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

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A Cog in the Wheel of Charters in Connecticut

Finally, a modicum of sanity in the insane asylum of education deform has emerged in Connecticut  over turnaround schools. It appears  Senate Democrats did their homework and stopped drinking the ALEC Kool-Aid. Instead, they are proposing charter schools should not be a solution for any school turnaround plan because they only lead to further privatization and are no better than public schools.

Charter school advocates in Connecticut are "stunned and angry." They can barely hold back their rage over the Democrats refusal to provide an "excellent" education for these poor, underprivileged children who could benefit from a for-profit charter or KIPP chain gang school. Instead, the Democrats argue charters are not the solution and have suggested people read Kenneth Saltman's upcoming book on the failure of corporate school reform.
Could these Democrats be onto something?  Let's hope this book is the one that finally breaks the camel's back and ignites the fire on the dry grass of corporate education reform  so that this wasteland of test prep and chain gang schooling might blossom into something beautiful.

Just imagine if the discussion over school reform in statehouses all across the country actually turned to reality-based solutions like equal funding, respect and professional autonomy for teachers, well-rounded curriculums,  strong health and social services in the school, field trips, libraries, music and art.  These Democrats in Connecticut are onto something - others need to pay attention.

 Kathleen Megan at Currant.com:
Charter schools advocates were stunned, at first, to learn that the latest proposal for education reform does not include charter schools as an acceptable model to turn around low-performing schools, but now they are angry.
Michael Sharpe, chief executive officer of Jumoke Academy in Hartford and president of the Connecticut Charter School Network, said: "We all, as a community representing kids of color and poor kids, should be enraged by this… Why would you tie your hands legislatively from any possible solution to the achievement gap and to the failures of urban schools in Connecticut? It doesn't make any sense."
Sharpe said he has written a letter to legislators who are members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus to alert them to the situation. "I would think the members would be enraged by a provision that denies the families they represent, the opportunity to have options in terms of an excellent education."
However, a staff member for the Senate Democrats suggested contacting Kenneth Saltman, a professor in education policy and research at DePaul University in Chicago, who is writing a book to be published in June called "The Failure of Corporate School Reform."
In an interview Tuesday, Saltman had many criticisms of charter schools, whether profit or non-profit, saying they are not as accountable as public schools; have high teacher turnover; can be used as a tool to get rid of teachers unions; and that nationally, they are about the same as or worse than traditional public schools.
He also said there are concerns that charter schools are one step along the path to far more widespread privatization of public schools.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:46 PM

    One of the problems facing the corporate "deformers" in CT is that the worst performing districts are surrounded by wealthy, high performing communities whose occupants tend to do research and then think for themselves given the slightest reason to think they are being played. They are savvy enough to know snake oil on first sight. They don't want their tax dollars "profitized" or wasted