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The Hitchhiker’s Giude to Forming a Charter School

Yes, Citizen Outreach is dead serious about opening a “Mount Reagan Academy” charter school on the east side of the Las Vegas valley for the start of the 2014 school year. But after looking into the application process, I can fully understand (a) why more people don’t pursue opening such schools here in Nevada, and (b) why the existing public schools are such a royal mess.

The bureaucratic BS is a mile wide and ocean deep!

The application instructions for opening a charter school are more than 100 pages long and includes this gem under Section A.4 Assessment and Accountability…

“Your mandate as a charter school is not just to teach well (my emphasis) but also to demonstrate objectively, in ways that are clear, understandable and credible to a variety of audiences, that you are doing so Thus you must measure and report educational progress precisely and extensively.”

Got it? It’s not sufficient to simply be delivering a world-class education to your students; you must also justify to the Head Bureaucrats in Charge exactly what you’re doing, most assuredly in triplicate.

I also couldn’t miss the irony of being told that the charter school’s reporting to the bureaucracy had to be communicated in a clear and understandable manner…especially since that sentence came right before this unclear and barely understandable subsequent paragraph explaining exactly what information has to be submitted to the bureaucracy to fulfill this requirement…

“A quality assessment plan will include summative assessments as well as formative assessments to track student skill and knowledge development. Your response will include how this data will be used to evaluate the school’s progress toward achieving the goals and/or objectives outlined in A.2 of this application. Through your response, it should be clear to the reviewer how the school will collect, analyze, triangulate, and manage data on an ongoing basis.”

Coincidentally enough, my wife and I were just discussing the summative and formative assessments that we should use to triangulate the skill data for our homeschooled kids. I mean, doesn’t every family discuss these things at the dinner table at least once a week?

I guess if I’m going to need their approval to open the Mount Reagan Academy, I probably ought not refer to these folks as pencil-pushing Voguns, huh?