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Thread: Best high schools for 2018: most are charter schools

  1. #31
    Moderator HCProf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    They are similar to European schools where the child chooses at grade 9 or so which path they want to take, vocational, collegiate, arts, business etc. They have core subjects for a few hours a day but then spend the rest of the day doing what they love. We have one here that focuses on math and science. They take English, language etc for 3 hours in the morning and then spend the rest of the day on nothing but math and science.
    That sounds horrifying. LOL
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    I have a 4-year old who can't start kindergarten until September 2019, and he can already read at a 2nd-3rd grade level, knows how to text and type and can have conversations that way, knew his alphabet by age 2, basically just seems gifted. We're moving to a new place in a "good" school zone in significant part due to wanting him to have better opportunities than where we've been living. We could afford to buy our way into a good school zone. We're not clamoring for him to go to the very best school in the country, just something that offers enough to keep him challenged and actively learning rather than waiting for his slower classmates to catch up to him.

    I want my kids to have "the best" that they can have relative to their personalities and needs and abilities. I'm not convinced that whatever school ranks the absolute best is necessarily "best" for my kids. I want them to have abundant opportunities, enjoy their childhoods, and friends who excel and are well-rounded. There are a lot of "good" schools that don't show up on any of these rankings that I think could offer that to them. I find the parental fixation on super-high pressure to be the absolute-best and hyper-competitive and involved in absolutely everything to be very unappealing.
    Last edited by Neomalthusian; 9th May 2018 at 06:02 PM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    They are similar to European schools where the child chooses at grade 9 or so which path they want to take, vocational, collegiate, arts, business etc. They have core subjects for a few hours a day but then spend the rest of the day doing what they love. We have one here that focuses on math and science. They take English, language etc for 3 hours in the morning and then spend the rest of the day on nothing but math and science.
    But how long is the rest of the day? In France you're lucky if your high school day ends at 4 pm, as it's usually 5 and sometimes 6. When in the US, school always ended at 3 PM, then off to whatever hobby you had. For me it was couch tending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HCProf View Post
    Most of the charter schools around here are for children with behavioral problems. My husband work on a chain of them as a IT contractor installing networks or something, and he was gobsmacked by the behavior of those kids. One school was scary, the school purchased 200 Chrome books for the students use and at the end of a month, only 60 were still intact and not destroyed. He saw kids hurl them into the wall. Each teacher has a "goon" lurking in the background in case one of them goes off. I was offered a job for a charter school that had multiple locations as a traveling school nurse and turned it down. I did not want to give meds all day to children. Most were psych and seizure meds. I could never teach in a charter school for behavioral issues.
    Interesting. Federal law requires school districts to offer students the "least restrictive environment," which basically means the most "normal" school experience they can handle. A charter that caters to such students sounds like a means by which public schools shunt problem kids away from typical classrooms. As with mental institutions, I suspect an environment made up entirely of kids with emotional/behavior problems will tend to lead to worse behavioral problems for all of them. I wonder if the districts involved have really made a good faith effort to make modifications that would allow some of those kids to be in a less restrictive environment.

    How does such a school organized? Students with IEPs sometimes bring in more money to the district, but they are also more expensive to serve. How does such a charter get paid? (The whole thing makes me think of private prisons and the issues associated with them).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paris View Post
    But how long is the rest of the day? In France you're lucky if your high school day ends at 4 pm, as it's usually 5 and sometimes 6. When in the US, school always ended at 3 PM, then off to whatever hobby you had. For me it was couch tending.
    When do French secondary schools start their day? Ours start unnaturally early/.

    It's true that American kids spend less time in school that most others. Our school year is 180 days. In Japan I think it's 220.

    To be fair, most schools are used after regular hours for various activities--sports, clubs, drama, etc. And kids also get homework, at least if they are college-bound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    When do French secondary schools start their day? Ours start unnaturally early/.

    It's true that American kids spend less time in school that most others. Our school year is 180 days. In Japan I think it's 220.

    To be fair, most schools are used after regular hours for various activities--sports, clubs, drama, etc. And kids also get homework, at least if they are college-bound.
    It depends on the schedule. Sometimes 8, or 9. Kids also get homework here. And they usually have to carry all their school books in backpacks, which is a bit of a hassle.

    But as I remember we had more and longer vacations. And yes most extra curricula activities were not on the school premises and had to be paid for.

    I must say I've preferred being a high schooler in the US as I had more leisure time.
    Last edited by Paris; 9th May 2018 at 07:10 PM.

  7. #37
    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Seems to be a trend. Even here in New England, most of the top schools were all charters.

    https://www.usnews.com/education/bes...ional-rankings
    That's odd. Just the reverse in my state of Indiana.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Interesting. Federal law requires school districts to offer students the "least restrictive environment," which basically means the most "normal" school experience they can handle. A charter that caters to such students sounds like a means by which public schools shunt problem kids away from typical classrooms. As with mental institutions, I suspect an environment made up entirely of kids with emotional/behavior problems will tend to lead to worse behavioral problems for all of them. I wonder if the districts involved have really made a good faith effort to make modifications that would allow some of those kids to be in a less restrictive environment.

    How does such a school organized? Students with IEPs sometimes bring in more money to the district, but they are also more expensive to serve. How does such a charter get paid? (The whole thing makes me think of private prisons and the issues associated with them).
    My HS does not tolerate violent behavior issues either. Since we are votech, we can send them back to their home schools. IMO, you can't have severe behavioral problems in a class with students who do not have these issues. Considering the amount of class room management needed, is not fair to the other students. The last one I taught, we called her the "Fuck you" girl because every time you asked her a question or told her to do something, she would tell us to fuck off. LOL I was not sure what was wrong with her, maybe Tourettes. I am not privy to their records. Her case worker did meet with us to teach us how to deal with her. She lasted until Christmas because she was so disruptive, parents were complaining. One of my best friends son was placed in a Charter for behavioral problems after he was expelled from a public. He cracked a clay flower pot over a teachers head when he was in 3rd grade. He actually injured the teacher. IEP's can drain resources and the schools do not benefit. If a student has a learning disability and has a IEP in language arts or math, that is easily accommodated. Behavioral issues are a different matter.

    From what I could gather from my interviewing process with a Charter, parents can use vouchers cover the cost. The funding per student is shifted to the school they attend. The security guards inside the classroom unnerved me a bit, but they are there to protect the students and the teacher.

    Another example, my husband saw a kid go off so bad, he was kicking the glass door repeatedly. Since you can't restrain them physically, you have to allow them to kick and carry on until their parent shows up. This kid kicked for a half an hour before his Mom showed up. A teacher can't take that much time to manage the situation when other students are waiting and watching...so that is why security guards are present.

    Another reason a parent may send a child to a charter school, according to my college Moms, some schools are not safe. The City of Cleveland public schools are awful and dangerous. Charter vouchers give a better option. They would rather see their children in a secure environment with small class sizes, than having their kids attend school with gang members such as the Heartless Felons. (gang that recruits school age kids)

    What do you mean by "less restrictive environment"? Allow the students to run amok?

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCProf View Post
    My HS does not tolerate violent behavior issues either. Since we are votech, we can send them back to their home schools. IMO, you can't have severe behavioral problems in a class with students who do not have these issues. Considering the amount of class room management needed, is not fair to the other students. The last one I taught, we called her the "Fuck you" girl because every time you asked her a question or told her to do something, she would tell us to fuck off. LOL I was not sure what was wrong with her, maybe Tourettes.
    I had a kid like that--in one of the best classes I ever taught. He said maybe 50 words to me all year and half of them were "fuck." Big gashes on his face. Never smiled. But as long as he didn't disrupt what everyone else was doing, he wasn't a problem.
    I am not privy to their records. Her case worker did meet with us to teach us how to deal with her. She lasted until Christmas because she was so disruptive, parents were complaining. One of my best friends son was placed in a Charter for behavioral problems after he was expelled from a public. He cracked a clay flower pot over a teachers head when he was in 3rd grade. He actually injured the teacher. IEP's can drain resources and the schools do not benefit.
    I have three kids. All have IEPs. Schools don't exist for the benefit of schools--they serve students. And they have to serve anyone.
    If a student has a learning disability and has a IEP in language arts or math, that is easily accommodated. Behavioral issues are a different matter.
    Yes, and I'm sure some can't be accommodated in regular classrooms, but students have a RIGHT to the least restrictive environment they can handle.

    From what I could gather from my interviewing process with a Charter, parents can use vouchers cover the cost. The funding per student is shifted to the school they attend. The security guards inside the classroom unnerved me a bit, but they are there to protect the students and the teacher.

    Another example, my husband saw a kid go off so bad, he was kicking the glass door repeatedly. Since you can't restrain them physically, you have to allow them to kick and carry on until their parent shows up. This kid kicked for a half an hour before his Mom showed up. A teacher can't take that much time to manage the situation when other students are waiting and watching...so that is why security guards are present.
    Security personnel are usually able to intervene physically in ways teachers aren't allowed to.

    Another reason a parent may send a child to a charter school, according to my college Moms, some schools are not safe. The City of Cleveland public schools are awful and dangerous. Charter vouchers give a better option. They would rather see their children in a secure environment with small class sizes, than having their kids attend school with gang members such as the Heartless Felons. (gang that recruits school age kids)
    That argues for making schools safer, not creating alternatives so all the organized families disappear from other schools.

    What do you mean by "less restrictive environment"? Allow the students to run amok?
    I don't think so. I think I defined "least restrictive environment" before, but here's another try. Least restrictive environment is the environment most like what typical kids get. If a student can handle being in a regular classroom with an aid, that's what they should get. Below that is a special day class for kids with IEPs but in the same building, with some classes possibly being regular education with an aid. Below that is a program in another building, but leading to some sort of useful skill. Below that would be teaching life skills and independent living. Below that...well, that's some sort of hospital I suppose. Schools are required to provide FAPE--Free, Appropriate Public Education. "Appropriate" is the least restrictive environment that can be accommodated. It's a team decision including the parents and the educational professionals on the IEP team.

    Remember that parents suffer with these problems too. That mother had to come down to the school to attend to her unruly kid. How often can a parent do that before they are ready for something different?

    All I'm saying is that schools have to engage in best practices with every student to improve that student's behavior and learning. If those practices don't work, I can see moving them to another building, but I'd insist that they try everything first.
    Thanks from HCProf

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