Ken Larsen's website - Types of schools in the U.S.A.


There are several varieties of schools:


Type Funded by Features/characteristics Comments
Public school government

In North Carolina, the per-public-school-student funding was $ 6716 in 2008-09 and $ 6115 in 2017-18.  [details]
  • Special education
  • Regular testing
  • Transportation (school buses)
  • Civics education
NC Republicans are destroying public schools by bleeding money away from them into charter and private schools. 
Magnet school government

Example in Durham:  North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Regionalizes resources.

Suppose Raleigh wants to have a hopped up science program.  They can designate a school to be a magnet school, and kids would shuffle around in that district.  This would create more space for the regular schools.

Magnet schools have the same obligation to provide the same services as regular schools.  A magnet school is always a public school.

Examples of magnet schools are: 

Durham's Science and Math
Frank Porter Graham:  draws in students from all over the district by lottery to be in a Spanish immersion or Spanish dual language program.

The Mandarin program at Glenwood Elementary School can be consider a magnet program.

Magnet programs require more cost and effort than regular public schools.  This is because kids have to be bused in from all over the district.  It's also harder to find native Spanish speaking or native Mandarin speaking teachers than native English speaking teachers.
Charter school Subsidized partially by government.  In Durham the subsidy is $ 700/year per pupil.  That's considerably less than the per pupil funding for public school students.  [Ken:  This needs to be confirmed.]

Examples near Chapel Hill:

Village Charter School (K-4)
Willow Oak Montessori
Woods (K-12)
A charter school can be started by pretty much anybody so long as it meets a set of state requirements [that are laid out in the NC statutes].

Somebody starts a charter school because they think they can do a better job than the public schools.  [March 25, 2018:  I learn from Brian Crawford that Charter schools began around 2003 to serve as an "incubator" to try out new ideas to see if those new ideas can help students who weren't doing well in the main public schools ... like minority students.]

Charter schools are not subject to all the mandates and regulations that a public school is subject to.  For example, a charter school doesn't have to provide special education.  They don't have to provide transportation.  They don't have to provide food.  They can be a fairly bare bones operation.

National studies have shown that charter schools don't do any better than public schools.  Of the public schools that are struggling, they're in high poverty areas, and the children are living insecure lives at home, and they arrive at school not ready to do the work.  The U.S. tolerates the highest childhood poverty rate in the OECD.  Our children live in greater food and welfare insecurity.

Charter schools can pick whom they want to educate.  They cherry pick the best from the public schools, and the state is obliged to pass along the state money for those children.  Left behind are the most expensive to educate ... like the special needs children and those in dual language programs.  Those students require more resources.  Charter schools get the same amount of funding from the state per pupil - $ 6115.

Charter schools do not have to bus kids in.  That doesn't sound like racism, but it is, because without buses, only the wealthy/privileged are going to opt for charter schools.  If someone is working two or three jobs, they can't drop off and pick up their kid at the charter school, so they'll have to stay at the public school.  Ditto for public needs students because the charter schools won't let them in, because the charter school is not legally obliged to provide education for them.  Public schools are obliged to serve special needs children.

It is not a level playing field.  The field is heavily tilted in favor of charter schools.

Charter schools could provide transportation if they wanted to.  They could educate everyone, if they wanted to, but they are not required by state law to do so.  The state law should set a level playing field, but it currently does not, and that's the key concern.

Charter schools may be willing to provide transportation at additional cost, because they are not state mandated to provide free transportation. 

Charter schools can't kick out all the black students, because they are receiving state money that is partly funded by Federal money.  Race is one of the protected classes of Federal law.  You can just choose not to have a special ed program.  Charter schools have a lot of lattitude which programs they have and which they don't have.

The NC state legislature glosses over these huge differences.

[Ken:  On January 22, 2018 I saw a yellow school bus labeled "Woods Charter School".  It was near Ephesus Church in Chapel Hill.]
An indirect problem arising from charter schools is that they are bad for low income kids.  Their parents can't afford to drive their kids to school every day.  Because of this, charter schools are causing resegregation in a school district.  This is bad,

Charter schools bleed money away from public school budgets.  NC state has maintained recession levels of public school funding, and charter schools are bleeding money out of the system leaving the schools with fewer resources than ever.

The public schools are there.  They have fixed resources.  Charter schools cause them to lose part of their enrollments, but the buildings can't shrink to adjust to the lower enrollment.  The same building still has to be heated. The same fixed resources still have to be used.  So, we're causing a diminution in the efficiency of using capital resources that are expensive to maintain. As a whole the school systems are losing.

Republicans use charter schools as a backdoor method for imposing segregation. [details]  Bottom line:  Charter began as a noble experiment to help minority students, but the Republican Party has hijacked it to discriminate against minorities.
Private school No subsidy by government; however, North Carolina Republicans have passed a bill authorizing voucher payments to private schools. Private schools have to meet certain state requirements.  They have to be accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, and they are not mandated to provide special education.

Private schools do not receive tax dollars.  There is a voucher program that Republicans passed, but it's so small that it would not pay the tuition.  [Ken:  I suspect that Republicans started it off small simply to get their foot in the door.  Then, as the years go by, they'll do their best to steadily increase it.]
Vouchers for private schools should not be allowed.
home school No subsidy by government. Kids have to take standardized tests at certain levels and meet certain standards.

It's not well supervised.  Look at the recent incident in California.  A guy home schooled 13 kids.  He starved them.  They were malnourished. 


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