. But I also look forward to seeing a full evaluation of all FLES alternatives to see what the latest research has to say.


Posted by Residents, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Marie: The motives were easy to understand..equal curriculum for all elementary students in the District, neighborhood schools, and planning.

That's all.Nothing sinister.

Just like the motives of PACE are simple. MI for some kids.

Very simple.

Diametrically opposed.

Noting sinister.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Marie,
I don't know how long you have been following this debate, or how many school board meetings you've been to, but it's pretty clear that those pushing for this MI plan are a tiny number of people (getting tinier as time passes), and the opposition is quite large. Posters above have made good points, and I hope you will read them and consider why there is so much opposition to this plan. Many of those opposed to this choice plan are not opposed to a charter. It does seem that churchill is more afraid of losing control than anything else.

The Bullis controversy has a history that doesn't apply to our situation. I have heard, though I can't confirm, that Bullis actually approached PAUSD initially but were rebuffed.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Marie,
You wrote, ". . . the original decision to turn down the MI program, which was a split vote, was wrong and reflected pressure from a minority of parents whose motives I have never understood."

The board vote was not a "split decision." The board voted NO on MI.
Over 1,000 people signed a petition against MI, not all of them parents. I signed it and I have no children.

The reasons for opposition to MI had nothing to do with the Mandarin language, nor with the effectiveness of immersion programs in general. The petition listed the following reasons to oppose:
1) It will only serve a small percentage of our student population and neglects those with special needs
2) It is not an equitable and responsible use of district resources
3) It is not part of the district's current Strategic Plan and it rated last in terms of priorities for elementary school education, as found in the Bregman Survey from Feb, 2006 (chart 7a)
4) $4 Million in budget cuts have not been restored, as promised in Measure A (refr. State of the District Report, dated 2/28/06, page 1)
5) If we have any foreign language instruction, all children should have access to it
6) It does not support the neighborhood school concept
7) It will cause more traffic congestion in our community
8) No further alternative/choice programs or charter schools should be considered by the Board until more specific criteria for such programs are established


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2007 at 11:40 pm

What an interesting thread. Many good comments.

Running a choice program adds complexity to the district and constrains available teaching space. So would a charter. The district and board seem to think that with a choice program, at least the program managers would work for them and have to do what they say; vs. a charter program that might stick up for itself and even sue if they had the bankroll and inclination. So both are not so great (if you think the education program in question is not that important); so you are trying to pick the lesser of two evils.

I think it may be time to fold on this one, take the compromise, and focus instead on how to improve our Board. The process on MI should be a wakeup call that leadership needs improvement.

My 2 cents worth...


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2007 at 12:43 am

Fred,
Well, I'm not going to bank on PACE choosing the high road against the district if it wants something, but a charter allows the district to rent space in the same county if space is not available locally. This opens the possibility of finding a nice space that could accommodate the entire envisioned program and serve as a regional language school. Even if the charter is through PAUSD, the other districts have to pay for the space for their students.

The choice program constrains the district in many ways which just aren't appropriate at the moment. A charter doesn't have to. I don't see where a suit would come from if we followed the rules. Let's face it, Los Altos stuck Bullis in some old moldy portables that were slated to be torn down. It was a show-down in the making. There is a longer history there that doesn't apply here.

A few months ago, PACE didn't fold when they were told no -- and unfortunately the problems won't go away if they get the program, the problems and the opposition will only continue because the plan is so half-baked and full of hidden costs. And there will be a huge amount of resentment in the district that will only get worse as we try to resolve our overcrowding issues with one more big constraint.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2007 at 7:27 am

Thank you PA Mom, you make good points. I agree there are costs, etc. to a choice plan, as well as a bad taste in mouths. I do think there are costs and trouble with a charter too, as well as ongoing resentment.

At least one point the Board is focusing on, I think, is that given that each route presents serious issues, with the charter program you have an adverse party scrapping for resources (with the option for suing you if they wish), while with a choice program you have complaining parents and may administrators. They always have the option of re-launching the charter of course.

I do think a charter would be reasonably disruptive and distracting - not a disaster, but far from ideal. A choice program is probably easier.

All the above said, we should not have this program at all (per BoE vote in January), and I hope we can focus on strengthening our leadership and community for the challenges ahead.

Fred


Posted by Optimist, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2007 at 8:25 am

Fred,

Good comments. Structural advantage of a charter over choice is that overall charter law may be slightly clearer about what the district owes a charter. As a district we should fund to the letter of the law and make a strong effort to find an appropriate facility.

More important: if we think PACE is litigious (no evidence for this today), then they'll be just as litigious around the ambiguous obligations of a choice strand as the clear obligations under charter law. Better to have a clear legal framework than a tangled web of unclear promises.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2007 at 11:22 am

Fred - extremely well said. Agree.

Optimist - lack of clarity around framing and goals is what got us here. Normally I would completely agree with any route which gave more black and white parameters to work within to prevent further misunderstandings. At first I thought as you do, throw down the gauntlet, and at least if the Charter comes, there would be clear laws to follow.

However, with Charter laws, though they ARE legal, they are legal in the MOST PERMISSIVE WAY POSSIBLE. That means that no matter what a Charter asks for, if it sues, it will usually win. And even if it loses, the district loses by paying all those legal fees. Great ability to extort. So, sticking to "the letter" of the law isn't good enough, because the letters are very fuzzy.

So, I am leaning toward "folding" as Fred said, and hoping that as this sort of thing becomes more common a backlash develops that will close these absurd loopholes, and go back to allowing excellent districts to run themselves in their own way.


Posted by Optimist, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Resident,

Are you assuming we actually oversee and regulate the charter?

Once the charter is granted our entire relationship can be funding (which is relatively clear under state law) and facilities (which is a bit murkier, but workable). I don't anticipate the district managing the charter's curriculum, or taking responsibility for the charter's outcomes.

My sense is we'll have to come to grips with charters soon, regardless of how the board pivots on MI. Looks like the discussion is winding down - and not sure anyone's mind has been changed.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Thanks you Optimist. That is an interesting point. I have seen Board members mention some issues that do require some interaction and coordination - monitoring laws & regs, some sharing of playing fields and other facilities. I am not certain how the relationship works, but it may be more than simply sending a check each month (so to speak). There are also issues around providing facilities (what is acceptable, etc.), handling of in and out of district students, etc.

I have no real experience with charters, but my sense is that if the parties are adverse, there are things they may find to quarrel about, and the quarrels will be a potentially divisive distraction. All that said, I do not see a charter as a disaster in this case, more of a undesirable nuisance.

BTW, I hope you are wrong about the future; while charters might be a partial solution for weak districts, I am not sure how effective they will be in stronger ones, if only that it creates pressure to accomodate committed special interests vs. focus on broader issues (as with the MI siutation).


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2007 at 8:34 am

No, the Charter laws are murkier than that. If they were clear, I would agree to just push the Charter forward.

Unfortunately, the Charters retain control, while the granting institution retains deep-pocket liability for Special Ed, failed students, disgruntled parents, any law suits that arise over racist admission policies or language standards, you name it..that great, vast murky miasma of legal liability.

If we have that risk, we may as well take responsibility for it and mitigate the risk the best we can.

If there were a clear wall, all risk is the Charter's, we just provide our fee-per-student, our annual oversight of assuring charter law is being met, and our legal share of facilities, it would be as you say.

The fear is that the reality of the infinite ability of our legal system to extort money from the innocent scares the )((**&&^ out of
our Districts.

We just need to tighten the laws, and fast, to make it harder for Pandora to keep leaking out of her box.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2007 at 11:31 am

Here's what's wrong with charters.

In Palo Alto, this community, tax payers, voters and property owners have defined and created a high quality school system that ensures equity in education across every school. AND it has also include more than ample choice options (see PIE benchmark study).

We've gone out of our way to create and support a system called PIE to ensure that all our schools have equal per pupil funding. The property values in Palo Alto are a direct result of the quality of PAUSD schools. People buy in to any neighborhood in Palo Alto knowing they will be in a quality neighborhood school, or that they will be overflowed to an equally high quality nearby neighborhood school. There is no 'crap shoot' when it comes to assurance that PAUSD residents will get access to high quality neighborhood schools.

Along comes charter laws which are intended to ensure that students in charter schools get equivalent resources to regular district kids. (Equivalent per pupil funding, equivalent facilities). Charters are supposed to be encouraged, by ensuring they will be on equal financial footing. Fine in theory, but in fact charter schools are given MORE FAVORABLE treatment than regular district kids. They actually get more, at the expense of our regular district schools.

How?

Because the charter laws say the charter has to be given contiguous space by the district. Today, we don't have continguous space available in PAUSD, unless we move kids out of one of our neighbhood schools to make way. So we actually have to damage the neighborhood school, to make way for a contiguous charter. This relegates regular district schools to lower priority, in favor of accomodations for a charter.

This is damaging not only to neighborhood schools, which this community has determined to be of high value and high priority, but it is damaging to property owners and tax payers. The charter laws destroys my neighborhood school (or your neighborhood school). My rights as a property owner are being violated by the charter laws. They have the ability to supercede the rights of our community schools against community will.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by nancy, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Marie wrote that Bullis Charter is divisive in Los Altos. It is true that it was vigorously attacked during its development. But guess what? It's now more popular than Hoover or Ohlone, I think. 1/3 of all LASD Kindergarteners for 2007-2008 also applied to BCS. It's only a 2-strand school, so hundreds of kids get turned away. (This also means that NO out-of-district kids can get into Kindergarten. There are a handful of out-of-district kids like mine, who squeaked in in prior years, thanks to the initial badmouthing by LASD.) So although it gets slammed by administrators, apparently it's valued by parents.

Remember, BCS is located in portables on a middle school campus, so it doesn't infiltrate a neighborhood elem. school (as the scores of overflow kids at Briones affect that neighborhood). BCS lost the legal battle over whether the portables are just as good as a real school. So PAUSD wouldn't have to pay for a legal battle. PAUSD is fortunate that the Ohlone principal said she has room for MI. It won't matter whether it's a "Choice" school or Charter.

Someone said that Grace and the other parents are making a school for themselves. If it's popular, then her kids will be in the lottery, same as everyone else's, whether it's a Charter or Choice school. And can we please stop calling Lottery Schools "Choice" Schools.

Regarding finances, BCS founders spent 100s of thousands just to start up the school, hire staff, pay staff to develop curricula, buy furniture, and lots of things I've forgotten. I don't see PAUSD acknowledging that there would be any startup costs for MI. Curious. Further, Dana Tom said that PAUSD spends approx. $12k per kid, but they would need to transfer only about $5.5k for each PAUSD kid who attends a Charter. But he said that PAUSD still wouldn't save any of the remaining $6.5k per kid because of "oversight costs." That is simply not believable. I must have misunderstood. But I'm pretty sure that BCS hasn't gotten a penny of LASD's parcel tax money, so PAUSD would at least profit by that savings, which is about $1800 per kid in LASD, probably similar in PAUSD.

Starting BCS took 100 passionate parents who devoted years and 100s of 1000s of dollars because they saw a critical need. I think that the Charter model is ideal for a group like Mah's who want to create an innovative school. I wonder whether Mah's group will be passionate enough to follow through, though, because MI seems more like a luxury than a critical need.

Nancy


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 22, 2007 at 11:00 pm

I also wonder if PACE has the necessary deep pockets. Given that there are private Mandarin immersion schools around here, the desire of PACE parents to not pay private-school tuition seems to be an issue. PACE seems to be small--smaller than the Bullis group who were, after all, a school community who'd lost their school.

And, again, it doesn't seem like there's a single educator among them.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 22, 2007 at 11:00 pm

I also wonder if PACE has the necessary deep pockets. Given that there are private Mandarin immersion schools around here, the desire of PACE parents to not pay private-school tuition seems to be an issue. PACE seems to be small--smaller than the Bullis group who were, after all, a school community who'd lost their school.

And, again, it doesn't seem like there's a single educator among them.


Posted by curious, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on May 27, 2007 at 8:49 am

Does anyone know what happens if MI is a county vs. local district charter? As I understand it, Bullis is a county-sponsored charter and a lot of the legal stuff happened because the Los Altos district was aggressive about opposing the charter.

Is it correct that PAUSD can approve or deny the MI charter application? What happens if PAUSD denies the MI application but doesn't actively or legally oppose it. MI can decide to send their application to the County BOE, which can decide to take responsibility for it. So, in that case, Would this free PAUSD to do what it does well and what it needs to focus on doing: educating lots of different kinds of kids from various background? As a county charter the MI experience and ideas can be used to the benefit of schools throughout Santa Clara County. How does a the cost to PAUSD differ if it's a county-sponsored charter vs. a district-sponsored charter?

It seems to me that PAUSD can deny the charter petition, and let the county take responsibility for it. PAUSD will still have to provide facilities, but the county will have to take some of the burden.


Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2007 at 9:43 am

Curious,

You can go to the town hall and ask your questions of what the district can and can't do, and what the differences are between a district authorized charter and a county authorized charter.

It promises to be a very informative meeting.


PAUSD TOWN HALL on MANDARIN IMMERSION

District personnel & other professionals will meet with the public to provide a summary of charter school laws, choice schools, and financing, and to receive input from the community.

Thu May 31, MP Room, Ohlone School, 7 p.m.

Location: 950 Amarillo Ave.


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