Comment Rescue: The Truth About Charter Schools

Thanks to commenter Lori Michelle for putting into words what the heart of the problem is with far too many charter schools.

Charter schools, most of the time, are started by people who have read about this cool educational theory or idea that is working somewhere else (sometimes even an exclusive private school who aren’t beholden to state tests and CCSS and who can pick and choose their students and expel whoever they want…) and think it would be great to get an awful lot of grants and tax money to create a “public school” in the same model. These people are usually not educators who know better and who actually have experience with real live students. Even if these charter school founders aren’t corporate reformers trying to line their pockets with tax dollars, it takes more than good intentions and a good idea to run a school. I feel sorry, first, for the students, and second for those poor teachers who are trying to teach and earn a living under an unprepared and probably unqualified administration. Been there, done that…won’t ever do it again.

The Wolf of Delaware Part 1.5: Comment Rescue and The Wolf’s Intentions

Hope For Our Students had a brilliant comment on Part 1 of The Wolf of Delaware that I thought deserved it’s own post.  This is what Hope wrote:

“Globalization of the world market” translates to the U.S. invitation to join the Organsation of Economical Cooperation and Development (OECD) which today has 34 country-members (the United Nations has 193); so hardly a global market. The percentage of <18% may seem small, but *”OECD member countries account for 63 percent of world GDP, three-quarters of world trade, 95 percent of world official development assistance, over half of the world’s energy consumption…”

The rest of the summary is a corporate sales pitch using inaccurate PISA comparative test data to influence education policy makers of the need for education reform. This sales pitch has been regurgitated by education reformers ever since. Today, we know the data in the original reports was inaccurate for many, many reasons. Most importantly, the OECD recanted it’s original claim that poorly performing teachers and low standards were the most likely reason for poor performance of students in the United States. In 2013, the OECD issued this statement, “We know the best way to improve test scores is to lower child poverty rates and build a sense of “community” within a country’s citizenry”,

As far as the “Wolf” is concerned, he believed the sales pitch and bought the elixir from the traveling salesman like many, many others did at the time (within both parties). The problem is, he is still swearing by the product which he now knows was a hoax and it makes him look more foolish than ever. The question is, when did he stop being a victim of false advertising and perpetrator of the swindle on Delaware families? I am hopeful, The Wolf Part 2 will answer that question.

*http://usoecd.usmission.gov/mission/overview.html

I am very much inclined to agree with Hope in just about everything they wrote, with one major exception.  I do not think the Wolf was a victim of false advertising.  I think he was very much aware all along of the sales pitch.  Let’s not forget, Tough Choices was released in 2007.  The Wolf and his buddy over at Rodel were knee-deep in education reform two years earlier.  But I think the roots of this began before that.  He was just positioning himself to be at the right place at the right time when it did come around in full swing.  More on that later…

Delaware Father’s Passionate Email To The House Education Committee

This is why I blog.  Not for myself, but to get the word out to others.  I asked parents to email every single member of the Delaware House Education Committee to show their support for House Bill 50, the Parent Opt Out legislation.  One father took the baton and ran with it.  What David Brenton said in this email is nothing short of amazing, and I highly encourage every parent to come up with their own words from the heart and email every single member.

State Of Delaware Legislators,

I have 3 children in the Delaware Public School system. I am a former Delaware Public School student. Like many of your constituents, I spend a lot of time trying to make ends meet. My head down and nose to the grind stone. I and many like me have trusted you to see our children’s education is the best it can be. You have before you an opportunity to earn that trust. HB 50. Please pass it.

I have been paying attention lately. I have been to many meetings to listen to other parents, teachers, principals, and my representatives about Smarter Balanced Testing. I listened to a DDOE official tell me about the value of assessments and the data that this testing will provide. About the money we will get from the Federal Government. About how rigorous these national standards are and how they will help our children compete in the global economy. I’m sorry, I don’t agree, here is why:

Assessments, I expect a certified teacher to have the skill set to assess my child. I expect the school principal to have the skill set to assess their teachers. I expect the superintendent to have the skill set to assess their principals. If this is not the case, Someone is not doing their job!

Data Collection, At my Delaware school, I was told the difference between The USA and the USSR was freedom. “That in the USSR the young children had to take a test in school, and the results would plot their course to employment. Here In the USA you have the freedom to aspire to any type of employment if you worked hard”. I didn’t think it was a good idea then. I don’t think its a good idea now. Please forgive me if I don’t trust others with data to manipulate my children.

Money From the Federal Government, I pay taxes, I pay school taxes, I don’t care if Delaware has excepted a bribe from the DOE to set up yet another bureaucracy, It all comes from the same pocket, mine.

Rigorous National Standards, These standards were not created by educators, there was no task force that scoured the globe in search of the best educational methods and standards. In fact educational scholars refused to endorse these standards. They are not proven at all! This is experimental education and I don’t like my children used as guinea pigs.

Compete in the global economy, My generation’s education went to the moon, invented computers, internet, cell phones and much more. This is a definition of not competing I’m not familiar with. I have opted my 3rd grader out. I will opt out my older children soon. I need your support. HB50.

Proud Father David Brenton