Public Administration Paper

Question

Please read the instruction.

Instructions for Products

  1.  Opinion Paper (500-600 words)
  • Charter School Problems Memo (4 pages)

From you (as staff) to specific official (of your choosing, e.g., governor, school board chair, legislator, etc.) proposing a specific policy for a specific jurisdiction.

Note: The charter school district in this memo is the New York City. You may write about the caps of charter schools issue, funding issue, financing issue, or facility issue.

General Outline

Para 1 – attention-getter (why timely)

                     Main point!

Para 2 – Background of Problem

Relevant facts/ figures

            Para 3 – Solution

           Likelihood of success

                            Experience elsewhere or in past

            Para 4 – Steps/ phases

            Para 5 – Possible problems (e.g., political, implementation, etc) and ways to ameliorate

    You can add appendices, if you think relevant/ useful.

Answer

Charter School Issues

Opinion Paper

According to an analysis of federal data on education, black students are about four times more likely to be suspended from various charter schools than white students. This research also indicates that disabled students are three times more likely to face suspension from charter schools than their non-disabled counterparts.

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This discrimination against minority groups in charter schools, a phenomenon which is rampant in traditional public schools is even more pronounced in charter schools. The school data was retrieved from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and was collected at the University of California in Los Angeles by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies (Motoko 2016).

Charter schools across high, middle, and elementary school levels demonstrate a high levels of suspension owing to their strict and controversially opposed behavior outlines. These schools, which are dominantly privately managed and publicly funded exhibit codes of conduct that border between effective and harsh.

The data, though an average representation of majority of the charter schools, is not an accurate record of all the charter schools as emphasized by the director of the Center. A substantial number of these schools have recorded extremely high numbers of general student suspensions and even more particularly for black and disabled students. In addition to the alarming suspension rates, there is also a challenge in terms of low acceptance and enrollment rate of students with disabilities (Motoko, 2016). This phenomenon has locked out many potential students on basis of their disabilities while the continuing suspensions further this population by promoting truancy and dropouts.

The charter schools have been identified as majorly relying on punishment methods of disciplinary for small and more serious issues alike. These methods had been criticized as counterproductive and a means of sieving out the minority groups who are stereotyped by this charter system as highly in-disciplined. Critics have rightly advocated for alternative methods that involve solving minor conflicts following proper communication and expression as opposed to immediate suspension.

The general administration and teachers should equally be criticized as being facilitators to this discrimination. However, charter school proponents and critics should reflect on the possibility that such may be a negative representation of charter schools because it is a direct comparison to traditional public schools. In addition, they suggest that parents always have the freedom of choice or the kind of environment they choose for their children. For this reason, they opt for or against charter schools with full knowledge of the different disciplinary standards that are specific to these schools.

The Special education and rehabilitative sector in the Education Department expressed intention to collaborate with charter schools in the creation of more school community units and leadership that re-modeled discipline in schools in a way that promoted both discipline and school continuity without one being at the expense of the other (Motoko 2016). Such alternative punitive methods suggested include detentions during weekends and after school hours and community service. These are extreme measures that impact negatively on student performance.

Finally, school administrative committees have showed consideration for changing some rules such as use of cell phones for research in class subject to particular regulations. This ongoing struggle in charter schools has hindered an establishment of a definite identity. However, one gets the sense that this system aims to promote education and discipline equally using different characteristics. They are also taking into consideration other successful systems in their modification. The best way to go about this undertaking is to tone down on harsh regulations that lead to counterproductive outcomes such as increased truancy and discrimination.

Charter School Problems Memo

MEMO

TO: GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK

FROM: STAFF

SUBJECT: PROPOSAL FOR CHARTER SCHOOL FINANCING AND FUNDING     POLICIES

DATE: 2 May 2016

Charter schools receive public funding similar to traditional public schools with the difference being their control over budgets, curriculum and other operational procedures. Thus freedom is however tied to expected academic results that create more demand for their existence. This educational and disciplinary requirement is necessary for continued funding, support and permission to remain open. Charter schools are fully enabled by state regulations and therefore highly legislated by state laws. This explains why Charter school operations are very specific in different states.

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The first charter school law passed in 1991 led to the adoption of the charter school system in more states with an increasing enrollment of 10% annually (Schneider & Buckley, 2009). The main issue with charter funding has been that these schools receive less funding per pupil compared to traditional public schools. The funding options for charter schools assist with areas such as new construction and development projects, servicing existing debts, future development and further capital for land, facility, furniture acquisition.

To understand the issue on charter financing, it is important to analyze the external finance options available to charter schools. These options include: New Markets Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, Tax-exempt bonds, and Qualified Zone Academy.

Tax-exempt bonds are a form of permanent financing that has an amortization period of 30-40 years. These are made available by money managers, mutual funds and insurance companies. They have fixed rates of inert from the term of the financing with lower tax-exempt rates. They are mostly used for construction projects, equipment sourcing, land acquisition and modifications. New Markets Tax Credits include the buyer getting a return for claiming the tax credits. Up to quarter of the original debt may be written off after the end o the tax-compliance period. These funds are also utilized in construction, land acquisition, equipment and improvements.

The Qualified Zoe Academy Bonds are complex and have certain qualifications for a school to qualify. The school must be in an Empowerment Zone with at least 35% of its students eligible for free lunch. The school must have a 10% private contribution and bonds must be issued by the state government within the school’s location jurisdiction. Similarly, the buyer o the bond receives a return from claiming the tax credits. The maximum term of the loan is determined by the Treasury Department and held when the financing is completed. This funding is used for equipment, curriculum development, construction and expansions, repairs of facilities and training present and extra school personnel or teachers.

The biggest challenge on charter school funding is an underlying issue that cannot be tackled at face value. For many opposing extra charter funding, their argument is focused on the issue of the ineffectiveness of charter schools. Many state governments are experiencing tight budgeting procedure owing to the struggling economy. With the education sector being one of the national and state priorities, an extra level of competition for financing within the education budget created more controversy. This has led to a state of competition between the charter schools and traditional schools in terms of funding, discipline and academic performance.

 Some of the challenges that hinder effective funding for charter schools include: charter schools demonstrate high levels of segregation and discrimination based on race, social class and disability. Charter schools are also known to be at the fore-front of cyber-based education with high online classed enrollment. These schools have thus spent large amounts of the funds provided to them on establishing an online education system. Unfortunately, this cyber mode of education has been analyzed and concluded to be of no progressive benefit to students. Contrary to common expectation, online enrollment especially at middle and high school level has led to a decline in education and performance levels. This feature of charter schools has promoted inconsistency, truancy negligence of assignments. For this reason, financiers have become reluctant to providing funds that go into this advancement.

Teacher and student churning is another developing problem that created limitations for their funding. The definite codes of conduct and ever developing conflict between the students and teachers have created a situation of churning. This means that teachers and students are often going round between the charter schools and traditional public schools in search of a comfortable environment or following an inability to fit in to a particular system. Charter schools therefore lose a lot of resources in training teachers who soon leave a particular school either for another charter school or a public school.

Finally, the growing comparison between charter schools and public schools has taken a toll on the funding distribution. The open difference on the amount provided to public and charter schools has proved to be a growing controversial issue in the education sector. Charter schools are demanding for more funding for their model which was originally advertized as revolutionary. However, the opponents of more charter school funding continue to rightly state that the model is still at a very experimental stage and even the best performing charter schools have still not out-performed public schools.

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The solution to Charter funding problems can be modeled on two levels (Brouilette, 2002). The first step is to remodel the charter system and develop it from an experimental to a more profound identity and education establishment. Only through proper validation of actual positive results will the system gain more position. At the same time, the challenge on funding and financing also has to be addressed to enable continuity and modification to perfect the system. Government allocation of funds has to be equalized and external sources of additional financing also have to be made more available to charter schools.

Charter schools should collectively work towards proper legislation on a national and state level as the first step. These schools continue to suffer because public schools hold more legal support traditionally. Charter schools now need to invest resources into legislation in order to begin receiving equal funding as the traditional schools (Schneider & Corwin 2005). External sources of funding which are also to some extent controlled by the state government should be frees from political and legal bureaucracies and allowed to provide maximum support to these institutions.

Undeniably, charter schools will continue to experience extreme difficulties owing to the high expectations they operate on. An inability to attain these pre-determined goals should also provide knowledge to these institutions of some limiting practices and methods of operation. It is very difficult to balance academic and disciplinary excellence when it is put as a pre-requisite to continued freedom and financial support.  For all stakeholders, priority should be the quality education of all students regardless of race, gender, disability or any other differentiating factor.

References

Brouillette, L. (2002). Charter Schools; Lesons in school reform. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Motoko, R. (2016). Charter schools suspend black and sisbled sudents more, study says. The New York Times.

Schneider, J. & Buckley, H. (2009). Charter Schools: Hope or hype. Princeton, NJ: Princeon University Press.

Schneider, R. & Corwin, B. (2005). The School choice hoax: Fixing America’s Schools. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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