Monday, April 13, 2009

They really believe they shouldn't have to compete

The Corbett School District is a little 700 student enclave in East County, wedged between much larger school districts such as Reynolds, David Douglass, and Sandy.

Corbett just happens to be doing quite well. They've developed some innovative programs over the years, and lots of people want to send their kids there - even if they don't live in the Corbett School District.

In Oregon, if you want to send you kid to a school in a district other than the one you live in, you have to go on bended knee to your local school district bureaucrat, who gets to decide on the educational future of your child. They can deny your request for any reason at all. If they say "yes," then the money that would otherwise be allocated to your resident district (about $6,000) goes instead to the district your want you kid to attend.

Corbett School District, according to a story in today's Oregonian, has about 100 students attending on this "inter-district transfer" arrangement.

But in today's difficult fiscal situation, many of the districts who have previously approved these students attending Corbett schools are now saying they will no longer do so. So the parents face the prospect of being forced to move their kids back to their resident school district schools (they do have the option of paying tuition to send their kids to Corbett.)

But Corbett School District pulled a fast one. It realized that if its schools were changed into charter schools, then their students could attend them without needing permission from their local bureaucrats. So that's what they did.

Which has their neighboring school districts pissed off. They don't want to have to compete - they want to be able to trap kids in their schools. And here is Corbett, using a legal loophole to allow them to continue attacting their students! Competing against them!

How unfair is that?

From the story:

"I don't think that was the intent of the charter district law, to circumvent the interdistrict transfer procedure," said Reynolds Superintendent Robert Fisher "I'm really puzzled by it."

Actually, Sup't Fisher, that is the PRECISE reason the charter school law was passed - to put some competition into the public school system. The problem for most school district administrators is that they don't want to compete, and deep down they know their schools CAN'T compete.

As the article pointed out, when the Oregon Trail (Sandy) School District decided last year to stop allowing inter-district transfers, the board chairman at the time said:

"We have a fiduciary duty here. If we let everyone go hither and yon, we're not going to have much of a school district left."

In other words, "So many people think our schools are inferior compared to neighboring schools, that if we allow them all to leave, we'd be out of business. So we HAVE to trap them. It's our duty to the people employed by our district."

This, at its core, is the bottom line argument against school choice of all forms. There's a huge debate right now about virtual charter schools. Those looking to limit the growth of virtuals, or kill them altogether, are essentially making the same argument:

"Please deny kids the education option of their choice, because our interests are threatened by the choices they would make."


Anonymous said...

You nailed it - that is exactly true. Many Superintendents around the state are making the same empty argument. It's much easier for them to wrap children in red tape than create appealing schools.

Then when budget issues come up, the hypocrites, they turn one of their standard schools into a charter school to snag the charter grant money (and retain all their expensive OEA employees...) and somebody's truly innovative charter is squeezed out. Worst case scenario for them, they convert back to a standard school in three years after they've burned through their grant dollars.

And this entire vicious scheme hides behind promises made to children. Shame on them!

Me said...

For a full demonstration of the disgusting oppostion to charter schools.
Education Revolt in Watts

Britt Storkson said...

Public schools today exist to benefit school teachers and administrators, not students.

This was clearly demonstrated to me when I was asked to volunteer to teach electronics at the local high school. The teacher who was assigned the class by his own admission didn't know a thing about electronics yet he was assigned to teach an electronics class.

This teacher should be applauded because most teachers would have baby-sit the kids for an hour, collected their paycheck and go home. This teacher actually cared that the students learned something useful.

School administrators are compelled only to give a teacher a gravy job. They are not compelled to educate anybody.

Is it any wonder that johnny can't read?

rickyragg said...

"We have a fiduciary duty here. If we let everyone go hither and yon, we're not going to have much of a school district left."

This just in...

You don't have much of a school district now. That's a direct result of making your top priority your employees - not the students.

MAX Redline said...

You nailed it. Excellent! I've done a brief post and a link back to this.