Wednesday, June 25, 2014

School Board meeting of 6/24/2014: The another-battle-over-charter-schools meeting.

The school board produces great agendas that contains all of the reports and handouts that are given to the school board members. To get your own copy of this 248-page agenda, follow this link.

In case you missed it, Nashville has now joined a program where all children will get free breakfast and free lunch. Of course we know there is "no such thing as a free lunch" but it will be free to the consumers of the lunch. Will Pinkston commends the administration for joining this program. One of the reasons for this change is to remove the stigma of those who accept free lunch.  In my view this is a mistake.  The stigma of accepting free lunch provides an incentive for people to earn enough money so they are no longer eligible for free lunch. It may encourage children to do better than their parents so their children do not feel the stigma of a free lunch. Stigma is not a bad thing. When we removed the stigma of having children out of wedlock, out of wedlock births soared.  If free lunch is a right rather than charity given to the disadvantaged, then people feel entitled to it.  Free lunch, free healthcare, free phones, make people feel entitled to the wealth of others and makes them ungrateful for the assistance they get. This is one more step along the path that is turning America into a European style welfare state where everyone is a ward of the State.

Charter School Motion discussion starts at time stamp 10:14.  Dr.Alan Coverstone , Executive Officer of the Office of Innovation, recommends two brand new charter schools for approval and one conversation charter and two high schools which are "pathways" from existing charter schools, meaning the new high schools are a continuation of a  K-8 charter for the students of the existing charter who enter grade 9. Three applicants are recommended to be denied. The recommendations are followed but the vote is close on some of them.

One of the criteria for approving new charter schools is that they relieve overcrowding. Another criteria is a conversion charter where a charter takes over a failing school. Mr. Coverstone makes the case that it is less costly to approve a new charter rather than build a new school in a high growth area. To see agenda information on the schools denied and approved go to page109 of the agenda.

Amy Frogge attacks the renewal of Rocketship's charter and her attack is refuted by Michael W. Hayes (see time stamp 50.05). Their charter is renewed with Frogge voting "no." I think Ms Frogge votes against all charter applications. There is "no" vote on almost all of the charter applications and I assume that "no" vote is from Frogge but it is not a recorded roll call vote and the video does not clearly show who the "no" vote came from but I am almost sure it was Frogge. 

There is an attempt on the part of Pinkston to amend the terms of the approval of a new charter school.  Valor Collegiate applies for a K-8 charter to start with grade 5 and then add lower grades. Next year they would add K and grade 1. Pinkston says this is a "Trojan horse" for a middle school. He wants them to start with grade K. This application is approved but just barely with four "no" votes. The "no's" are Speering, Pinkston, Frogge, and I could not determine the other person who voted "no."

The school calendar is approved. For parents wanted to view the calendar see page 7 of the agenda.

Below is more information from the school board. It seems that if a charter school cannot be defeated by a vote to deny them a charter, that some members of the school board want to bog them down with so much bureaucracy and regulations so they are no more efficient than a regular public schools. 

School board member: Charters must be more transparent
by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean, June 24, 2014 - Nashville charter schools would be required to document and publish their finances, funding sources and conflicts of interest more thoroughly under a policy overhaul floated by a Metro school board member. 
But the measure is already getting pushback from critics questioning the purpose behind the effort, arguing that it would establish a double standard apart from the district’s traditional public schools. (link)

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