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Colorful balloons & brave resistance (22 comments)

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  •  Charter schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, blueoasis

    The original idea  of charter schools was a good one. Union teachers, administrators, parents and concerned individuals would draw up a plan, obtain a charter and try out different curricula. Then their successes could be exported and tried out elsewhere. They were not seen as a competition but as living laboratories for parents and teachers who wanted try such a thing.

    But then corporate forces led by the Walton family, the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation and others discovered charters and realized they could be essentially weaponized and used to attack public education and public sector unions.

    By withholding resources from neighborhood schools and declare them "failing" or just closing them by fiat, they could then replace them with non-union charters whose administration and whose funding could be kept away from close public scrutiny. Even neighborhood schools that were improving or already had a good reputation fell to the axe.

    Charters tend to hire young white teachers and as a result veteran teachers with years of valuable experience have been forced out of the system. Chicago has lost half of its African American teachers this way and many of its African American administrators.

    In Chicago each neighborhood school has a Local School Council and a faculty of union teachers. Schools in poverty areas where Local School Councils, teachers and administrators worked closely together and were allowed to discuss problems and solutions openly, there was marked school improvement as shown by a comprehensive study of Chicago grade schools. This study was ignored by CPS central administration.

    Charters have less accountability to parents and the community. Teachers have less say in the affairs of the school. While some charters do have unions to protect teachers' rights, the union that represents charter schools in Chicago only represents 10%-15% of charter schools and does not have have the power of the Chicago Teachers Union.

    The Chicago Teachers Union under its reform leadership has called for a moratorium on charter schools and for the CPS central administration to fund schools generously and fairly rather than pouring more resources into schools where the neighborhood has a largely white population.

    Wealthy corporations have been the most powerful influence on publicly funded education throughout the history of Chicago and they been wrong about how to educate the working class majority for generations.

    There is no reason to think that their latest strategy will have a different result.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 03:15:30 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  It may be tough for unions... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but it's great for parents.

      Parents are now getting access to better schools. Here in NYC, families that would have been forced to move to the suburbs can now stay in their communities. This is because:

      1) Charter schools offer better options or,
      2) The threat of charter schools has made the public schools offer better options.
      I wish it did not require threats. The teachers' unions should have been out in front -- starting charters, creating innovation. But instead they blocked and filibustered and obstructed. Now, when a Harlem parent votes she must choose between her child's education and the Teachers' Union.

      "School choice", which should have been a Progressive issue has been stolen from us by the rightwing. We need to get it back, and the Teachers' Unions (a group of upper-middle-class white-collar workers) must be asked to give up a little to help us.

      I say this from the perspective of an inner-city parent with a school-age child.

      •  Please provide proof that, nation-wide, charter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BobboSphere, blueoasis

        schools provide better education for all school children.

        Unless your argument is based solely on your #2 option? A clearly discernible threat of the destruction of public education is driving an improvement in public education?

        "School choice" has been amply demonstrated to be a euphemism for "New Age Segregation." How is this a Progressive issue?

        In what ways should teacher's unions be asked to sacrifice more, at this point? Even lower salaries? Even less job protection? A further decrease in retirement options? Even less ability to set up roots in one place? What would it take to satisfy you?

        I say this as an educator on a Native American reservation.

        •  Nation-wide... (0+ / 0-)

          ....some charters are better and some are not. It depends on the specifics of how the charter regulations are written. Here in NYC, the regulations are mostly sensible, so the NYC school system works better with charters than it did without them.

          The proof? The proof is in the parents lining up around the block begging God that their lottery number will be chosen.

          There is also proof based on Test Scores, but I know that many anti-reformers don't believe in Test Scores. (You can prove global warming is a threat by looking at sea levels, but fundamentalists don't believe in sea levels. Same thing.)

          What must Teachers' Unions give up? It depends. If the unions start their own charters and run them, they will have to give up Stupid Administrators, Decaying Facilities, Unnecessary Rules, and Corporate-Controlled Textbooks.

          If the unions stand around and try to obstruct and let the Walton Family start all the charters, they will have to give up their very existence, and we will have to help them re-organize from square one. It would take us back to 1920.

          Actually, there is one thing that I hope would change no matter who ran the charters. I recently attended my child's parent-teacher conference. These were held on a weekday between 1PM and 4:30PM. This meant that every parent in the city had to:
            - Take off from work
            - Pick up their kid early
            - Find childcare for the conference period
            - (maybe) Go back to work.

          Do the math. NYC has 1,000,000 kids. Suppose each kid has a parent who makes theNYC median wage, and loses a half-day of work. That's (1,000,000x4hoursx$30/hour)=$120 million lost.

          Would it have been too much to ask the teachers to stay late for one day? Just one day each semester? Or to provide childcare during the conference? Charter schools, which care about parents, think about stuff like this. Bureaucratic city-governments, and the Unions that support them do not.

          (More math: NYC has a 3% income tax, so the lost wages cost the city {$120 million x 0.03} = $3.6 million. This is enough to pay each of the 33,000 teachers a $120 bonus for staying late. Still, the Union says no, and twice a year the whole city chokes as schedules are disrupted. Then the teachers wail and moan that "unmotivated" parents won't show up to their 1:30PM meetings on weekdays during work, when their boss is yelling at them and/or clients/customers need attention).

          •  Yeah, maybe not so much: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            New York City’s charter schools are often held up as exemplary, which is the spin that the Bloomberg administration has fed the media for a dozen years. This insider says the spin is wrong.
            A few tidbits, since I know you aren't prone to looking at contrary evidence:
            Do charter schools in New York City have better scores?... In fact, charter schools were twice as likely to get Fs than public schools. Charter high schools had half the college readiness rate of public high schools. This year charter schools saw bigger drops in performance on the Common Core exams than public schools. Additionally charter schools performed worse on average than public schools in English and the same as public schools in math.
            Do charter schools in New York City allow parents choice?... At some charter schools 24%-68% of the students are lost from each cohort. Up to 7 out of 10 parents at these charter schools do not see their child complete schooling at the charter school they chose. Other “high performing” charter schools suspend 25%-40% of their students a year in order to see gains in test scores. This means that each year up to 2 in 5 parents at these charter schools have their choice forcibly taken away by the very charter school they chose to send their child to.
            Are charter schools in New York City accountable?... Joel Klein, former Chancellor in New York City falsely claimed that charter schools “closed the longstanding achievement gap.” He made this claim even though the data showed it to be an outright lie. In 2007, when the big push to open up even more charter schools began the data showed that charter high schools had an on-time graduation rate less than half that of public schools.
            Who pays for charter schools in New York City and how much?... As a whole charter schools in public buildings receive almost $650 more per student in public money than public schools. When the fact that charter schools have fewer high needs student is accounted for charter schools in public buildings receive $2,200 more per student in public money than public schools. Many charter schools spend a lot more money per student than public schools. KIPP spends over $3,000 more per student. Other well-known charter chains spend $4,300 more per student than public schools.
            But you keep on with your "They're standing in lines to get in!" argument.

            It's almost as solid as your argument that unions are responsible for textbooks and decaying buildings.

            Additional links (available at the main link):





            •  You can't compare... (0+ / 0-)

              ...charter schools to the average public school.

              Charter schools tend to open in tough neighborhoods where the schools are bad.  They attract kids who are already failing on being badly-served by the public schools.

              Happy kids don't switch schools!

              You need to compare charters to the worst schools, or at least the schools in the same (bad) neighborhood. You need to consider that they get the toughest kids.

              Complaining that a Harlem charter doesn't do as well as as a sweetly-run school in Riverdale or the Upper East Side is meaningless.

              That's why the lines of parents entering lotteries is such solid proof that charters are needed. Maybe all those parents are stupid. Maybe if they all had M.Ed degrees, or if Diane Ravitch was their child's Godmother, they would know to stay with the public school. Or...just maybe...they know their kids need something different.

              Oh, and since we're all Democrats here, please ask yourself: How will these charter parents feel when we close their schools? They are lining up for schools. Don't think they won't line up to vote...against anyone who snatches away their kid's chance at a better life.  

              •  I don't want to close charters (0+ / 0-)

                Here in Chicago the Chicago Teachers Union(CTU) wants a moratorium on charter expansion and also easier access for  Association of Charter School Teachers(AFT)  to organize the charters. The CTU does not advocate closing them.

                The longterm strategy as I understand it is make them public schools again with Local School Councils and if ACT wants it, the right to join the CTU.

                It has been proven here that schools with strong administrations, strong parental involvement and a strong progressive union presence can do a wonderful job in low income neighborhoods.

                The corporate elite with their scripted dumbed down curricula, their endless standardized tests, their privatization schemes  and their unionbusting is not the answer.

                Time to let educators, parents and community  work together and get the job done.

                It's also time to raise the general standard of living by a massive working class revolt against our dysfunctional economy, because poverty is the biggest enemy of education. But that's a whole other discussion.

                "Don't believe everything you think."

                by BobboSphere on Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 05:57:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why can't the CTU... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...just start their own charter schools?

                  The union here in NYC has done that. Parents line up to get into the union-run schools as much as the corporate-run charters.

                  The UFT has also organized several charter schools in NYC.

                  I realize that many right-wingers want to use charters to destroy the unions. We have to be smarter than them. We must walk carefully so we get the benefits (parental choice, less bureaucracy, innovation) that charters provide without the unionbusting.

                  It is possible. It is also necessary. Inner-city parents can only be expected to put up with so much before they question their allegiance to Traditional Democrats.

                  Here's a walke-up call for you: In the recent NYC mayoral primary, the Teacher's Union endorsed a Black candidate. But Blacks voted for the Italian guy instead.

              •  Charter schools get the toughest kids? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Are you living on the moon?

                Seriously. Are you?

                National studies show that the majority of charter schools show a significantly lower percentage of special needs, minority, low income students.

                So the toughest kids in your world must be the higher income, high ability, privileged white kids.


                But even that is beside the point. The real point is that you never, ever, acknowledge or address proffered data. Your reply shows that at least you opened the link, but fails to include a substantive rejoinder, instead circling back to the ridiculous "They're lining up to get in!" argument.

                What's that old saying? f you don't have the facts, pound the table!

                •  I have never... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...seen any data saying that the average Charter student is more likely to be minority or low-income than the average Public student.

                  I don't have data, but the fact that the charters all seem to be in the inner-city says that I'm probably correct.

                  As for parents lining up to get in, I don't think you understand the political implications of being anti-charter.  You are basically saying that all these parents are stupid, naive, or mis-led and that you will make choices for them because you are smart, knowledgeable and know-their-kids-better-than-they-do.

                  Maybe you're right. Maybe. But are you confident enough in your position that you are willing to run candidates who are basically calling the Voters fools?

                  Look, in a perfect world the public schools would be well-funded, the average class size would be 14, and all the kids would have at least one working, involved parent. This is not that world. We need to look at politically practical solutions that solve part of the problem using the power we have.

    •  It seems to me that the word Charter Schools, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, BobboSphere

      is just another word for, Private Schools.

      Our gov't should be investing in improving financial resources to our Public Schools.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 08:50:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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