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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nashville School Board Votes 5-3 Against Approving More KIPPs

Please encourage Metro School Board members to support public education and to deny more corporate welfare schools.  Further Board action to deny is needed before August 21!

My comments at the Tennessean today to the article announcing the vote.

Approving more corporate welfare charter schools in Nashville is a losing proposition from many angles. First, there is the financial burden created for the remaining public schools each time a student takes thousands of dollars in state funding with her or him to enter one of the total compliance charters that no middle class parent would ever allow her own children to attend.

Which brings up the second reason charters are a losing propositions. The No Excuses charters are dehumanizing environments where children are treated more like prisoners than pupils, and where short-term teachers (ave
rage tenure is 2 years) are pressured to treat children in ways they often come to regret. These corporate franchises provide lockdown learning environments where children and teachers, alike, are expected to perform like robots, rather than growing persons who deserve a diverse curriculum and diverse interactions.

Which brings us to the third reason charters are a losing proposition. Most of the these corporate chain gang schools are entirely segregated, which presents a huge political problem for those who endorse public expenditure for schools that are MORE segregated than the public schools they are intended to replace. This fact has been documented by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. When running for political office, who wants to campaign on the notion of supporting schools that are more segregated?

Fourthly, there is the discrimination against English language learners, special needs children, and low test scorers in these charters. Again, research has shown that No Excuses schools like KIPP have fewer of the low-performing or high problem students that can drag down test scores and damage the brand name.

In the end, these charter companies represent a "broken window" ideology aimed to subdue the disadvantaged, and in doing so they create corporate opportunities to amass great wealth with public money. That is why hedge funds are so deeply involved in nurturing their growth.

Jim Horn, PhD
Nashville, TN 37205

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