The Charter Discussion

I still have to write a thread on the entire charter bill (the Senate and House bills are identical, SB 6202 and HB 2428) and a thread on why charters I think charters are a bad idea for our state.   But let's catch up on what others are saying.

First, the Times.  Oh Times, you always slay me.  Always out the gate with that bad "teachers union."  Seriously, first thing.  Then, they always get something factually wrong (and I ask them to cite the page and line for this):

Each would be required to adopt a specific plan to serve educationally disadvantaged children.

I've read the bill twice and I'm going to read it again but I do not see that statement anywhere but it sure looks good in print.  

Then they have their funniest line (but I give them credit for printing it): 

Nationally, about 20 percent of charter schools have been found to do a better job of educating students than public schools. Part and parcel of bringing charters to this state is to learn what those successful charters are doing and do it here.

You don't need me to tell you what the question is that both the readers of this editorial AND those reading the story over at The Stranger Slog all ask:  You mean that 80% of charters aren't better than public schools?   Quite the vote of confidence and sound reasoning to create fundamental change in an entire education system.  They are right about learning from charters but you don't have to have charters to learn from them. 

(One aside; there is this talking point on the pro side that charters are just a "tool in the education toolbox."  No, they're not.  You do not have this kind of sweeping change to a system and call it a "tool."  Or you hear "oh, let's try a couple."  This is NOT a pilot program - it's a new law.  You can't just undo a law once enacted.)


MathTeacher42 said…
I wonder if 20% of the public schools do better than the other 80%?
David said…
Exactly, the statement is completely vacuous. By definition, the top 20% is better than the bottom 80%. We just as easily could say: "Nationally, about 20 percent of public schools do a better job of educating students than other schools, and we should learn what those successful schools are doing and do more of it here."
CT said…
I'm betting that the lame charter "forum" gets snowed out tomorrow night.... Either that or no one shows because they're worried about the snow.
Just a guess.
Anonymous said…
One if Four in the bottom quartile!

Just for Fun
Anonymous said…
In the anti-charter crowd there are power players, the people who decide where the checks go. Since these power players obey the 'birds of a feather flock together' rule as much as anyone, the power players hire, figuratively, their neighbors - fellow residents of the nice neighborhoods where everyone is from the top 20% of household income.

Anyone who has paid attention to what has happened to the bottom 80% or 90% of the population for the last 20 and 30 years should notice that the top 20% aren't very good at fighting for the bottom 80% - they actually excel at compromises which hurt them only a little at a time, but, compromises which have resulted in a highway leading to poverty and not even a sidewalk out. (Suze Orman paraphrase.)

If the power players of the anti-charter crowd weren't incompetent, or sold out, they'd hire some karl rove types for their side. A karl rove type would take this 20% claim and make the people using that 20% claim into laughing stocks.

While our Seattle bloggers do great work picking apart the lies and the inconsistencies, things really need to go to the next step.

The venal string pullers of 20% crowd should be politically destroyed - they should be laughed off of stages, ridiculed and hooted at as buffoons. While there are many who mean well in the charter crowd who are busy and who are just repeating things which kind of sound 'reasonable', the venal string puller people who are calling the shots really need a dose of their own medicine.

Just for Fun, very funny. Thanks for the link. I also liked the line at the end:

"We must improve our schools now — and to do it, we must have an effective teacher under 25 years of age in every classroom."

TFA, anyone?
Jet City mom said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said…
I expect there are those out there who will think this blog is serious & take it upon themselves to implement the ideas.

You only have to wait 48 hours to get a gun, why should you have to wait five weeks to be a teacher. If I am a brilliant young college student with so much to offer students, I want to do it now. In five weeks I may well be onto something else.
For that matter, the two year commitment seems extremely archaic. When you think about it, two years is the length of time Russell Brand was married to Katy Perry plus the length of time Kim Khardashian was married to Kris Humphries plus the length of time it would take to stream the new Bear in Heaven album in its super slowed down speed at In other words, 2 years is forever.
caroline said…
Anonymous's comment is really amusing, especially when it's made on Bill Gates' home turf. Even the corporate-"reform" voices lament the fact that our side -- the public school advocates who challenge the so-called-"reform" hype -- are mostly scrappy, rough-around-the-edges teachers and parents (like me) who are doing our advocacy as unpaid volunteerism, aka the 99%. By contrast, the corporate "reform" side consists of polished paid professional operatives, part of or acting on behalf of the 1%.

Blogger Alexander Russo of This Week in Education (funded by Scholastic) recently griped that the side he plainly favors is losing the debate in the online sphere, the turf of the 99%, especially since their situation gives them no credibility compared to real educators and parents.

Russo, confusingly, referred to us (the 99%) as "Goliath," getting his imagery awfully confused. But you get his point. Here's an excerpt.

"There's a strange dynamic going on inside the online education reform debate in which the well-funded reformers play the role of wimpy David and the scrappy traditional educators are Goliath. … As anyone who reads education sites or goes on Twitter knows, "reform critics" -- they're still working on a better term to describe their views -- have a slew of current teachers and veterans out there talking about their classroom experiences and opinions nearly every day. Nancy Flanagan, TeacherKen, Anthony Cody, and John Thompson to name just a few. It's not just that they're out there shouting randomly into the wind, either. At least some of them seem to be coordinated behind the scenes by SOS (Save our Schools) or PAA (Parents Across America) or Leonie's listserv (parent activist Leonie Haimson’s NYCPublicSchoolParents), bird-dogging individual sites -- Caroline Grannan seems to have been (self-)assigned to this site -- and converging on a blog post or Twitter comment (as happened to me last week when I first posted on this topic). If past experience is any guideline, the comments here and Twitter RTs will come from them.
In contrast, reformy folks have lacked a SWAT team of feisty and prolific school-level champions defending articulating their message. The now middle-aged reform movement seems to have relied on institutional and organizational voices -- Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Kopp, et al -- and mainstream news outlets, where they dominate. But these voices are neither coming from the classroom nor active in the online debate during the days and weeks between mainstream news stories, which are an increasingly large part of the education discussion. … But those folks aren't numerous or prolific or tenacious or, ultimately, credible enough, either. They are too self-important to leave comments on other sites, and too professional to post on weekends or after hours when everyone else with a day job is most active."

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