Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charter school funding, and grammar

Sunday's column reflecting on how Democrats might have avoided some of the steamrollering in the 2011 session of the General Assembly included some background on legislation to lift the cap on charter schools and make other changes, including making charters eligible for some kinds of funding that public schools get.

The sentence read:

“So when Wake Republican Sen. Richard Stevens sponsored his charter school bill this year in the Senate to do away with the charter cap entirely and make a number of other changes, including making charters eligible for more public funds that traditional schools also get, Democrats were aghast.”

Amy Auth of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's office emailed to say that some people evidently had read that sentence to say that charters would be eligible for more money THAN traditional public schools, and suggested a clarification to clear up any confusion. As she noted, "Counties would have the option under Senate Bill 8 to allocate funds for equipment and buildings. However, that does not mean a charter school would get more than a regular public school."

There is, of course, a distinction between that and than. Charter schools are public schools, but they don't get all the funding that public schools get. Charter advocates say they receive about 70 percent of the funding that traditional public schools receive, and the bill would make them eligible -- if counties approve -- for more of the funding sources that traditional public schools get -- not more THAN they get.

1 comment:

EuroCat said...

I didn't have any problem understanding the difference between "than" and "that", Jack!

No story about charter schools and grammar would be complete, though, without mention of the recent reprehensible conduct by some of our fine pro-charter GOP legislators: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2011/03/25/gop-lawmakers-mocks-students-in-charter-debate/

Yes, these fine, upstanding elected officials took the opportunity to dissect some letters submitted by some Rutherford County elementary school students, and openly mock these children for minor grammatical errors via repeatedly-forwarded emails.

Rep. John Blust (R-Greensboro) and Rep. George Cleveland (R-Jacksonville), and a legislative aide for Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Jefferson) openly made fun of these youngsters' efforts, singling out one child's use of "apart" instead of "a part". Sen. Debbie Clary (R-Shelby) jumped on the bandwagon, complaining about the tone and quality of emails and letters from schoolchildren. However, Sen. Clary said: "There’s a misnomer out there that the children are going to be educated by the government and therefore I have no responsibility as a parent". Ummmm...maybe she meant "misconception"?

Perhaps Rep. Blust's own blog ( http://johnblust.blogspot.com/ ) has an item that could shed some light on the "Charter Commandos'" confusion between "than" and "that":

"I also want to thank all those who voted for me! I will try to honor the trust your vote demonstrated in me by delivering better state government that you have seen the last few years!"

Tsk, tsk, Rep. Blust. Maybe you could spend a bit more time proofreading your own material, and a bit less time ridiculing fifth-graders who are trying to get involved in their legislature.