Charter school in Charlotte lets students down before it opens

What happens when a charter school fails students before the school opens? You wind up with a lot of upset parents and kids, especially when the school was intended to serve 9th and 10th graders. High school is tough enough without finding out six weeks before school begins that your plans have changed.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Carolina STEM Academy, one of 11 Charlotte-area charter schools that had been approved to open in August, notified families this week that there aren’t enough students to make that happen.

“Unfortunately, we are disappointed to share the news that, due to enrollment and continuing difficulties with closing (on the facility), Carolina STEM will be unable to open this year,” a letter from the board of directors said.

Charter schools have great potential, but the closing of Student First Academy with surrounding scandal, and the cancelled opening of Carolina STEM Academy highlight what can go wrong and give a glimpse into the potential uncertainty families face after they sign up to attend a school that does not exist or that lacks proper oversight.

School administrators also feel the bite of uncertainty when charter schools fail or experience delays in opening. Some schools will see a greater increase in enrollment than space and staff will be able to accommodate. Our already overworked and underpaid teachers will face greater challenges, but it is the students who will suffer the most.



The girls attended a charter school

that had a great education model/business plan. In its third year (fourth?) an administrator was charged with embezzling $137,000. The school survived that hit and is now completing permanent buildings.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

This is why I think it

This is why I think it problematic to have hundreds and hundreds of charters in a given area, or to turn every school into a charter. Some are 'steady' but many are not. And there is no guarantee that the stable school will not become unstable in the future.

A family moving into an area who are forced to choose between hundreds of schools for their children will be over-whelmed. Will they go for separate schools for each child, and how will they manage the transportation for that? Will they really have an option to put all their children into the same school? Will they have to choose their charter schools before they purchase a home, or wait till afterwards and simply hope for something close to home? What if the charter they choose is in Wake Forest but the place they work is in the soon-to-be Chatham Park? Corporations moving employees to a new area do not want them to have to deal with that.
Choice sometimes equals chaos.

Where is the resource that will allow parents to understand many, many different types of charter schools, or will they have to visit or research each one individually? The corporate offer of flying a couple to the new location for 3 days to choose a new home will have to be extended, at some cost to the corporation.

Privatizing all schools is just as problematic as dealing with the real issue in education, which is poverty, and making sure every child arrives at school ready to learn. The only difference really is dealing with what we have does not create profits for an out-of-state charter management company.


This is why we have a public education system (in fact, it's why we have many public service delivery systems).

And we need to strengthen that public school system, not chip away at it like Tillisberger, Tillman and Stam are doing. Charter schools aren't inherently bad, but the original cap on charters worked and made sense. Now it's a free-for-all, motivated more by money than by education.

The tea party loons intend to stomp all over public education, then claim that it's failed and use that as justification to turn education into a for-profit corporate system.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

I think charter school growth should be

seriously slowed to give new schools time to settle in and stabilize like Carolina International School did - even after the embezzlement. There were times it felt the school was flying by the seat of its pants, but we were there in the early days and it took a lot of parental involvement to keep the school afloat. It only went to 8th grade at the time and there were plans to extend a grade each year.

I don't think we want to get into a cycle where there are new schools announcing they are opening each year, with some having to pull back, some failing to open at the last minute after students are enrolled, and some failing mid school year. School systems cannot plan staff, attendance, and budgets around that level of uncertainty and all of that happened in Mecklenburg this year.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.