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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Why is the Alliance for Education promoting Charters?

Here are some recent tweets from the Alliance for Education:

"Parent trigger" bill narrowly clears Michigan senate by a 20-18 vote. Parents can petition for charter conversion, turnaround plan.

Maybe it's my bias or some hypersensitivity, but these tweets strike me as a little more than just re-broadcasting news. They strike me as supportive of charter schools. Maybe it's me, but it seems that all of the news about charter schools shared by the Alliance for Education is coming from sources that are favorable to charters.

If the members of the Alliance board want to support charters that's their personal business, but the Alliance is supposed to support Seattle Public Schools. I have to believe that supporting charters is contrary to the interests of the Seattle School District. Or, again, is that just me?

The Alliance for Education has chosen to walk a narrow beam between acting as a support for Seattle Public Schools and acting as an Education Reform Advocacy Organization. They could choose to simply be a fundraising group without any policy or advocacy element, but they didn't. Now look where it puts them.

9 comments:

Disgusted said...

To me, The Alliance For Ed. is an advocacy group pushing reforms for Seattle Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, it's not for me to judge hypersensitivity, nor should it matter to the rest of us, but it does seem to be your bias to say these are supporting/promoting charters: I think these comments/twits can be read both ways.

...Which is precisely what's troubling to people who'd rather the AfE and other SPS groups take a more goodORevil dichotomy-type approach to their support and alliances -
Logic: If AfE truly wants to plant themselves as not supporting charters they'd never use such language. Also; If they'd truly like to back charters, they'd ALSO never use such language. Instead they've seemingly carefully crafted some social-marketing copy here that keeps the door open for whatever side their bread ends up getting buttered on. They are fencesitting in the extreme, but I wonder why when teachers and parents have made the majority opinion well-known here.

-Fed Up NorthSeattleParent

Charlie Mas said...

Thanks, Fed Up NorthSeattleParent.

I would actually be happy to be told that I'm just paranoid about this.

Anonymous said...

Let's be careful to separate generous but not-tied-to-nuance donors at the Alliance from the leadership of the Alliance.

I don't think most donors have an agenda. However the current CEO of the organization does seem to be a Corporate Reform Fan and does seem to use the organization's name to push that agenda whenever possible.

Is that a problem? That's for the Alliance members to decide. If you know someone who donates there, ask some hard questions about why the organization now divides the community instead of bringing it together. It wasn't always this way.

You can also choose to give time and money to other SPS-focused organizations. I made the conscious decision to go that route.

Ed Voter

Anonymous said...
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seattle citizen said...

Ed Voter, if it is a problem, it is not just for the members of the Alliance to decide. The Alliance is tightly tied to SPS. Starting about a decade or so, it started out as a sort of all-around centralizing, fundraising/cheerleader sort of organization, set up to gather and distribute funds to help teachers in classrooms. As such, it was tacitly and actively supported by SPS: SPS sits on its board.
Four or five years ago, the Alliance startd morphing into the Reform ogre we know it to be today. While I agree that we should respect the donors who believe the Alliance is doing good work, and encourage them to continue because A4E continues to do the good work of its original mission, we should also call BS on the Reform aspect that has become a big, big part of the Alliance.
It's not just the members who have a say: SPS contracts with A4E for that collecting/disbursement thing for PTSA funds, which could be seen as a vestige of the orginal relationship; SPS also has a financial relationship (or did) with the Alliance as the Alliance was the conduit which brought Gates "Strategic Plan" funding into the district, millions, for the super-reformy SP.
Citizens, through their board, have every right to look hard at the Alliance and decide if what it is doing is "right" or "wrong," not just the A4E members. A4E is enmeshed in the district.

seattle citizen said...

"super-reformy" is now copyrighted by yours truly, by the way!

Disgusted said...

Seattle Citizen,

Don't forget that the Alliance provides free board workshops to promote ed. reform initiatives i.e. taking power/control away from the board etc.

mirmac1 said...

Disgusted,

I just want to note that the last three retreats I've attended had little of the super-reformy slant. I wouldn't say the facilitators were outstanding in the "value-added" category, but at least they did not seem to diminish value so much...