In regards to the disgraceful vote by the State Board of Education to revoke the charter of an innovative, fledgling school that truly cares for and instructs special needs kids, several things need to be made clear.
This decision was not about a building or teacher certification, and most certainly not about children. This is about money and the status quo. It’s about a state school system that insists on mainstreaming all children and shoving them into situations they cannot handle because it costs less money. It is about the fear of someone doing something new and better, forcing the public school system to improve or risk looking like fools.
The students at Dynamic Community Charter have highly capable and proper teachers, all either certified or on track to earn certification. Teaching while working toward certification is a practice quite common in traditional public schools. Further, anyone who cared to visit would find a group of students who love their well-qualified teachers – individuals so dedicated to these children they have continued to teach and support them despite the constant threat of closure by the state.
As for the DCCS building, a full inspection by the state was conducted early in the school year. That inspection found two minor issues that were promptly dealt with months ago. No other issues have ever been noted to DCCS officials.
One hundred percent of the parents at DCCS want their kids there because North Carolina was not meeting their educational needs. If the decision to revoke Dynamic’s charter had truly been about children, questions would have been raised about how they are improving and why they are flourishing at DCCS when they struggled so profoundly in traditional schools. Discussion would have ensued about the shortcomings of the N.C. educational system that prevented fully a third of our students from receiving special needs funding this year and solutions to remedy that would have been suggested and implemented.
The fact is, Dynamic has done more for these kids, with a fraction of the usual funds, than the traditional schools ever did fully funded. But somehow that was never important enough to discuss.
Another issue that a truly concerned board would have broached might have been the Catch 22 situation of transportation. Common sense would have dictated finding a fix for the fact that, while charter schools are not bound to provide transportation, when a child’s IEP calls for transportation, it must be upheld as a matter of law. What happens when there is no charter school funding for the extremely expensive need of specialized transportation? DCCS has carried these financial burdens this entire school year while being insufficiently funded for educational needs.
Did it ever occur to the SBE to talk to parents about their children’s needs? About their problems in traditional schools, let alone their successes at Dynamic Community Charter? How many board members visited the school? How many spoke with parents? How many bothered to speak with these students they supposedly care so much about?
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.