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

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cheap Charter Schools Rule Where Poverty Is Served

Last week WaPo ran a story that explored the inpenetrable mystery of why the leafy suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland are not in a rush to turn over their children's education to the unregulated and unsupervised whims of the CEOs and EMOs from the corporate welfare charter school industry. According to the head of the national charter outfit, the reason is simple: those antiquated elected school boards are afraid of the competition:
"Anytime you see a school board that is afraid of competition, they will invent any grounds that are needed to deny a charter application," said Nelson Smith, president of the D.C.-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Thus, any reason that is offered to deny the spread of the Wall Street Schooling Model is just another excuse to disguise the real reason that school boards and the parents they represent don't want charter schools: they are afraid of something better.

So any time you hear parents use any of these excuses listed below to urge their Board members to resist the charter plague, remind yourself that it's just another excuse they have cooked up to cover the fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on schools with libraries and librarians, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on guidance counselors and psychological services, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on drama programs and facilities to stage plays, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on athletic programs, sports fields, and gymnasiums, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist that they be able choose the people who will oversee their schools, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on quality programs for the disabled and gifted, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on quality meals prepared on site for their children, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on safe transportation for their children to and from school, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on teachers who have been educated, trained, and certified, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on school leaders who are educators rather than CEOs, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on curriculums that include music, art, vocational subjects, social studies, PE, drama, and electives, it is to cover their fear of competition.
  • When parents insist on facilities that are designed as schools, rather than as pizza joints in strip malls, it is to cover their fear of competition.
So yes, it would seem that the vast majority of Americans are cowards. Where you will find parents willing to show their bravery, however, is where you will find desperate parents whose schools have been neglected for generations and where poverty seeps through the school walls like a virulent mold, where malignant neglect creates special conditions that have long been unaddressed. This is where the test and fail regimes have been most effective in melting away the last vestiges of resistance to the CEOs and the EMOs and the other corporate blood suckers of the testing industry, along with their henchmen who have been trained in the new big business of schooling.

Yet now with charterization approved by Dunc and his oligarch handlers in systems like DC, where public school demonization has been inspired by the fuming and snarling Michelle Rhee, the next step must be taken now to stage a PR campaign to get back all the parents back that she and the Washington Post scared away. So welcome back, parents, to a new beginning for DC schools. And thank you for your courage. From WaPo:

It's the rarest of species: a good-news advertisement about D.C. public schools.

"Did you know," the announcer intones on the ads, which aired last month on WPGC (95.5 FM) and are scheduled to run again next month, "that the only school in D.C. to earn a national ribbon for excellence last year was a D.C. public school? Go public and get a great free education!"

Those terms -- describing Key Elementary -- aren't usually associated with a system that ranks among the bottom in test scores nationwide. But the campaign, titled "Rediscover DCPS," has been launched by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as one step toward stemming the decline in public confidence in a system whose enrollment has plummeted from 80,000 students three decades ago to 45,000 this year.

In addition to the radio spots, the $9,000 campaign, which makes a particular push for special education students, includes a section on the school system's Web site featuring 13 elementary and middle schools, and earlier school registration dates, officials said at a news conference yesterday.

"A positive marketing campaign about the school system . . . is long overdue," said Jeff Smith, president of D.C. Voice, an advocacy group that circulated a petition in November urging the media to report on positive school system developments. "No one has been willing to own the system. It continues to be the same talk about what's wrong with the system. Lots of things are wrong. If you're the CEO of any company, you have bad spots, but what's good is what you sell."

D.C. Voice is one of those non-profit tax dodges that has taken its marching orders from the Gates Foundation since 2008. What's good is what you sell.

1 comment:

  1. Great point by point rebuttal.

    But with a title like "Cheap Charter School Rules Where Poverty is Served," I thought you were going to suggest their more obvious business model: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, By Naomi Klein.

    ReplyDelete