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Canavero calls Guthrie's charter schools plan 'ambitious,' and Rocketship looks to Nevada
Canavero calls Guthrie's charter schools plan 'ambitious,' and Rocketship looks to Nevada

AIR DATE: July 16, 2012

Nevada Superintendent James Guthrie has launched a push for more state-run charter schools, applauding their record of success,’ and claiming that charters are easier to regulate and manage.

“If they don’t produce results, and they don’t satisfy parents and they can’t provide a sense of hope for students, we will close them down,” says Guthrie. “With conventional public schools, that does not happen.”

But Steve Canavero, director of the board charged with evaluating the quality of new charter schools, calls the superintendent’s plan for a total of 60 schools “ambitious.”

“We have never recommended that the authority specifically have a goal of a certain number of charter schools being opened,” says Canavero. “We can’t control the pipeline of high-quality applications. We can simply review those applications and approve those that have a high probability of success.”

Canavero points to the recent closing of Renaissance Academy as one example of a charter that failed. It was shut down, he says, because of poor financial record keeping and inadequate governance.

“They weren’t keeping track of the pupils, there was no integration with their curriculum platforms that they were using and the governing body didn’t provide the necessary oversight to the school,” says Canavero.

Nevada residents may soon have more charter school options, however, as Rocketship Education, a prominent charter school company that focuses on low-income students, eyes the Nevada market for possible expansion.

“In the coming weeks, we’re starting our community development in Las Vegas,” says Kevin Bechtel, Manager of National Development at California-based Rocketship. “Nevada has recently come on to our radar. We’ve had a lot of conversations with Dr. Canavero and we’re looking forward to exploring future community partnerships in Las Vegas.”

Rocketship also must consider whether the state has the facilities available and a friendly general operating environment. But Bechtel says Nevada’s large population of low-income students makes the state a strong candidate for a Rocketship school.

“It’s all about choice,” says Bechtel. “There is not a very large charter presence in Las Vegas. From Rocketship’s perspective, we really have a great opportunity to lead the charge in adding high-quality choice options to students and families in Las Vegas.”


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I'm a co-owner of a building that houses a great charter school, Innovations International Charter School. This charter is k-12 with over 700 kids. The school is having an open house tonight from 6-8pm to let the community see the inner workings or a charter. The address is 1600 E. Oakey. Please come if you have a heart for education!
Steven SpannJul 12, 2012 10:25:58 AM
The Bell Curve, by Hernstein and Murray got it right. You cannot correct problems in schools while ignoring the ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds of the students. I have never seen a, "failing school" only schools with poor students. The failing school claptrap is just a favorite rhetorical dodge used by teacher unions and politicians. The students are the problem, not the schools. You can't soar with eagles when you work with turkeys! As for charter schools, the model that could work here, would be a satellite system, where each charter school would be tied to a local public school, so that those students could still participate in social and sports events at the public school, along with other special programs. We need to push for cultural change at the family level, so that education is valued and children get pressed by parents to do better in school. This is a long term process, and merely dumping your special ed or problem students into charter schools will not serve the best interests of our community
TylerJul 12, 2012 09:54:48 AM
I am an elementary school teacher. One of my students transferred to my school from the 100 Black Men Academy because he felt uncomfortable as a biracial student in a mostly African American student population. Charter schools can create school environments that make students uncomfortable also.
Vegas TeacherJul 12, 2012 09:50:10 AM
It seems to me that one of the reasons people are clamoring for charters is that it is a way to get your kids out of schools where disruptive students are a daily problem for teachers. Perhaps if public schools were allowed to do something about the most disruptive students we wouldn't need many charter schools.
justateacherJul 12, 2012 09:48:01 AM
Whoops, didn't finish my sentence - this should read I just heard a question about cherry-picking, and the answer was that the schools are obligated to take students first-come, first-served or lottery (not sure which). However, the follow-up question that must be asked is, Do you have to keep all of those students? Are you allowed to kick them out due to behavior problems, etc.? And I just heard the comment from caller Sarah. I agree that saying that cherry-picking doesn't happen is just not true. In other words, when comparing charters to regular public schools, that must be noted. "If the child can't be handled for whatever reason" - like really bad behavior that the public schools must deal with?
justateacherJul 12, 2012 09:43:50 AM
I just heard a question about cherry-picking, and the answer was that the schools However, the follow-up question that must be asked is, Do you have to keep all of those students? Are you allowed to kick them out due to behavior problems, etc.?
justateacherJul 12, 2012 09:40:22 AM
Renaissance Academy is something the charter school pushers are distancing themselves from as fast as they can. KTNV presented a scathing report on malfeasance in management at that school, and the charter school advocates want to ignore the problems there. Renaissance is the 12th charter school in as many years to be shut down for financial mismanagement, yet these people want taxpayers to pour more money into their "experiment." NO THANK YOU. Invest in the public school system, not an ideologically and politically motivated "experiment."
Mike LandisJul 12, 2012 09:14:53 AM
Charter schools, to the degree that they are deregulated and therefore responsible to parents and students instead of government, should be less ideologically and politically motivated than the government schools which are necessarily both ideological and political. For proof of that, just look at what students are taught, how they are taught, the influence of unions, the influence of the state bureaucracy, the influence of voter blocks, etc., in government schools. Further, in a free society, I think the last thing we should want is government sponsored education; sort of like a government-run newspaper... what a low-quality, expensive propaganda mill that would be. Oh, just like government schools *are*!
Tom HurstJul 12, 2012 13:19:56 PM
What we really need are more 100% private schools, totally unencumbered by CCSD rules, and paid for by the people that use them, so responsible to the people that use them. We would then see an astounding flourishing of variety and quality at all price levels. That is how the free market would solve this problem, for education as a service is fundamentally and economically no different than any other service that we consume!
Tom HurstJul 11, 2012 08:47:21 AM
Then again, considering that parents don't necessarily know much about academics, many would choose schools where their kids are happy, which doesn't necessarily translate to good schools. I think there is a place for charters, but the "deregulation" fantasy is likely not a cure for what ails American education. The free-for-all that passes for state government here does not bode well for charters, because there needs to be a great deal of oversight. Thinking that parents will know which charters are good and which aren't without the state putting forth a great deal of research and information is pie in the sky, I think. My experience is that many parents don't have a clue where their kids' levels should even be in core subjects. Many cannot even do middle-school-level math, for example, so they have to trust that a school knows what it's doing. That means the state will have to really do its job. Good luck with that.
justateacherJul 12, 2012 09:29:58 AM
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