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Friday, May 16, 2014

Charter school proponents don't let facts get in thier way.

One of the frequent questions I have to charter school proponents is if they have such innovative practices then why don’t they share them with public schools? Public schools always share their best practices with each other but for some reason charter schools seem exempt.  Then when asked what these magical innovations are they often can’t articulate them.

Maybe the truth is they really aren’t doing anything much different from public schools. In a letter to the editor John Maloney talked about all the individual attention kids in charter schools receive and he implies that does not take place in public schools. Mr. Maloney must have never heard of differentiated instruction a tactic teachers employ to meet children individually and a practice that has been around since the dawn of public schools.

He then went on to criticize Patrick Murphy for voting against school choice and to give charters a lot more credit than they deserve.

I was actually proud that Patrick Murphy voted no on the choice amendment because he recognizes that the legislature isn’t funding private schools like the one that he went to. Instead they were funding schools, some without certified teachers, some even employing teachers without degrees, recognized curriculums and with no way to assess accountability. Murphy wasn’t voting against choice, he was voting against a lack of accountability.

Maloney is right charter schools are not inherently better than public schools. No they are worse.  Despite taking fewer disabled and English as a second language learners and often counseling out behavior problems and poor performers, if you were attending a charter school you were five times more likely to be attending a failing school than if you were attending a public school and the Stanford credo says despite the advantages outlined above charter school students as a group lag behind their public school counterparts.  he is right about poor performing charter schools closing too as over 250 have opened, taken public money and then closed leaving families and communities in the lurch.  

I also love how these guys point to one or two shining examples of choice school success but then ask you to ignore the schools in abandon strip malls that have teachers with AA degrees teach creationism as science.

Finally for parents who want a religious education, don’t like gov’ment schools or have an irrational hatred of unions then choice may be a viable option for you, but should the public be subsidizing those choices? Public schools, warts and all, many created by the proponents of choice looking to manufacture a crisis then profit off it, as a group are the best thing going. The answer is to fix our problems not to out-source our kid’s education to sub-standard options.

To read the original piece click the link:

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