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tv   Washington Journal Ashley Li Betti Mitchel Discusses Charter Schools and...  CSPAN  March 18, 2017 9:00am-9:35am EDT

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they make up? -- may go? i think it is a mistake if anybody goes into the hearing the hearing is the tip of the iceberg. it is the thousands of pages we go through before the hearing. that is the icebreaker. >> do you coordinate with other senators? >> i talked to other senators about what they think and i whod a number of senators are not on the judiciary committee will come up to me and say, are you going to ask this or that? they have an interest in it. to talk is impossible to all of the republicans and democrats. there have been a number of
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meetings discussing the very questions -- the various questions. >> washington journal continues. host: we are now joined b ashley mitch a contributor for education next as well as a senior analyst at bellwether education partners and she is here as part of our spotlight on magazine series to talk about pre-k charter schools. ashley, good morning. guest: thank you. host: we have not heard much about pre-k charter schools. tell us about that. guest: sure. --t is what really prompted charter schools and early education are two powerful reforms and powerful education efforts that have existed in completely separate silos. what we wanted to do was look into the schools that are doing
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this work. it also builds on a national survey that we did in 2015 looking at state policies for charlie -- charter schools and pre-k. host: over-the-top things you look that when looking at the state of pre-k charter schools? guest: yes. the top level finding here is that our state policy inadvertently creates barriers to charter school serving preschoolers, but there is a lot of interest and many travelers schools -- and many charter schools are doing it anyway. the other thing we found for this article is that several of these programs were developed by teachers or parents or administrators who saw a need
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for either a charter school to build on a pre-k programs or a preschool program within an existing charter school. and overcame these massive barriers in order to make it happen for their children. host: let's take a look at some of the statistics from this article. have chartert schools and the united states rve more than 2.6 million students. of all students attending public schools and 1.4 million four-year-old are enrolled in a state-funded pre-k. this is all according to your article in "education next." what are the benefits of sending a child to a pre-k charter school as opposed to the more traditional pre-k program? guest: so, there are several benefits. the first is in the early childhood world, there is already a variety of options. providers,eligious
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public pre-k, private providers, and so one of the benefits is it is another option for parents. that it allows charter schools to provide a level of continuity and the children they have. so we know the research on brain that thent showing better a child's experience earlier in their life, the better their outcomes are later in life. there is an argument for charter schools to want to be able to help in that area. charter schools have a unique opportunity and that they had additional autonomy and accountability in wa that traditional early childhood providers don't necessarily. we could see a really great innovations. host: we are talking with ashley
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mitchel, a conservative to and a seniorxt," analyst at the beltway education partners and she is a co-author of a feature that it is -- of a feature called the charter model. democrats can call 202-748-8000. .epublicans 202-748-8001 and independence -- and independents 202-748-8002. are there different barriers to opposedarter schools as -- compared to other grades? guest guest: absolutely. there are the easy fixes in the much more difficult fixes. the easy fix is some state policies really inadvertently or unintentionally create barriers. in arizona, the charter charterion says that
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schools may serve kindergarten through grade 12. so the state has interpreted that to mean that charter schools are prohibited from directly serving preschool students. in my mind, that was not intentional. it is not like they created the legislation in order to prevent this from happening, but in interpretation, that is what has happened. a quick fix there would be revised in the legislation or issuing guidance that explicitly says that charter schools conserve preschoolers. it.rizona, they have done in many other states, that is the case. they have created workarounds. in terms of the barriers that exist for an easy fix, that is one of them. the harder fix is funding. charter schools receive on average, less than traditional schools per student. on top of that, early childhood education in most states
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receives verlile funding per pupil. if you put those two things together, you create a massive disincentive. host: charles is calling from white plains, maryland on our democratic line. good morning, charles. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. questions i36 and want to asked -- just two or three questions i want to ask about the private charter schools. number one, do you have open enrollment for everybody? number two, the number one thater school in the past is in the catholic schools in the religious schools, which have provided funding for their own educational process, and not drained the public coffers from the public schools. why is it it that the proposal
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-- why isn't it that the proponents of the private pre-k or charter schools are willing to fund and education if it is the paradigm? three would the in terms of the people who run these charter school programs who had been sort of draining the troughs by taking enormous salaries such as the lady i watched nbc and new york and so forth, that the lady i watched in d.c. and new york and so forth, meaning the are doing it for their own private games and contracting out services that takes away from the public educational process. those are some of the questions i have. such a great program, why are the people who have money, private people, who have money, putting up their money and stepping up to the plate to
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find these programs without draining the public coffers? host: ok. that is a lot to get through. let's get ashley mitchel chance to address them. guest: thank you, charles. there are a few questions here and they are very good and valid questions. the first one about open enrollment. policy, aon state charter school will look different, but the vast majority if they are a public charter school, they are required to have open enrollment. so, students who apply will get in either automatically, or buy a lottery. there are some charter schools that have neighborhood preferences, so there is a really great pre-k charter in st. louis. they enroll children who are within the surrounding areas.
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so open enrollment is a required part of this the other thing you brought up is the concept of the scandals or the concern about nefarious action among charter school operators. often, that is what gets media attention, but that is not the case with the majority charter schools -- majority of charter schools. to the a disservice very, very great work that a lot of charter schools are doing and the programs we looked at in new york and california and d.c. and in oklahoma that are doing wonderful work. it is hard for them to do that work while living down this negative narrative. and so i would say this is a valid concern and something that of the accountability can work
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to mitigate. there are way more bright spots within these negative stories. host: in your piece that you co-author, you talked about autonomy or lack thereof when it comes to the system. i will reconnect serve from the piece at says -- the founders of the charter movement envisioned that increased autonomy would remove the ceili for hig achievers. unfortunately, pre-k standards are often designed to enter the providers meet a minimum floor quality, not to encourage them to pursue ever higher levels of excellence. moreover, in most states, a charter pre-k program is not considered an official part of the larger school by separate program. the autonomies granted to their preschool classrooms. can you talk more about this? guest: this is one of the
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reasons why the charter pre-k synergy that could exist has not so far. when you think about the charter school bargain, it really was exchanging enhanced accountability for autonomy. and when you think about the way that we traditionally managed quality standards for early childhood, it is to ensure a minimum level of quality. so, when you put a charter school and to the environment or the landscape or the context of early childhood, it is a completely different set of requirements. so, for example, in new york, there is a -- when they do quality monitoring of early childhood programs, the children's jackets cannot be touching in a cubbie area. they have to have 35 square feet in a certain number of blocks.
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these are things that are very prescriptive and of questionable relations to program quality. we have loosened the rains and try to see what charters will do of their own collision. when you try to combine these twoegie str, it beces complicated. host: denise is calling from brookfield, massachusetts on a independent line. you are on with ashley mitchel. caller: hi, ashley. good morning, everyone. i just have a quick question. how much does it cost to run these charter schools? quitesachusetts, we have a few of them, but across the board, the average cost of running a charter school? that is the question that i have. and i just want to say that in my opinion, i feel that they are not worth it. it is doing a disservice to the public schools.
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these the towns in which children go to these charter schools -- why can't the money right just be funneled back into the public school in order to make a better public school in every town? me thatry similar to school choice where you can live in one town and send your child to another school in another town. that does not make your child a better student per se. mbs down thedu schools. you have taken a smarter child out of one school and putting a child in a better school and you are still living in the dumb down part of town. why charter schools? why can't that money be funneled right back into the public school in your town? inevitably, you wod end up wi a better public school. host: let's let ashley mitchel
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address that. guest: thank you for the question. it is a very valid one. in our study, we did not look at the cost of providing these programs and parts because that will very. the idea behind charter schools is that they receive public funding to provide this education. they may supplement in other ways, but it is public funding, often less than what traditional public schools receive. in terms of your second comment. the issue here is that -- so i agree. i think there are ways in which we should put even more funding and traditional public schools. there is the current situation in which children are
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locked into their public school that they are forced into, and rolled -- enrolled in their neighborhood, and they have no other choices. move to ants cannot better public school district and they cannot enroll them into a private school. and for those children, they need public school choices right now. there ishink absolutely a need for additional funding to the public school system, there is no way around the fact that these children now, before we can get the political will and get the money, these children need an option right now. in my mind, there is no excuse for forcing children into a bad education on principle. host: in the article that you cowrote, you focus on california
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and new york and d.c. why the focus on those states, and which do you seamong those states having the most success with charter pre-k? guest: it is interesting because we focus --we focused on new york, california, and d.c., but of those, d.c. is the best example of charter pre-k. new york and california just had really great schools he wanted to visit. but d.c. is a wonderful example because it is a very, very conducive environment for charter schools to serve preschoolers. programs intary d.c., a charter school in d.c. offers preschool. d.c. also provides public funding for three and four-year-olds. at great levels compared to the rest of the country. schools, it charter does not have the barriers that we talked about previously.
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the public charter school board which sarah is on the board of, they have a special -- they are the other rights of charter schools in d.c. and they have a special management framework that they use to assess the quality of charter pre-k programs, which is one of the biggest barriers at this point for charter pre-k. the authors do not know what to do with them are known not to make sure they are good. so, d.c. is a really great example and i would highly encourage people to check them out. host: we are talking to ashley mitchel. she is a contributor to "education next," and a senior analyst at bellwether education partners about pre-kharter schools. demoats can call 202-748-8000. .epublicans, 202-748-8001 an independent, 202-748-8002.
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we have mary calling from pennsylvania. good morning, mary. mary, are you there? i think we lost mary. ashley, can you talk a little bit more. we hit on the issue of funding a little bit with a caller. can you talk a little bit more about some of the complications when it comes to funding charter pre-k? and do those complications very from state to state? from: the absolutely vary state to state. the study we did in 20 15, this was one of the key questions that we looked at. funding is the biggest barrier. not just the amount, but the way in which charter schools can or cannot access it. in d.c. for example, charter schools that enroll three and four-year-olds are automatically eligible for public funding from the districts.
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in other places, you would have to -- a charter school would have to apply in order to get that type of funding. sometimes, they apply through their authorizer. sometimes they apply to the state's early childhood office. other times, they apply to their local school districts in those districts may have a monopoly on it. part of the issue here is part of the complication is the fact that it is unclear. there are several hoops to jump through. many more than a normal early childhood provider. in in of itself, it is kind of a compliance system issue. and so, e actual access is the biggest barrier. host: an excerpt from the article about funding says --in dairy, charter schools in california can get financial support for the early learning services through to funding streams -- the california state preschool program for low income
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34-year-olds, and a state fund or transitional kindergarten. by law, charter schools that serve children eligible for transitional kindergarten must offer it. 235 charter schools automatically receive funds from the state to offer the program. charter schools must apply for it and so far, only four has successfully done so. is there anything -- any changes being offered, or will be affixed to the funding issues wester? guest: i think about things like that every student succeeds act. the latest national legislation. their definition of charter schools now includes pre-k. the preschool development grants that resident obama and his
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administration proposed -- their definition of pre-ks eligible provider included charter schools. so there is some efforts and some recognition nationally that this is an issue. new york is another good example here. york city or universal pre-k programs recently included charter schools as well. but it really varies state-by-state. this issue is not getting the attention it needs quiet yet. host: casey is calling in from maryland on our independent line. hi, casey. caller: how are you? host: good. your on with ashley mitchel. caller: great, great. a couple of things. one is the discussion about charter schools and the benefits which sound really great. i operate under this do no harm
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idea. which thation in would involve the benefit of getting choices to children in a neighborhood where it is not that great. why should that child be subjected to that that school? sound like a great idea. what gets left out of the discussion is the fact that let's say everybody in the neighborhood of that school decides to go to a charter school? becauseter schools, they do not have to enroll that child because of behavioral, perfmae, or other issues, don't have to enroll that child, or dismiss that child he comes by law, they are not required to keep that child. what happens? that child goes back to that public school. now you have the public school that has all the so-called difficult or bad children with social problems or what have
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you, and all of the best children's who performs well go to charter schools? schools. now you have a school that is less diverse. host: ok, casey. i want to get ashley a chance to respond. guest: casey, that is a very valid concern and one that firstly concerns me as well. this idea of skimming the best of the best children from a particular environment, and then only keeping the ones are easiest to teach. that happens in charter schools, which i would suggest are fewer than popular narrative proposes, but in the cases that happened, that is an incredible problem and one that needs to be addressed. think the bad apples are the
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few places in which this is happening. they get the attention. but that is not the norm. i really want to emphasize that in places that is happening, it is not acceptable. and it needs to be addressed. host: elizabeth is calling from staten island, new york on our democratic line. good morning, elizabeth. caller: good morning, a low. -- good morning, hello. i have not heard anybody speaking about real estate. i work for the public school system in new york city in afterschool programming. i do not see much of a difference in the behavior of the kids. school,, in a charter we worsen out to school systems in the queens area, bronx, and we face more behavior problems
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with the children there. but one thing that struck me was some of the schools i attended, basically like condos converted to charter schools. and it got me thinking that charter schools are probably also in the new york city real estate game. i have not heard anything yet about this, but i think more to the needs to go more public schools and not be taken away from the public schools from charter schools. and with betty devos, we are facing a real problem. host: let's get ashley mitchel's response. guest: absolutely. a question about facilities. the question wasn't going right thought you were going. what, if andok at how charter schools are involved
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in real estate and our study, but that is an interesting question. it is one i am not equipped to answer. in terms of facilities more generally, there are conversations about how charter schools and district schools will share facilities and have adequate space to do their learning experiences. in new york city in particular, this is an issue. abouttalk a little bit betsy devos, the new secretary of education. is she supportive of this idea? what you expect under her? guest: this is a good question and i am not quite sure what to expect yet. work in michigan, we do know that she is a proponent of school choice.
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i would imagine that that include charter schools. is whattion for me more you will be able to accomplish given that president trump proposed a 13% cut in her department's budget? we will see how that goes. host: frank is calling in from arlington, -- arlington heights, illinois. good morning, frank. caller: good morning. how are you? i am against charter schools. some of the issues and logistics that were brought up by some of the other callers -- i live in the chicago area. in illinois, there used to be 10,000 school districts. now there are 888. the consolidation has created some of the problems. this push for charter schools in chicago, dude -- don't you think it would be better to break up some of the districts and get
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more power back to the parents? ending -- and then keeping things local and staying in a local area without moving around a lot? i would like to get your thoughts on that? guest: that is a very good question. i think combingaybe two different ideas or two different issues. one is this issue of under enrollment which is often why schools will consolidate districts. you have a school that can fit 600 students but now has an enrollment of 350. i am not familiar with chicago's exact circumstances and why this recipient is drop in the number of districts happened. that from the conservative perspective, your
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comments about keeping it local and that is what conservatives should be advocating for, that is a counter argument -- the counter argument is to keep it local. host: sandra is calling from hollywood, florida on her independent mind. good morning, sandra. caller: good morning. regardsion is more in towards theng public school. and make them even better i n what they already are have worked for private and public charter schools, and my is that it depends on the personnel, the principals that un it, the teachers
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it.k in my personal opinion is that it's and problem vieded only by experience and structure. unning the charter schools is costly and the lack of funds are iave toe teachers who gree with -- but there is a need for children to have high now.ity options right
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