Maureen Downey, Get Schooled blog at the AJC, is directing the Druid Hills Charter Cluster version of dueling banjos today.
On Banjo #1, Jim Bostic and Brad Bryant write,
The charter cluster is not an attempt to secede from DeKalb Schools; instead, it puts the schoolhouse in the driver’s seat and arms it with resources while moving the central office appropriately to a support role.
Principals will be given the autonomy to hire and fire and determine resource use.
Teachers will be entrusted to undertake curriculum, instruction, assessment, and discipline decisions based on the specific needs of their students.
And both will receive pay raises for the first time in years (thanks to lower overhead costs).
You can read the entire pro charter story and comment on Maureen’s blog at DeKalb Schools: Two education leaders urge approval of Druid Hills charter cluster
On Banjo #2, College professor Cindy Lutenbacher writes,
At long last, I have been able to attain information about this conversion charter petition, and I am quite honestly appalled at its brazen attempt to create a privately-run school that is funded with taxpayer dollars.
You can read the entire condemnation of the charter petition and comment on Maureen’s blog at Druid Hills Charter Cluster: Dig deep and it’s a “sieve of loopholes” that will exclude and harm some kids.
Waivers are the very reason why you create a charter to start with – that is where the flexibility is gained. The piece of CL’s argument that drew great ire from me was when she began fear mongering with the special ed and behavioral “waivers”. Here is the reality – any school, charter or traditional may not be capable or staffed to serve each child’s unique needs. This is not a negative, this is a positive recognition. DeKalb (gulp, about to give a compliment) does have some strong Special Ed services – Coralwood as the best of those examples.
The DHCC has to explain what will happen in the event that they are unable to provide a student an education that they need and deserve. And as DHCC is STILL part of DeKalb, it makes complete sense that it has to indicate in their petition that when they do not have the staff or programs to service a student who may have extenuating and specific needs they will need to rely on DeKalb to help in that area. And by the way, that funding for that student will not stay in DHCC.
And let us touch for a moment on the diversity on their charter board. As an active volunteer, I can say that it is hard – HARD – to find VOLUNTEERS for things that require massive amounts of FREE time. That being said, often at neighborhood events for our children, we have as many retired folks working the volunteer tables as we do parents of the children (whom the event was planned for). So, do we throw our hands in the air and scream about this and call foul? Or do we embrace the fact that the group has worked very hard to create a petition with countless FREE hours of labor that will meet the needs of all of the students within their cluster.
Their mission and goals are admirable. And, in my humble opinion, anyone seeking to vilify them is one of the ones who is constantly getting in the way of meaningful reform and creating a system that individualizes an educational system meant to meet the student’s individual educational needs – so that each student can meet their highest potential.