Predictably, the AAS editorial board has come out in attack mode against AISD Superintendent Carstarphen’s excellent idea, to “farm out” AISD education to IDEA Public (charter) Schools. This fight is about teacher employment contracts, true accountability, and money.
IDEA schools have no magic bullet. But charter schools, in general, do have two “magic bullets”. They can reward teachers according to their effectiveness, and can hire or fire teachers quickly, if needed. The second is that they can structure the school environment, school day, and school year for the benefit of the children, rather than for the adults. As a result the Texas Education Agency [gave] the entire system of IDEA Public Schools an “A” (Exemplary) for the 2010-2011 academic year. AISD was given a “C” (Academically Acceptable).
The editors then moved on to “accountability”. IDEA CEO Tom Torkelson lives 300 miles away! Thank goodness that we have highways, airplanes, telephones, and the internet! The real issue of accountability is consequences. If IDEA’s Austin school doesn’t maintain its grades, AISD will close it; not so traditional AISD schools. “Accountability” is meaningless without consequences.
But the bottom line is money. “[The AISD] trustees should demand …[more explanation] before diverting millions of dollars [sic] in taxpayers’ dollars.” Hmm, the “taxpayer’s dollars?” I’m a taxpayer, and I have no control over those dollars. How is it that they are “mine”. AISD currently “controls”, and so “owns” the money.
But the “purpose” for the dollars is to give to AISD kids a good education so that they can become productive members of our city and state. If IDEA can do that effectively and efficiently, then g’it ‘er done, Ms. Carstarphen!