Provides flexibility when applying the school system procedures to the charter school, particularly those that could impede or alter a charter school’s ability to design and implement innovative practices in school operations, educational program and school governance and address those flexibilities in the performance contracting process;
it does just that. This is the same technique used in government legislating to phrase legal language so as to make it unenforceable. For example, everyone knows that Wall Street committed massive fraud yet we hear politicians and the Justice Department say they don't see laws broken. It is because the laws are written specifically to be vague and unenforceable. THAT IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THIS CHARTER SCHOOL AGREEMENT. WILL ANY OF THE VIOLATIONS OF LAW REGARDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS BE APPLICABLE TO THESE CHARTER SCHOOLS IF THE AGREEMENT FREES THEM FROM THOSE VERY LAWS?
My contention is that what the state of Maryland is calling 'public charters' are indeed private charters cloaked as public. If charters have agreements that allow them to circumvent what are the basic tenets of the definition of public, then these charter schools are not public. Sounds circular doesn't it? Complex financial instruments are very complex and they are written soas to disallow any accountability. It's the same thing on a local scale.
This is important because in Baltimore we will see: development corporations deciding where these charters will go.......what schools willl and won't be ordinary public schools, whether teachers unions will prevail, individual schools being financed by private sources under the guise of non-profits, and these private groups choosing curriculum. You can easily see how this is not a democratic public school policy......it is a corporate, private school policy.
Take a look at the Maryland Charter School Policy under Maryland Education and think about how giving each individual charter its own policy agreements and its own outside funding sources makes these charters private, not public. California teacher's unions and parents are powerfully fighting these public charters by demanding they stay small with strict oversight. That is why these California 'public' charters are expanding to less-politically active parts of the country for their expansion. Maryland Teacher's Unions and parents need to step-up now to demand containment of charters as part of the overall public education system.
Take a look below at the Governors announcement about education goals. One of the goals is shared by charter school advocates.....growing vocational schools, and yes, they are doing this most aggressively in underserved communities. This combined with selected philantrophy gives you cases where UnderArmour, a large Baltimore-based company funds a charter that will focus on skill development ..... a lifelong job training program. The governor laments the failure of the underserved to pursue these fields......well, Governor O'Malley....they pay poverty wages. No one aspirs to poverty! Vocational classes in high school has always been recognized as a valuable asset, but public school funding was rarely enough to fund these programs sufficiently to be advantageous. Do we need charter schools funded by corporations, or public education schools getting the tax base they need from corporations that pay taxes? WE WANT CORPORATIONS PAYING TAXES TO OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
I want to end today by saying....this isn't about race, it is about class. Whereas Baltimore has a higher percentage of underserved that are minority, overall, most underserved are white. As the middle-class disappears....that percentage remains strong. THIS IS EVERYONE'S CONCERN. IT IS NOT AN AGE, RACE, OR CREED ISSUE......IT IS A CLASS ISSUE THAT INVOLVES THE MIDDLE AS WELL AS THE LOWER CLASS!
Here is governor O'Malley,
There has been a lot of talk lately about our budget and the need for a special session. Yesterday, Governor O'Malley met with the Senate President and Speaker of the House and we're optimistic that we'll find the consensus needed to move forward and protect our shared priorities. And as we continue these conversations, I wanted to share an article that explains what we're focused on: investing in our greatest asset--the talents, skills and ingenuity of our people. Here's where the Governor was yesterday...
Governor welcomes new state schools chief
O'Malley tells board to focus on hiring good principals and improving vocational education
By Liz Bowie Gov. Martin O'Malley made a rare appearance at the state school board meeting Tuesday to welcome the new state school superintendent, Lillian M. Lowery, and encourage the members to work harder on preparing principals and providing vocational training to students.
The state board voted unanimously to hire Lowery, who is Delaware's secretary of education. She will begin July 1.
Lowery attended the board meeting, sitting next to the interim state school superintendent, Bernard Sadusky, but did not participate in the discussion, which centered on several key issues, including the adjustment to new set of high school exams in the coming years.
O'Malley asked the board to focus on developing a unified strategy for finding better-trained principals. "I don't think we do a very good job of recruitment," he said, adding that schools that improve student achievement always have good principals.
O'Malley, who last spoke at a school board meeting in 2009, listed several areas in which the state had made gains —by moving to new common national standards, better preparing kindergartners for school, and increasing the number of students focused on science, technology, engineering and math.
But in other areas, he said, the state needs improvement. O'Malley has long promoted career and technology education, what used to be known as vocational education, in schools. On Tuesday, he said he was disappointed that some statistics indicate a drop in CTE participation.
The number of students taking such a course in high school has gone up and down, but essentially remained flat, with about 43 percent of all students enrolled in a CTE course in a given year. However, the percent of high school students who completed a CTE program has dropped from 26 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2011, according to Maryland State Department of Education statistics.
"The place where it is the greatest need is the place where it seems to be offered the least ... Baltimore City," O'Malley said.
While he acknowledged that some educators see CTE as a "vestige of the past" because many African-American students were funneled into vocational courses years ago, he said some students are eager to work in those fields.
"There is dignity in all work, not just postgraduate work," he said. "We have a skill shortage more than a job shortage in our state."
In other business, the school board voted to continue the high school government exam that had been discontinued last year because of budget cuts. With the strong support of legislative leaders, the General Assembly passed a bill that will require the state board to put the test back in as a requirement of graduation.
The state board took the vote Tuesday, reinstating the requirement, but the logistics of getting the test materials updated will mean the new test can't take effect until 2013 for ninth- or 10th-graders taking the course. Some board members questioned the timing, saying it might be better to wait until after the board had adopted new social studies standards, but staff said the move was required by law.
Chief of Staff