Charter Chain Harmony Public Schools Celebrates 10 Big Ones at the Winspear

HarmonySchools_TarimLeppert.jpg
Photos by Patrick Michels
Laura Leppert accepts an award for support of education, on behalf of her husband Tom Leppert, from Harmony Superintendent Soner Tarim.
Harmony Public Schools, Texas' largest chain of charter schools, packed all but the uppermost tier of the Winspear last night for a celebration of its 10th anniversary. The 33-school chain is built on a math, science and engineering curriculum -- a popular talking point among a series of lawmakers who, in taped remarks or through staff members sent in their place, said Harmony's helping to address the shortage of engineers graduating from U.S. schools.

Texas Sen. Royce West and U.S. Rep Kay Granger offered their support for the chain in recorded videos, and Laura Leppert, wife of U.S. Senate candidate Tom, turned up in person to accept an award for her husband's support of public education.

"Education changed my husband's life, and enabled him to live the American dream," Leppert said, adding that her husband tried to pay it forward too, by donating his mayor's salary to help kids graduate.

Surrounded by light-up columns and red, white and blue draperies, Harmony superintendent and co-founder Soner Tarim recalled the school's first days for parents. "On paper, there was no reason to trust us. And yet, our parents did," he said. "We will continue to grow, one classroom at a time."

Sure enough, Tarim told Unfair Park over the phone this morning, they've got plans to add to the two schools they've already got in Dallas next year with a new high school focused on business and marketing.

Tarim says they're planning to open two or three new schools each year in major Texas markets, with a focus on serving their K-8 students as they enter high school. Their goal, Tarim says, is to grow while maintaining a couple of impressive stats they touted heavily at last night's ceremony: a zero percent dropout rate, and a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

That last number applies to around 300 high school seniors in the chain this year, but will grow, Tarim says, to about 600 next year and more than 1,000 by 2016. Tarim says in the midst of shrinking teaching staffs, Harmony's one of the few public education outfits that's hiring now. "We know how to run our schools based on a limited budget," Tarim says, "and we are used to budget cuts. It's the nature of charter schools, we have to be inventive."

Harmony, the subject of a fair-sized Texas Monthly feature last fall, operates on a business plan built with help from the Gates Foundation, and has enlisted P.R. firm Burson-Marsteller -- whose global vice chairwoman is Karen Hughes, a familiar face from the Bush Adminstration -- to help with publicity and to lobby the Texas Legislature. (Update at 6:39: Harmony's publicist at Burson-Marsteller, Megan Whitley, just called to clarify: Hughes "is not a registered lobbyist and she does not lobby," she says.)

While some of the chain's critics seem more concerned about transparency and accountability, others have latched onto conspiracy theories about its founders' Turkish and Muslim backgrounds, and supposed tied to scholar Fetullah Gulen.

A Q&A page distributed by Harmony says, though, "there are no ties of any kind to the Gulen Movement or Fetullah Gulen," and the 21,000-strong wait list for Harmony schools suggests most parents aren't too convinced by the race- and religion-based attacks.

Even with huge budget cuts coming for public education, Tarim says Harmony's still going to be hiring around Dallas in the next few years -- especially, of course, if DISD trustees decide to throw their support behind expanding charters' presence in the district.

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WBAP's Mark Davis brought a soulful patch to his emcee duties last night.
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Harmony students keep the crowd entertained Monday night.
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59 comments
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guest
guest

Some of the people promoting Harmony on this string of comments should learn to spell or use spell check. It doesn't help your case when your discussing education and you misspell words or don't take the time to use spell check to correct them. I'm interested in Harmony but I will check into the study the poster " trashtalk " had posted a link to. I like to be thorough and cover all my bases before I act. Someone else mentioned Dr. Fuller to me when I mentioned that I was thinking of sending my child to a charter school. I have read some of Dr. Fuller's numbers and they make charter schools out to be snake oil salesmen. As I said, I will check to see if his studies have been peer reviewed and check to see if his numbers are legit. If I learn that they are legit I'll be probably homeschooling my child. Thanks !

good grammar
good grammar

you're*

guest
guest

Thanks, I knew my laziness would get me. I should have proof read my post. I guess I rely too much on spell check to catch my mistakes. I just hope those people who use "wanderful" and misspells 4 words in a short paragraph, aren't teachers at Harmony. Thanks again for pointing out my error.

fontneaux
fontneaux

Dude, don't sweat the misspelled words. I'm pretty sure those people aren't Harmony teachers. More likely people or one person paid by Harmony to say positive things about the schools. Kinda like the Stepford Wives for Harmony Schools. As one great Rock N Roll singer one said- " Why are we fighting ? "

Nick
Nick

Teaching at Harmony has been a great experience. I am proud to be both a part of the group here in Waco and the Harmony network across the state. The 10 year celebtration was a fun opportunity to celebrate the success of our students.

HarmonyistheDIfference
HarmonyistheDIfference

"Instead of giving these charter operators tax money to run schools differently, how about we just run schools differently and cut out these middlemen?" from DISD teacher makes me laugh. I think public schools have tried that for half a century and failed to the point that students and parents deserve another option for education. You dont realize that teachers make the difference in the success of the school. You think we dump our kids - no, that isn't possible. Our high schools will grow as we grow - some of our campuses have not even reached senior level yet. We work late, offer tutorials afterschool and on weekends, home visits, potlucks with parents, teachers, students, to change kids, academically and behaviorally. Our students reflect the demographics of our nearby ISDS - we have minorities and low income as the majority, even have special ed, etc... We don't pick the students that come here - they pick us. Some students who attend have had behavior concerns or failed the grade before, we are not getting perfect kids. It is amazing to see a student pass the TAKS for the first time on their first try after failing for the previous years. It is amazing to see a student show respect to the teachers when he started as the most most disruptive kid in class. We do this because a teacher cared enought to take the time and didn't choose to teach in public school for a few thousand dollards difference. I hope DISD teacher has tenure so you can continue to post comments and show movies to your students all day, then wonder why they are wanting a different choice in their education.

Iris lee
Iris lee

Best school! It is wanderful to be a part of this high standard educational charter school!

Guest
Guest

I thought the program was very well-done, and I'm excited to be part of Harmony Public Schools.

Christy
Christy

The information posted on here about Harmony is posted by uneducated people. Harmony Science Academy is a great school. If you look at the campuses that were represented the other night they are exemplemary compared to many DISD school. Yes, many of our teachers are new teachers, but that shows that we have a great staff when the school is getting exemplemary year after year. Our teachers care about the students and the families and the Harmony system is built on a triad where the parents, teachers, and students work together to make the students education. If this was done in other school districts maybe they would have successful schools.

Duality of Man
Duality of Man

Why are we comparing Harmony schools with I.S.D.s ? They are not the same. I.S.D.s support inclusion. They turn cartwheels to keep those students in school who have no parental support ot care to be taught Harmony's student attend those schools because their parents want them to attend those schools. Many I.S.D. students attend school because they have to.I wonder how many Harmony teachers have to call C.P.S. because there is evidence that a student has been abused by someone in their home. If I.S.D.s could weed out the problem kids who have no interest in learning and didn't mainstream the mentally challenged, I'm sure they could focus more time and money on the kids who want to learn. I have no argument with Harmony but their supporters need to quit saying " Look at their scores compared to D.I.S.D.". One of the learning institution has to teach in shackles and it's not Harmony.

Samcantx
Samcantx

It is true that charter schools have parents who are interested in their chidren's education since they choose to bring their children to another school, but it is also true that majority of these parents bringing their children to a charter school because their children are not doing well at their current school. Why would you change your child's school if he/she is happy and doing well in his/her current school?

Christy
Christy

Not every Harmony school has the perfect kid with the perfect background. Especially the Dallas campus. They have students who come from families that do not speak English and are from a low SES population. Also, many of the studnets are coming from bi-lingual class rooms and they are placed in English speaking only classrooms at Harmony. Along with that the students at Harmony are taking the state mandated test in one language, which is English and not Spanish like many of the ISDs do. There is a reason why Harmony is successful and that is because of hard working staff, parents, and the studnets.

Duality of Man
Duality of Man

I'm not equating non-English speaking children and their parents to children who don't want to learn. Children who enroll in Harmony are interested in learning and their parents support them that's why they attend Harmony schools. Many kids who attend D.I.S.D. schools attend because they have to, not because they want to learn. As I mentioned before many I.S.D. classroom have children who are mentally challenged (inclusion). This is done to help children who may suffer from autism, improve their social skills but lets not pretend that it's not a distraction to other student trying to learn. I.S.D.s are forced to be all things to all children because it's a politically correct thing to do.

Brujsims
Brujsims

There is one thing that has to asked: why are charter schools like Harmony being successful and public school systems like DISD are floundering? The answer is organization. For the longest time, DISD has been bogged down by it own aristocracy. That is why it has to lay off so many teachers and as a result, the students suffer greatly. Charter Schools like Harmony are organized enough to avoid being bogged down; it is all a matter of organization. Parents want the best for thier children. So until the DISD and many other school districts like this get thier act together, theses parents are going to schools that can meet the needs of thier children. Charter schools, like Harmony can meet this need.

trashtalk
trashtalk

This is a study by Dr. Ed Fuller that will never be seen on the pages of the Dallas Morning News:

http://fullerlook.wordpress.co...

It is a study paid for by the Texas Business and Education Coalition, and the data demonstrates persistent issues of low performing student attrition at Harmony charters.

While DISD has its own issues, it can no longer simply dump lower performing students. Many charters in Texas get a huge bump in scores by relieving themselves of lower performing students.

Dr. Fuller's work will be published soon. Until then, the data on his site is open to the public, unlike the fee paid to Karen Hughes with tax payer funds.

Strickland
Strickland

http://www.texastribune.org/te...

This is where Dr. Fuller says to the Tribune that his numbers are made up.

guest
guest

Wow !!! I was impressed with the Harmony Schools but after reading that Texas Tribune article and the comments, I'm no longer impressed.

Strickland
Strickland

I don't understand the financial transparency questions? Charter school district budgets are available online for all to see - the same as ISD budgets are? That is clearly a red herring. We have the exact same level of transparency as every other public school. If you're wondering why charter school teachers generally earn less it's because as a general rule, charter schools receive about 60 cents for every dollar the ISD gets. Charter schools don't get capital funding. In fact, the Texas legislature is looking at a bill this session that will provide charter schools cheaper bond rates so that they can come closer to the same level of funding that regular ISD public schools get. That's one of the things Dr. Tarim was referring to when he said "We know how to run our schools based on a limited budget."

Ryan
Ryan

My experience with Harmony Science Academy has shown me that the teachers and staff have a dedication and deep care for their students. On several occasions I have seen teachers reach out to families, even from their own pocket, to better the life and opportunities of their students. I applaud this school for that.-Ryan

John
John

Dear so called "DISD Teacher",

Full-time teacher can not post so many comments in a short period of time! Either go get a job or go get a life!!!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Dear John,Ever heard of a "planning period"?Didn't think so.

Or maybe I'm home with a sick child.Or maybe I broke my leg and had to take the day off to get am Xrays and then a pm dr. appt to go over the Xrays.

Even teachers get bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, and personal business days.

Truth
Truth

DISD TEACHER: How many planning periods do they give ya'll in Dallas? Maybe you're not actually a teacher. Maybe your an administrator posing as a teacher. That's why you have so much free time to make false comments. Everybody in this forum needs to get their facts straight before posting. Both sides have their advantages and disadvantages. It's not either's fault. It's the system which is controlled by politicians. If congress would do right by their educational system people might not feel the need to look elsewhere in the first place.

trashtalk
trashtalk

Maybe enough planning time not to have a 50% turnover rate in teachers.

50% attrition rate of students and~ 50% turnover per year in teachers are constants in Harmony schools.

Low pay, high turnover covered by high attrition in students who don't graduate except in tiny amounts.

It's not a system controlled by politicians; it seems to be another charter that streams tax dollars away from the classroom and into someone's pockets. With no transparency, it's very hard for tax payers to find where their money is going.

Strickland
Strickland

Just a quick word about teacher pay. The Fort Worth Harmony Campus has been exemplary every year since it opened. All Fort Worth cluster schools were exemplary last year. Clearly, for all the criticism about teacher pay, it has nothing to do with student achievement, which should be the focus of an educational program.

trashtalk
trashtalk

Teacher pay and quality have nothing to do with achievement as long as you can dump the "hormonal" little darlings if and when you wish back to their neighborhood schools. The public has no way of knowing how talented your day labor is when they don't accept or keep the same students as the local school districts.

ALL schools in the state could be exemplary if there were another place to put the low performers.

You have found that place--it's the neighborhood school. You've already admitted as much.

Funny how the argument about teacher pay always puts teachers in some strange universe where market economics don't apply. Heck, maybe they would work for free if you gave them the chance, right?

Guest
Guest

Trash-talk,

I read your comments, as a Harmony teacher, I am upset:

On what basis are you claiming that Harmony schools are "dumping" low-performers? I suggest you go and see a Harmony school before the third week of April, especially during the second semester on a Saturday morning. You will see students filling the classrooms for tutorials. I don't think those students are coming from the neighborhood schools. PLease respect the hard work and dedication teachers and students exhibit at Harmony schools.

Have you ever heard of omitting variables in the estimations? This creates biased and inconsistent estimators. I think you are omitting many variables when you mention the attrition rate and size of graduating classes. Since our school size was very small at the beginning, the first two-three generations left for bigger high schools when they reached at the end of their eighth grade levels. This attitude began to change as schools got a critical mass of high school students to make the students feel like they are attending a real high school. You will see size of graduating class from HSA in hundreds in the next two-three years.

The success of the schools are because of hard work, please do not underestimate that. By the way, why dont you check the websites and see how many of our graduates are accepted by 4-year colleges? When we claim 90-100% college acceptance rate, do you think we are not telling the truth or all our students are only attending to community colleges? It is very easy to verify, one click away.

You are mentioning teachers working with visa in US (if there are any at harmony schools) as if they teach in US illegally. As far as I know, INS is providing the visas, not schools or individuals. If you check the faculty list in the websites of engineering or management departments at UTD or SMU in Dallas, how many of the faculty members do you think are US born US citizens? Why don't you appreciate the experiences and novel approaches the international teachers bring into our classrooms? Can you translate everything I have posted so far on this page into another language if you know any? Have you ever tried to teach math, physics, chemistry in another language? Do you know how much intellectual effort it takes to gain this kind of a qualification?

You may not approve the idea of running a charter school, I respect that. What makes me uncomfortable is that you picture a very bad image of what is absolutely the opposite to me. I am living, breathing in this school with my students, low -high performing ones, treating them as if they are my children, and doing my best to teach them. Please, put your politics agenda into your pocket, stop by one of the Harmony schools, and spend some time with our students and parents. Ask them about our school, do not bring one-two samples that do not represent the population, give us the sample mean.

HSEteacher
HSEteacher

Your comment about "dumping low achievers" is completely false. In my experience, that would never happen in a Harmony School. I am curious as to where you are getting your information.

Strickland
Strickland

trashtalk - I'm not arguing with your numbers. Don't miss understand me. I am 100% sure they are wrong, but I'm not going to argue with you about what percentage of students have transferred. Why? Because it doesn't matter. Student transfers are exactly what people who support school choice WANT.

What's really at issue is your interpretation of what a transfer means. You seem to be of the opinion that students are being kicked out the system based on their academic performance. You interpret transfers as something malicious on the part of the charter school.

What I'd like to help you understand is that student "attrition," as you call it (which is nothing more than a student transferring from one school to another), is nothing more than the exercising of the choices that charter schools allow parents to make. In other words, when a student transfers, it is no different a phenomenon that when they enroll. (In fact - you would likely agree that our 17,000 students are someone else's "attrition.")

It's really not that difficult to understand. The market provides choice, upon which consumers begin to make selections. They think this choice will be best. They try it (and gain an experiential knowledge or "metis" as oppose to a theoretical knowledge or "techne"). While this selection may work great for one person, it may not fit another, so that person tries something they believe will better fit their needs. Ultimately, when the system is fully functional, there are myriad options for individualised preferences.

There's nothing malicious about a student transfer. It is, in fact, the EXACT result that supporters of school choice expect and fight for!

Strickland
Strickland

Harmony does NOT dump any students. We are open enrollment charter, which means we cannot turn away students for any academic reason. Said differently, a lottery, not grades or academic performance, determines whether or not a child is admitted. The Fort Worth cluster is majority minority and Title I (Which means it has a large population of economically disadvantaged students). And we have never expelled anyone! He is using a few numbers that have to do with transfer students and making accusations about Harmony turning away students don't meet some undefined mark of academic acceptability.

Strickland
Strickland

We cannot be all things to all people and we do not pretend to be THE solution to fix all the problems in public education. Rather, we provide a unique choice to our 17,000 students across Texas (while having 21,000 more on the waiting list.) Of course, we are not perfect, but we are so proud of our students and so proud that at the end of the day that we offer a choice for parents in Texas. I, for one, am so thrilled to be a part of the work we do for children and the famlies we serve.

Strickland
Strickland

It's also worth mentioning that "In an interview with the Tribune, Fuller conceded that the percentage was merely an estimate based on an informal review of high school-level data, not a comprehensive study" (http://www.texastribune.org/te...)

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

You want to run a private school, do it on your own dime.

Charter operators use tax money to pay themselves to run a school.We already have an administration in place to run schools.We don't need two.

Charters create an expensive redundancy.Good for the charter owner, bad for the taxpayers and kids in poor districts where enough cash is wasted to begin with.

Again, if they are so wonderful why not make allll schools charter-model schools?

Maybe bc the model won't work?

And the lowest of the low students (either academically or behaviorally) wouldn't think of applying to a charter school. We can barely get them to show up to the neighborhood school awake, fed, and with supplies and a desire to learn.

Let me drop a few dozen of those types off at your front door (no application needed) and let's see how charters do. Remember: they don't want to be there, they don't agree to the rules beforehand, the parents will only show up if you take the kid's phone, and you can't make them come on Saturdays.

trashtalk
trashtalk

The "dumping" refers to your high attrition rates after the students are admitted. Public school districts can't "lose" their low performers, hormonal or not. Ed Fuller at UT Austin found a 50% attrition rate for Harmony charters.

As far as the myth of the waiting lists, the name brand charters in Texas have some problem with admitting kids on their mythical waiting lists. They have room. They simply don't want to take kids they haven't filtered late in the game. That might mess up their state ratings. Why the high attrition rates if there are so many kids on a waiting list? Why aren't students replaced when others leave?

Again, where exactly does the money go that state taxpayers route your way? You refuse to pay your teachers a livable sum, so you aren't spending it on instruction.

The lack of transparency is astounding, but there are funds to stage a political function and for a Republican operative.

Strickland
Strickland

Regarding the question about student transfers:

First, presently in the State of Texas, only 60% of students graduate high school. For every 100 students who are in that 60% that graduate, 50 can read at the college level. 41 are prepared for college level math (algebra), and 24 are prepared for college level science (biology). The Harmony program, therefore, is necessarily rigorous. Unlike some educational programs, the kind of students that succeed at Harmony schools are those who are genuinely interested in doing the labor of preparing for higher education and a higher standard of living. Harmony Schools don’t just advertise rigor. They ARE rigorous because they really do prepare students for college.

Second, Harmony has a unique discipline policy. It is based on the premise that a campus must first establish an environment where learning can take place BEFORE anything academic occurs.This is important: in terms of America’s competitiveness with students worldwide, we do not begin to lose ground until middle school and high school. Our elementary children do as well or better than their global competitors. In middle and high school, however, student performance for Americans drops considerably. There are many reasons, but foremost among them is the reality that hormonal students have an agenda of their own, and it’s social, not academic. For any education institution to succeed, the learning environment MUST be amicably but irrevocably controlled by the teachers and administrators.

Therefore, for a school to function as it should, it cannot be the social hotbed that hormonal teenagers crave (and create when permitted). Harmony campuses are small, providing much less room for student-controlled socialization. This environment is not for everyone, and it is not uncommon to have some students (especially those who enter in the middle and high school grades) expressing a desire to leave. They want a big campus with lots of social opportunities (which is a gentle euphemism for wanting more opportunities to find boyfriends and girlfriends.)

Third, there is no single learning environment that is right for everyone. I often encourage parents to consider what is best for their child. A Montessori environment, for example, is much different the Harmony environment, and some students would flourish more in a Montessori setting. Education is not “one size fits all.”

The point here is that students transfer for many reasons, among them being academic (the program is too rigorous or maybe not emphasizing their interests), social (they don’t like small school environment), behavioral (they can’t adjust well to the discipline policies) – and the list could go on... One thing being missed, and this is SO important, is that these students, the ones who stay AND the ones who chose to move on, they have a CHOICE. That’s something we need to have more of in education, not less!

hsedallas teacher
hsedallas teacher

DISD has an average of 40 students per class. The most students in one class at Harmony Science Academy in Dallas is 26! Which means more one on one time with students who need it. There are bad teachers as well as great teachers at every school. Wherever you look. If you teach for the right reason, money is not an issue. I get paid when I see that light bulb or when I see my students engaged and love coming to math class everyday. Just because we do not get paid as much actual cash as some districts, does not mean we aren't amazing teachers who care about our students. I do what I love everyday and I am very lucky to be where I am at Harmony Science Academy.

Noway
Noway

That may be the case in Harmony Dallas but I know many K-3 classes in the Harmony system that have 26-30 students. How is that meeting the needs?

trashtalk
trashtalk

So does the missionary zeal extend to Karen Hughes' payday for her services? Or is her version of arm twisting expensive? Exactly how much of our state revenue went to her pr firm while Harmony's teachers are paid on the same level as non-degreed personnel? Sandy Kress at the trough yet, or does he still have a place at the table for Pearson? These Republicans have sure found a way to PROFIT while lowering pay for teachers across the state, haven't they? Got to hand it to them.

Isn't this charter thing fun? Wendy Koop becomes a millionaire sending uncertified interns to poor kids, and Harmony makes a bundle by importing teachers from Turkey.

And by the way, 26 kids in a class for the low salaries just adds more gasoline to the fire. DISD doesn't have 40 kids in classes, but they pay much more. Exactly where is the money going at Harmony while all you happy, happy teachers grovel? And where will Harmony cut in the fall? It certainly won't be at the top, so welcome to lower salaries and more kids per class.

What you teachers are actually happy about is that Harmony dumps all the low performers. That is where the extreme attrition from the lower grades to seniors occurs.

Maybe Texas needs a new game show called Dump the Low Achiever. KIPP, Uplift, and Harmony can compete for awards on which loses the most students over time and which charter has the best marketing plan to make it appear they are actually competing with neighborhood schools who have to take neighborhood kids, warts and all. Bring out all those charts showing progress against those schools who actually have to educate all students. Make sure you tell the public the seniors who graduate have all been accepted to college, but leave out the part about 10 out of 15 of them going to community college. And on the sideline of the game show, maybe someone should figure out the actual cost of graduating so few students when the state and Gates have sent Harmony so much money.

Money, money, money. Floating in streams of money as long as it carefully circumvents those happy, happy teachers who are compensated on a purely spiritual plane.

Teacher
Teacher

First of all, anyone who becomes a teacher doesn't do it for the money. So, as a Math and Science teacher (especially IN THIS ECONOMY), I'll take a good job at a good school any day over being unemployed.

The teachers in our schools work hard inside and outside of the classroom. Our class sizes aren't ridiculous, and we make our students WANT to work hard for us. I don't see any problem with that. I love working at Harmony.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Your boss takes DISD tax money but doesn't answer to DISD taxpayers.Why should DISD kids have to pay 2 separate entities to run schools?DISD kids already give up money to pay our own CEO and fleet of bureaucrats.

This isn't about YOU or how much YOU love your job or how glad YOU are to have a job.

This is about spending DISD tax money to pay people to run schools outside of the DISD system.

If you can't wrap your head around these truths and disconnect them from your determined adherence to the Harmony party line, then wow. Just wow.

hsedallas teacher
hsedallas teacher

Are you saying that every parent paying a school's taxes should have to go to that school? Instead of wanting the best for their child and giving them the best education possible? I'm sorry, but I thank God that there are still parents out their that want their children to be successful.

Where do you think our parents live?? Mars??? I'm pretty sure that all of my student's parents ARE DISD taxpayers as well, since they all actually live in Dallas. Therefore DISD is taking our money as well. Let's just leave it at that, if you live in Dallas, then you are a taxpayer for not only DISD but HSA as well.

Harmonyteacher
Harmonyteacher

Great event. Thanks for the organizers. Great place to teach and learn. I would like to invite those who have negative thoughts about charters schools to our school and have visit to our school by being a student in classrooms, talking to parents, staying after school and coming on Saturdays.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I don't have negative thoughts about teaching and learning at charter schools.

I have negative thoughts about tax dollars intended for children being used to pay yet another mid-level bureaucrat to run a school differently from all the other schools in the district.

We already have bureaucrats sucking up the money while the admin threatens to fire the actual workers (teachers) and cram 40 kids to a class.

If research shows charter schools are better (which it doesn't), run all DISD schools on the charter model and save the money currently going to the charter operator.

Support Education
Support Education

So DISD Teacher, are you mad about your tax dollars going to education and not to your pocket or you not being paid good enough? You are full of hypocrisy, aren't you supposed to be a teacher and worry about your student's education; or are you there only for the money?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I think most people don't understand the "we get your tax money but you get no representation" aspect of charters.

Charters are a money-making scheme for charter operators.The charter operator takes a salary out of the tax dollars they receive.

In other words, charters just hire another bureaucrat to live off tax dollars without actually teaching children.

Instead of giving these charter operators tax money to run schools differently, how about we just run schools differently and cut out these middlemen?

Tell Hinojosa: it's you or the charter guy. We ain't paying both of you.

Price_lss
Price_lss

A zero percent dropout rate and 100 percent college acceptance.No wonder this organization has bi-partisan support from West and Granger plus US Senate candidate Leppert.

After reviewing some of Harmony's numbers these folks might want to reconsider their support. Hughes might want to look for another client and poor Bill Gates; a fool and his money.

The numbers below were supplied to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) by Harmony. They represent the Harmony Science Academy of Dallas, TEA identification # 101846041.

Claiming to have a zero dropout rate, this campus graduated 14 students in 2009. Three years earlier in the 05/06 school year that freshman class had 44 students. What happened to the 30 not graduating?

According to TEA and Harmony, the 2010 senior class was comprised of 24 students. Yet, three years earlier in the 06/07 school year that freshman class had 69 students. Where did those 45 students go?

It even gets worse. In the 05/06 school year TEA and Harmony data show 124 students in the 7th grade, moving on to the 08/09 10th grade class, there were 39 students remaining.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

What the heck is that thing in Laura Leppert's hair?

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