Friday, August 31, 2012

PPSD & PTU Encourage Teachers (& Parent) to Pull the Trigger

As I've been saying for a while, charter school laws and politics here in the Biggest Little are... different.

Case in point, my wife brought home a District Charter Schools FAQ yesterday wherein the district and union are encouraging teachers in the district to consider launching the process to convert their plain old district school to a district charter. Without going into the details again (I have to get up at 6:30 AM now people!) a district charter is sort of between a site based district school and an independent charter. Most pointedly, teachers are still in the PPSD bargaining unit of the PTU. You need support from more than 50% of parents and two-thirds of the teachers in the school.

The most absurd thing about it is that schools have to indicate an "interest and intent to apply" by Friday. That is, today. Perhaps some faculties started talking about it this summer, but certainly all haven't, and it isn't the kind of decision one should make the first week back to school. This is typical manufactured crisis bullshit. Whether it is necessary to hit SIG timelines I don't know. As usual, RIDE seems to be ignoring their posted application deadlines. In this case they want the full application by October 1 for opening next fall.

Whether or not anyone will go for this I have no idea. There is some federal money on the table. The biggest change is probably that your admissions moves out of the district choice system to the per-school charter application process, which is definitely advantageous as long as you can find enough applicants.

On the other hand, RIDE is currently trying to close an existing PPSD district charter which outperforms almost all its district peers, so I would have to consider it extremely likely that the reward for going through this process will be revocation at the first opportunity by RIDE. I haven't thought through the East Side angles or if this process is under active consideration over there.

This would have made sense five years ago, to institutionalize successful reforms at Hope and Feinstein instead of ending them, but the timing is bad now. We're at a low ebb of capacity. SIG pressure does not actually lead to well planned decisions, and this one is probably a big set up for failure. I would note that the PPSD and PTU are being impressively creative in trying to cope with Obama and Duncan's educational hurricane simulation, but the whole situation is just irredeemably destructive.


Jill Davidson said...

First that I have heard of this. Would love to see a copy of this FAQ. Also - what would the East Side angles be?

Tom Hoffman said...

Well, the communities at Gregorian, MLK, Bishop or Hope might like more control over their own fates, or for that matter just might like saying they've got a charter.

I suspect that they would actually have less ability to favor neighborhood students, although I'm not sure, so that's probably the reason it won't happen.

keith said...

see the front page ProJo article today in print. Linda Borg reports on this. Nathan Bishop already seems to have indicated it wants to go charter, along with 8 other schools.