- Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress is a Must-Watch Documentary for Educators - May 7, 2021
- The Experiential Illiterates - February 13, 2014
- Fordham and Hess Temporarily Acknowledge that Reformers Can't Have it Both Ways - January 23, 2014
- Disproportionate Evaluative Rigor and The Three Laws of Data - January 14, 2014
- Teaching: The Card Game - January 10, 2014
- The Tyranny of the Datum - January 6, 2014
- Ed Reform's Atari Problem - January 4, 2014
- Five New Years Resolutions for Public Education Supporters - December 31, 2013
- The Wizards of Ed- The Conundrum of Education - December 30, 2013
- The Exhaustion of the American Teacher - December 26, 2013
This is a cross-post from EdGator.com.
Several recent articles deal with charter school applications that contain copied passages. Since one of the main tasks of a democratic education is to produce ethical leaders, I have a visceral reaction to questionable shortcuts, especially academic dishonesty like potential plagiarism, being employed in setting up a school.
I have acquaintances who are enthusiastic proponents of charter schools. And probably, if I shared their backgrounds and the perspectives that grew out of them, I would be a charter booster too. If I had grown up or had raised my kids in an area where public schools were terrible, where--as conventional public school criticism holds--the adults were out for themselves and the kids were out of luck, I too would demand a fix. And if things never got better, I would eventually stop demanding elusive fixes and start demanding alternatives.
But that wasn't ever my experience in the public schools I've known. As a student once and now as a parent and an educator, my experience has been limited to fine schools; imperfect, sure, and full of imperfect teachers who tried hard to teach kids from a variety of backgrounds. I've never seen the heartlessness among teachers that is ascribed to them so frequently, that is regularly posited as the prime source of our malaise.
I don't think charters are bad. Some are great, though they clearly enjoy tactical advantages, which is kind of the point. But they're not all KIPP. The charter sector is the Wild West right now. The stories of graft and harm to kids from adult-centric charter schools are easy to find, if you care to look.
I realize that not all American public school students walk away with memories as nostalgic as mine, and I think that's tragic. That's why I support equitable funding and robust social supports inside and outside of our schools along with sensible accountability policies that ensure a guaranteed curriculum and highly-trained, highly-esteemed teaching professionals delivering quality instruction to all kids.
That's a little more daunting, perhaps, than closing down public schools and inviting philanthropists and swindlers to open new ones. Opening charters as quickly as possible, however, is proving decisively to be no magic answer. After all, failing traditional schools, however numerous, are certainly no more commonplace than failing charter schools.
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