Yesterday's protest against student fines used at Noble Street charter schools has generated a ton of media coverage today though to be honest I'm not sure I get what the big deal is or whether the event seemed particularly authentic. There are people who think charter schools are a really bad idea, which is fine. But the total dollar amounts in fines they've discovered collected by Noble Street -- $387,000 over three years -- doesn't really seem that large to me, given the size of the Noble network and the dollar amounts involved in running schools, and the "predatory" language being used seems really over the top. Are charter schools perfect, or good for every kid? Of course not. (There's been a ton of hype around charters and the Catalyst story notes that fine amounts vary widely among different Noble campuses.) But are parents trapped at Noble schools if they realize after the fact that the system seems onerous to them? No, not really. Is there some sort of mass exodus of students from Noble schools back to district schools because of the fines? Not that I know of. Do advocates know what's best for kids, even better than parents? Nope, not that either.
‘Flaming hot’ chips, gum, other ‘infractions’ costly at some schools Sun Times: A Chicago charter school franchise often touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pocketed almost $387,000 in fees over three years by issuing demerits for “minor infractions” ranging from not sitting up straight to openly carrying “flaming hot” chips, parents and students charged Monday.
Charter Operator Fines Students For Infractions CNC: The findings are based on information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and were released this morning by the Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, a student-led advocacy group; Parents United for Responsible Education, a parents’ rights organization, and Advancement Project, a community-based legal action group.
Students Protest Disciplinary Policies Fox: Chicago school students marched from CPS headquarters to City Hall Monday to protest what they say are harsh discipline policies.
Charter school's disciplinary fines protested ABC7: Hundreds of people protested at Chicago Public School headquarters Monday against the Noble Street Charter Network's use of fines to discipline students that they say is not stopping the bad behavior and digs deep into the parents' pockets.
Charter discipline policy under fire Catalyst: Detention rates were highest at Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy, which averaged 16 detentions per student in 2010-11 and collected nearly $29,000 from detention fees -- or more than $80 per student, according to an analysis of data provided by Advancement Project. They were lowest at Gary Comer College Prep, where fees averaged less than $4 per student.