With regard to the goings on at ICEF in Los Angeles two quick thoughts.
First, despite all the rhetoric about charter schools being about making money off kids and other nonsense (only 10 percent nationwide are for-profit anyway, ICEF is not) a cause of ICEF’s problems are all the services they pile on kids. And those services got results, ICEF’s graduation rate, college-going and persistence rates, SAT’s, etc…are terrific. So you’d think that the folks who want to see more money spent on education – especially in a basket case state like California – would be using schools like ICEF as an argument to do so, rather than naysaying.
Second, on the money, California doesn’t spend enough on any of its schools. For their part charters then get 9.2 percent less than that insufficient amount according to the recent Ball State report (pdf). While 9.2 percent is better than charter finance in many states (the average shortfall for charters is 19 percent relative to other public schools and in 17 states its 15 percent less or more) it’s a killer in California when coupled with the overall low PPE there. You simply cannot discuss charter school performance or sustainability absent these crippling public finance shortfalls. What’s especially frustrating is that schools that struggle in California would thrive elsewhere. More on that later.