"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On the Growing Outcry Against KIPP, Charters, and the Oligarchs

Even Ed Week has noticed that Dunc's Department has been handed over to the Gates Foundation.

Tauna Rogers has a strong reaction to Mathews's latest propaganda piece.

And here is a clip from a post from Caroline Grannan:
. . . . Another public comment on the Mathews blog item points to an additional KIPP school under fire for alleged overly harsh discipline – KIPP South Fulton Academy near Atlanta, Ga. It’s creepy that reports from both KIPP South Fulton in Georgia and KIPP Fresno in California include charges that students were denied requests to use the rest room, and as a result, urinated and/or vomited on themselves. That’s a rather questionable disciplinary tactic in terms of pure humanity.

Yes, the schools are still high-performing and are vigorously defended by parents and students. I’m not forgetting to mention that.

**

New York City Education Examiner Lorri Giovinco-Harte posts a week’s roundup of edublogs, focusing on the increasing outcry about the influence of billionaires’ contributions on public schools and policy, citing this examiner and an array of other commentators.

There seems to be a great deal of backlash lately against what one blogger refers to as the "Billionaire Boys Club's" push towards the dismantling of public education.

Actually, the backlash has been occurring for some time, but the degree to which it is happening as well as the diversity of people who are reacting to it seems to have increased as of late.

**

On change.org, Education Editor Clay Burell posts about President Obama’s view of charter schools, which is wholeheartedly enthusiastic. But Burell responds:

[Charter schools] can expel students who don't excel or cause problems. And they can also say "no" when their enrollment caps are met. Public schools can't. Traditional public schools also have far more special needs and non-native English language learners than charters. And public schools also can't set parental involvement conditions. And public schools don't get the supplemental funds from the billionaires, so they spend less per student than charters.

Given all of that, still, if we're going to say charters should still be supported in order to serve as those "laboratories," the missing link in all of this talk centers on this question: "What's the mechanism that will allow for that 'duplication of success' in traditional public schools?"

And how will traditional public schools ever have the opportunity to duplicate charter successes when traditional public schools, as Obama acknowledges, are given neither the "flexibility" nor the extra funding enjoyed by charter schools? One dangerous answer to this is: Traditional public schools will have that "flexibility" when they are able to break union-negotiated teacher protections - to be union-free - and when they submit to the meddling of Gates, Broad, and the other billionaires at the Business Roundtable when they dangle their strings-attached money.

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