Well, this is disturbing.
It appears that some of the media are going to subtly help the charter movement. I thought it was a blip but it is happening more and more.
#1 Brian Rosenthal at the Times wrote this on July 2nd:
In the 41 states where they exist, charters have sometimes outperformed
That's the entire sentence. Now Mr. Rosenthal says he "struggled" with that sentence but he felt the inference was there that some didn't outperform schools.
Really? When you stack the sentence with "41 states" and "outperformed", I think the inference is that they did perform well everywhere at a good rate. And we all know that charters do NOT outperform traditional schools in any district, in any state in the union.
#2 Then, in another story, he again uses bland language to make this same point (although he manages to stick in a counterpoint):
While the schools sometimes have proved more effective than traditional
schools in the 41 states where they exist, opponents criticize their use
of nonunion teachers and argue that money shouldn't be diverted from
Again, pretty vague on that "sometimes" stuff and he keeps the 41 states part.
#3 Then, we have the curious case of KING 5 news and their story on 1240. They interviewed Shannon Campion of Stand for Children and Dora Taylor of the Seattle Education blog. When you watch it, you know something is off but it wasn't until I
counted the number of times each appeared on camera that I got it.
Folks, I have done many of these interviews and we have all watched them. Basically, it's some close-ups and then long shots with the reporter talking over the long shots.
In this piece, there are 6 close-ups of Campion; there is 1 of Taylor. No long shots of Campion and two of Taylor with Taylor's voiceover (not the reporter's who in this case is Robert Mak). Very odd.
#4 Lastly, we have an AP story from reporter Donna Blankenship that is riddled with errors and assumptions. She also says "research" without ever citing what research.
The campuses offer options for parents frustrated with regular public
First of all, not all parents who choose charters are "frustrated" with traditional schools. Many go for the program.
Some research have found these independent public schools are
especially good at helping minority and low-income students improve
their learning, close the achievement gap and head to college.
Helping out with Yes on 1240 much? There is NO definitive proof that charters close the achievement gap and get kids to college. Even KIPP won't say they can do that all the time.
One of her biggest errors? Getting the CREDO stats wrong AND not stating what research she was referencing in this paragraph.
Some research shows charter schools have been either OK, good or great
for students in 41 other states and the District of Columbia. But a
study of the impact of the charter school movement from Stanford
University also found about half of charter schools were no better than
traditional public schools, a quarter were worse and a quarter improved
In her first sentence there, I'd have to see that research that leaves out poor results as an answer. In the second sentence she just has the rest wrong.
She gets details of the initiative wrong or only partially right:
- Religious charters would not be allowed. True but only partially so. It would allow religion as part of a "themed" school that is ethnically-themed. There are several of these in Minneapolis and, as well, the largest charter group in the country is Turkish-based and imports Turkish teachers. Part of their curriculum includes religion in Turkey.
- The other possible charter "authorizer" would be a statewide board. She leaves out that there is no oversight of the Charter Commission by anyone nor is there any way to remove members. But voters don't need to know that information.
- School districts could turn over low-achieving schools to a charter
operator. I believe this is wrong and I'd like her to tell me the section because I haven't found it. This is about the Conversion Charters and the district has NOTHING to do with it. It's all about a petition that has to be signed by a majority of parents OR teachers and it allows the charter to take over ANY school, failing or not.
I guess voters don't need to know that information either.
Is this sloppy researching, writing or editing? I don't know but if you are a voter, based on the writing, you would believe that charters do well a lot more of the time than they do.
Maddening and disappointing.