Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The latest from the Public School Lobby

Here is the latest from the Public School Lobby's campaign against charter schools. Parents' Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome sent out this epistle yesterday:

"Just a quick update...

House and Senate committees are working hard to meet tomorrow's deadline for passing out of committee the bills that originated within their own chambers. Any bills not passed out of committee by tomorrow will die on the calendar.

Therefore, the full House has not yet taken up HB 888, the House charter school bill.

We are getting lots of feedback that your calls, emails, and letters are having quite an impact. Constituents are speaking and legislators appear to be listening. There are indications that a majority of House members agree that the charter bill contains troubling language that could create more problems than it will solve. However, they are getting enormous pressure from lobbyists and others to push the bill through as it is written.

It is important that you stay in touch with your legislators. They need to know that they have their constituents' support to improve the House charter school bill with these amendments:

1. Restrict charters to chronically underperforming school zones - This amendment would focus charter schools where they are needed most and avoid creating more schools - more administrators, more buildings, more overhead - in places where we already have good public schools.
2. Prohibit virtual charter schools - Virtual charter schools are allowed in the House bill. Plenty of states that utilize charter schools do not allow virtual charter schools. The states that have allowed them have found that virtual charter organizations move student achievement backward while their executives pocket a fortune - in state tax dollars! Read about it here. We need to learn from the mistakes of others and prohibit these.
3. Identify a single authorizer - It is important that organizations with weak charter school applications not be able to "shop" for the most permissive authorizer. The research is clear that having a single authorizer that is well versed in public education standards and improvement initiatives is critical to engendering a successful charter school system.
4. Ensure that for-profit companies cannot run charter schools - Many businesses see this charter bill as an opportunity to "get a piece of the pie" and make a profit off of taxpayer dollars. We need to attract charter operators who are more concerned about educating children than they are about making a buck. New York had such a problem with this issue that they passed a bill to prohibit for-profit Education Management Organizations from running charter schools. We should include similar language in our law.

Mississippi children deserve good public schools. The charter school bill offers an opportunity to provide those who are trapped in underperforming schools with a better option - IF the charters are of high quality and IF they are focused where we need them.

We cannot afford a boondoggle that wastes taxpayer dollars putting questionable charter schools where we already have good public schools.

Please keep sending that message. We must be as persistent as those who are out to game the system so that they can make a profit off of state dollars. For them, lots of money is at stake. For us, our children's future is at stake.

Let's get this bill amended and create a strong charter school system that will improve student achievement. Our kids are counting on us!



Then the MEA is having its legislative scrambler tomorrow:

"MEC’s third Legislative Scrambler of the 2012 session is tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7, at the Mississippi Art Museum from 7:30-8:30 a.m...

The topic will be Education, featuring Senate Education Chair Gray Tollison and House Education Chair John Moore.

There is no cost to attend thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Mississippi Association of Educators.

Coffee will be ready by 7:15 a.m., the breakfast buffet opens at 7:30 and the program begins at 8. We will end no later than 8:30.

One other note, if you are attending the breakfast, a Jackson Police Department officer will be on site to assist with parking. For a map of parking go to www.mec.ms and click on the Scrambler story.

Hope to see you on Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

What's your problem with her letter? Seems like she has legitimate concerns to me.

Dorsey Carson said...

I do not see a single concern that she raises that should not also be a concern for all taxpayers. Why in the world would we take resources away from high performing public schools? Many schools are broken and need fixing. But for those that are not, as grandma says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Anonymous said...

One of the problems here is in what is defined as a 'good' school or district. Suggest you see past posts regarding numbers and the reality that a school could have a cruddy rating but still get away with a deceiving title.

"....We need to attract charter operators who are more concerned about educating children than they are about making a buck."

You mean something totally opposit to what we have now....where the upper level in the education system makes a very high percentage of the total budget while the teachers use outdated rooms and buy supplies using their own money and the kids get a list of stuff to bring to school and that list includes toilet paper?

Year after year, more money, more money, more money. Yet conditions suck, graduation rates suck, families trapped in the system have no relief, some teachers are buying basic supplies out of their own pocket, and instead of buying the old #2 pencil for school you now have to buy basic items like tp.

Something's wrong with the current system. Its not fixing itself. Either try and fix it or stand there and wonder why its still raining on you.

Anonymous said...

"There is no cost to attend thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Mississippi Association of Educators."

Bless their hearts, so glad they don't have any type of money issues. Let's alert the teachers!

dhnichols said...

This lady is a joke! I ran for the state senate last year. They sent out a questionaire, with a deadline to submit it back by. I submitted mine by the deadline. Others in the race did not untill after those who had done so be the deadline answers were posted on their website. She then allowed those late filings to be posted on the website.

The problem there is those filing late had a chance to look at the answers of those who had filed on time and make sure they had better answers.

I called her and asked how she could allow that to happen. Her response was the people had a right to know where canidates stood. I pointed out the fact that since they had answerd late their answers might not be how the other candidates actually felt. She siad she did not care. Here sense of fairness is warped.

Anonymous said...

There's good ol' Dorsey defending the status quo.

Hey Dorsey, don't play dumb. Home2012MS is your buddy Chism's and you know it. The dots have already been connected. The content is biased against Republicans and also those Democrats who are voting with Republicans.

Good to see that you came out of the Donkeycrat closet right before the caucuses. But tell us Dorsey how losing to Denny by 13 percentage points represents "a narrow loss".

Anonymous said...

Dave the Parents Campaign is a mo' money edu-front group for the Mississippi Democratic Party. Kingfish has thoroughly pulled back the curtain and exposed Loome and the group as partisans hacks. Read the JJ coverage if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

Dorsey Carson:
Why in the world would we take resources away from high performing public schools?
But for those that are not, as grandma says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

There were 28 "high performing" school districts (out of 152 total) in 2011. Forty-three percent (12 of 28) of those "high performing" districts had LOWER GRADUATION RATES in 2011 than they did in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Carson is suddenly concerned about taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

Crazy as a .......

Dorsey Carson said...

The whole focus should be on the final product--the child--not the district or even the school. I attended the MEC Legislative Scramble today and asked the two education chairmen--Sen. Tollison and Rep. Moore--whether there was any standard relating to the student's performance (in contrast to the district, or even the individual school's performance) to ensure that our underperforming students are served first by any new charter schools. I never received an answer to that question. After the meeting, I was told by others that there are not.

Anonymous said...

Your concern and example Carson (probably made unwittingly) to focus on the individual student and not the institution or administrative construct is one of the central arguments made by those who are pushing for vouchers. Do you support vouchers?

Here's another question. Do you support or oppose allowing current homeschoolers in Mississippi to attend charter schools?

Anonymous said...

Give Dorsey some credit for not punking out like that egomaniac crybaby Cecil Brown.

Dorsey Carson said...

Since I am not king for a day (or even a legislator for a day, as so gently reminded by 4:01 PM), it matter more what this charter bill does moreso than what my opinion is, but since you asked, I support public school choice, charter schools, vouchers, whatever, whether currently in public school, private school, or homes chool, for UNDERPERFORMING STUDENTS, and even for PERFORMING students attending schools that are failing. That is hardly the status quo position, 4:01 PM. I do not see where this particular bill, though, so restricts public funding for such underperformance. Rather, it appears to give every opportunity to skim off the top, taking resources from those areas that are actually working to provide to for-profit entities that will undoubtedly note their great success in high grades from already high performing students.

Anonymous said...

If the JJ community is anything it is gentle.

Kingfish said...

Dorsey, your concerns don't add up. Skimming? Seems to me there is some pretty good jack being made by those working at these NON-profits I keep posting. $120K for Nancy, nearly $200K for Rhea Bishop, do I need to keep going? Turns out there is a substantial public school lobby getting millions that are not school systems or teachers' groups.

Dorsey Carson said...

KF, I think we are looking at two different balls. Unless I am missing something, Loome, Bishop, etc. do not receive public funds, do they? I am sure there is plenty of room to report on people on both sides who have a vested interest in this charter bill, but don't we have enough to worry about with trying to figure out the best use of public funds? The concerns that I am discussing have to do with actually educating our children, and neither the pro-charter or anti-charter lobby actually take on that role.

Anonymous said...

What all the Crats including this loon Loome can't phathom is that we'd be awash with money if we cleaned out most all the upper offices. These people are not needed. 40 years ago we did not have all these people.The poor product of the schools is directly inverse to the numbers of not so smart people in these upper offices. And that is-most all of them. The iqs of these folks is not very high I feel sure or they would have majored in something else. Old saying- "If you can't do , teach" be interesting to know the actual growth of administrative employees over the years . Colleges do not have but a handful of such people. Educational administrators should look in a mirror and say we have found the enemy and it is us! But honestly can people with little logic ever see this?

Anonymous said...

Bishop gets way more than $200,000 in public money just from the Department Human Services alone - probably more like $2,000,000.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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