Why does this olive branch have thorns?

There's yet another pro-charter op-ed in the Seattle Times. This one by Robin Lake of the Center for the Reinvention of Public Education.

While pretending to offer cooperation and reconciliation to charter school opponents following the passage of the new charter school law, Dr. Lake takes a number of shots at the other side and defines cooperation as "You abandon your position and adopt mine."


Catherine said…
"Why does this olive branch have thorns?" because it's a Trojan Horse.
Eric B said…
My favorite part of that piece was the rhetorical question about there being any reason that charters and public schools couldn't work together on McCleary. My answer: no, but it's been awfully lonely over here in McCleary-land while the charters have all been somewhere else. It would be a very nice trust-building moment if charters did decide to lobby on behalf of McCleary.
Anonymous said…
Eric B, that's a laugh. The charter schools and their supporters could run a multi-million dollar campaign in support of McCleary and the WEA and their blogger supporters like Melissa/Charlie and Dora/Carolyn would still work just as hard to kill charter schools.

The fact of this thread is every indication of that. Robin Lake does, in fact, offer an olive branch and Charlie sees thorns and stomps it into the ground.

Go check out Charlie's rah-rah for WEA's lawsuit in the comments on the ST article. Melissa and Charlie have no interest in partnerships and trust-building with ANYONE in the "corporate reform movement." They get too much juice from sowing discord and inciting rancor. Melissa doesn't even think of charter school parents as "real" public school parents. Why would she trust them?

Gag Reflex
seattle citizen said…
Gag Reflex -
Charter supporters won't run a multi-million dollar campaign in support of McCleary - they're too busy shoveling money into the charter campaign (Gates alone has spent over $50,000,000 trying to buy policy, trying to insert charters into Washington, over the last four years.)

Gates also pays Lake's salary - CRPE is well known as a Gates-supported pro-charter "institute." Her opinion piece isn't an olive branch; it's a dismissal of valid critiques of charters, which is what we would expect from her. You think CRPE would cast a critical eye on charters?

Why would anyone want to partner with an unconstitutional entity? Why would anyone trust an industry that has spent years being untrustworthy, via its massaged data, its rainbow and unicorn celebration of free market schools, its misinformation about public school teachers and efficacy.....Why on earth would anyone who has watched this trashing of public schools "trust" Lake or charters?
Anonymous said…
Thank you, seattle citizen. I appreciate your honest assessment of the hopeless "trust-building" so laughably put forth by Eric B.

Gag Reflex
NO 1240 said…

The new charter law is in the courts and we have a teacher shortage. Grant funding will be used to provide teachers for Rainier Prep charter school:

"Over the next two years, grant funding will support 16 new teachers for Sumner and Rainier Prep and lay the foundation for further expansions of UW's teacher preparation programs."

NO 1240 said…
...what Catherine says....

Cheezman said…
On what basis other than your own well known bias and track record of aversion to rational argument and discussion to you make the conclusory statement that Robin Lake is "pretending to offer" reconciliation? I'm sure you have some sort of college degree and you hold yourself out as an expert on things education. It baffles me then that you (and your co hosts of this blog) offer up only red meat unsupported platitudes for your like minded readers, rather than an actual discussion about legitimate issues? In other words, can you explain why you choose the course of intellectual bankruptcy? Laziness? Inertia? Ego and arrogance? Why?
seattle citizen said…
Gag Reflex, Eric suggests that the charter industry could build trust. I doubt that they can, not anytime soon. Eric, perhaps, holds out some small hope that the charter industry will work to fulfill McCleary, yet the whole industry is predicated on tearing down public schools, not building them up, so why should we expect differently now?

Unless they undertake a feel-good "we're all in this together" sort of action, not heartfelt (and already too late) but designed only to build public opinion....Remember the charter email from one charterite suggesting charter kids do a bake sale, like those public school supporters were doing, in order to get media attention on charters?

Lake's piece is yet another PR piece, designed to malign those of us against charters. While she claims to want to build bridges, she spends a large part of her piece disrespecting those against charters and very little discussing the failings of charter supporters....Why would we trust her? Or, really, any charter industry rep?

All we can do is wonder what WILL Strategies 360 (the preferred PR team of the Gates charter warriors) do next to sell charters, through CRPE, OSC, P4L, or any other of their astroturf mouthpieces?
seattle citizen said…
Cheezman, do you see any "rational discussion of legitimate issues" in Ms. Lake's piece? She basically wants us to accept charters as a done deal, debate over, let's move on...She wants to cut off rational discourse. She claims that charters have addressed the court's concerns but has no interest in having that theory tested by the courts; in fact, she accuses those who would do so as being anchors, keeping us from moving forward.

Hers is a tack opposite rational discourse. Where democracy allows discourse in its process (particularly through law: proposed; comment; legislative; executive; court...repeat as necessary), she would just say, "let's move on, nothing to see here..."

Bah. Phooey on that.
NO 1240 said…
Lastly, Ms. Robin Lake will not tell you that DFER wants to lift the cap on charter schools.

Tax dollars will be used for legal fees for another charter bill.
NO 1240 said…

According to K5, it may take two months to develop filing.


What is to become of I 1240? I 1240 is still in the court system.
Charlie Mas said…
Actually I've had a number of wonderful conversations with Dr. Lake. I genuinely like her and we agree on much more than we disagree on.

I wrote that the olive branch had thorns because it did. I could point them out if anyone really does have trouble finding them.
Anonymous said…
Charlie, Robin Lake has no PhD. She holds an MPA.
Anonymous said…
seattle citizen and NO 1240 continue to clearly articulate their "burn, baby, burn" mentality. Trust-building is of little to no use. Why bother?

And Charlie, even if you think there are thorns, don't you at least attempt to reach for it? Probably not, right? Besides, did you offer an olive branch yourself, thorny or no? Of course not, your MO is to launch grenades. [Excuse my mixed metaphors.]

Gag Reflex
Eric B said…
Gag Reflex, charter supporters were in Olympia for weeks or months this year. They held numerous photo ops with their students, busing them in en masse. They blasted from the rooftops that charters had to get done now, no matter what, or these [pick a number between 500 and 1200] students would be eating dirt for the rest of their lives. OK, the last is a little exaggeration, but not by much.

In all of these calls for action, was there anything at all about McCleary funding? Did a parent or student testifying give a single sentence for the unconstitutional underfunding of ALL WA schools? I didn't hear about it if they did, and I'd be glad to be proven wrong.

So it's particularly galling to have Lake come back now, after charters got what they wanted but McCleary supporters didn't, and say that there's no reason we can't all get along with the legislature and work toward common goals. If they had any interest in working toward McCleary, they would have said something in the last session. A couple of sentences would have done it. But they didn't. They (and their advertising backers) made it abundantly clear that the only education issue that was important in their minds was charters. And that's why they have to make the next move on trust-building. Because they just told us with their actions that they aren't interested in working together.
IGagToo said…
I have a gag reflex, too. I gagged when Tacoma received 3 charter schools. Charter schools drained funds and the district was forced to increase high school class sizes. The board considered asking for legislative relief.

Summit charter school's population was not entirely from the south end; the population for which they were intended. North-end families, and students from mid-level private schools are enrolled in Summit Sierra.

Charter schools drain funds from public schools, and the legislature has NO intention of limiting charter schools in cities.
Mark Ahlness said…
From a retired SPS teacher - there are many of us out there following along with the insanity because we understand the issues and still care - this op-ed is unbelievable.

I know, add it to the pile. Thanks anyway - Mark
Here's what's missing from her op-ed:

• Commitment among charter supporters to help fully fund our public schools

• Acknowledgement of fact that charter schools are resegregating public schools

• Acknowledgement of fact that charter schools help defund public schools

• Any mention of massive charter school fraud

• Any mention of charter schools recreating the school-to-prison pipeline by disciplining black kids at for times the rate of white kids

• The Milwaukee charter school that's shutting down in the middle of the year

• Any reference to the massive mobilization against charter schools among people of color in urban areas across America

Robin Lake is making it very clear all she cares about it helping rich people profit off of the privatization of public schools. She doesn't get to declare victory and demand we all just quietly fall in line.

Guess what, Robin? This battle is only just getting started.
Teacher Greg said…
The corporate charter school movement is a scam, plain and simple. If they wanted to "fix" public education (which always assumes that it is "broken" in the first place) there are a lot of other routes to take than shoveling public money into the black hole that is corporate charter finance.

Public education works just fine in areas that have cash (go figure) and in areas that don't it is "broken" -- but of course "more money won't 'fix' it" claim the reformsters. Yet, that is the exact approach they take with their own children -- higher per pupil spending on students with limited needs and lower per pupil spending where students need it most.

The corporate charter approach of sitting students from poorer backgrounds in front of a computer screen with a first year "teacher" with no training isn't "innovation", it should be illegal. I hope a parent bilked by these charters sues for false advertising -- like the Summit claim that 100% of their students go to college (see the public hearing transcript before the defunct charter commission as proof they made this statement).

I'm still (and will probably always remain) disgusted with Governor Inslee for allowing this bill to become law (again). No wonder no one respects Democrats, they don't even stand by their core principles.
Charlie Mas said…
I'm amused by those who insult me as they ask me to be the first to reach across to those on the other side of the debate. In part because I they can't really insult me since they don't know me or anything about me and in part because I did this and continue to do it all the time. I asked for a meeting and met with Robin Lake. I asked for a meeting and met with the proponents of the charter school bill. I've met with Liv Finne a couple times. In all cases we had pleasant conversations that went directly to the substance of the question and were not only civil, not only courteous, but friendly. No one's mind was changed, but we came away with mutual respect and a better understanding of the other side's view.

I am, at times, a rabble-rouser who is trys to get people worked up so they will take action. Not in this case. There is no action to take. The process will work itself out and the law will either survive the court challenge or it won't. Either way we all still need to go forward and do our best for all children whether they are in public, private, or charter schools.
Charlie Mas said…
Also, I cannot help but notice that no one has suggested that Robin Lake's column didn't include a lot of hostile words for those who oppose charter schools.
Teacher Greg said…
Charlie, what if one believes, as I do based on a lot of evidence, that charter schools harm children and harm the public school system in general. In that case, I view becoming a bystander to the process as being complicit in that harm. Accepting that it's up to the courts to decide isn't enough action in my view. What exactly one person can do remains to be seen, but I know I'm far from alone, and I know that in the really long run these scams will destroy themselves...i just want to reduce or eliminate the harm they cause before that happens.
seattle citizen said…
Gag Reflex, your accusation that I advocate for "burn baby, burn" is ridiculous. Public schools have existed in this country for over a century, constantly evolving even with limited funding and enormous pressure. I advocate for supporting them.
The charter movement morphed from a laboratory model in support of publuc schools into a beast that thrives on the destruction of public schools. Their advertising, their "research," their advocacy is all geared to painting publuc schools as "failing" and public teachers as "union."
The modern charter industry is the arson, burning public schools so as to build charters on the smoking ruins.
Fighting against arsonists isn't arson.
Anonymous said…
seattle citizen, dude, you just gave me a huge belly laugh. You seriously need to look at yourself in the mirror. Of the members of this "community," you are one of the most negative, vitriolic, and rancorous. If ANYONE comes here to make a comment in support of charter schools, testing, teacher evaluation, or any policy that you attribute to "corporate ed reformers," you go on the attack. Seriously. You are snide, dismissive, divisive, sarcastic, insulting, superior, elitist, and just downright angry.

And the fact that you operate in a self-righteous and self-justifying manner only adds to the confrontational demeanor you project.

And the fact that you don't see this is what is ridiculous.

seattle citizen said…
Thanks for the substantive response to my comment, GR!
You're right, of course. Most "ed reform" crappola DOES get my hackles up. And since I can send half a million to the Times, like Gates did, all I have is this little blog...community...within which to spew my vitriolic rancor.
I mean, why WOULD I hold rancor against ed reformers? They LOVE public schools, just like I do!
seattle citizen said…
Now that I think about it, Gag Reflex, I'll note that your only comments on this thread are mainly just rancorous attacks on Eric, Melissa, Charlie, me and others. You've only been commenting on this blog for a short time, only on charters (you like them, got it) and mainly you just attack those of us against them. When did I attack YOU? I direct my comments at the issues (and, yes, the policy makers or players in the charter industry.) YOU attack us. Typical tactic, call the character of your opponent into question...
Let's take a peek at you two comments on this thread, shall we? Here's the meat of them, your points:
Comment 1: "Eric B, that's a laugh. The charter schools [could support McCleary yet] blogger supporters like Melissa/Charlie and Dora/Carolyn would still work just as hard to kill charter schools....Charlie sees thorns and stomps it into the ground....Charlie's rah-rah....Melissa and Charlie have no interest in partnerships and trust-building...They get too much juice from sowing discord and inciting rancor. Melissa doesn't even think of charter school parents as 'real' public school parent..."
Comment 2:"seattle citizen and NO 1240 continue to clearly articulate their "burn, baby, burn" mentality...And Charlie...your MO is to launch grenades."
No vitriol there, GR! Nope, not you!
Try addressing the points, the issues, instead of attacking us. You can do it!
Well, I'm not quite back but nearly.

I'm not here to sow discord but to ask hard questions in all directions which is surely not the goal of corporate ed reform.

My point in say "real public school parents' is because to have parents who are in "public schools" go to Olympia, week after week, and none of them raise their voice in unison with their schools for McCleary makes me very sad. After all, their schools will benefit from McCleary fulfillment as well.

Here's part of my comment at the Times:

"The question in Washington is: what now? Can we recognize that creating a small number of schools designed to serve our neediest students need not detract from our fight to improve all public schools? Can we find ways to build collaborative relationships between district and charter schools to share best practices? Can charter and district parents join forces to push the Legislature to fully fund public schools? Can we consider what’s best for all of Washington’s students, regardless of what their school is called?"

Disingenuous and wrong.

What is the question? The REAL question is how Ms. Lake - or any corporate ed reformer - truly knows how Washington State Schools are doing without them being fully funded. How does she - or any legislator - know for certain that if our real public schools were fully funded, that we would not be doing better for ALL students across the board? And the answer is....she doesn't.

I will have a thread on this uptick of personal attacks on Charlie and myself. Clearly, we must be doing something right if pure discourse and argument are leading a few to go hardcore personal. It won't work and I would remind readers to watch their tone,please.
Jan said…
Bravo Robert (and of course, Charlie -- for starting this conversation): Like Robert, I used to wait (in vain, it turns out) for the charter school movement to address their glaring problems -- suspension/expulsion rates, the economic harm to public schools in districts where multiple charters opened, the exclusion/refusal to serve special ed kids, the growing evidence of fraud, corruption, and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

As it became clearer to me that the entire movement was not about improving public education, but rather destroying it, I stopped waiting for that conversation. Robert's list of subjects that Robin Lake should have, could have addressed -- had she wanted to actually bridge the divide and work collaboratively with those who are working to preserve what is left of public schools -- is a great list. The fact that Ms. Lake is fully enmeshed with those who seek only to destroy public education by privatizing it is, of course, why none of those issues would never be addressed.
Jan said…
And Melissa -- I don't mean to leave you out here. Your comment -- that you and Charlie must be doing something right, as you are starting to attract a steady stream of personal attacks (hard for there to be attacks on the issues, as many of the positions espoused by the charter reformers are indefensible, once you expose the gaps in both evidence and logic of much of the jingoistic veneer -- so personal sniping is what is left) is, in my opinion, correct.
JulietteF said…
Trust isn't built. It's earned.

Integrity/credibility is something you generally only get to lose once.

Juliette, I would agree with your first point wholeheartedly.

Your second point? I think people make mistakes (intentional or not) in their lives and it would seem unfair to say a person is done for one thing (obviously not something major like murder, perjury, etc.)

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