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Monday, August 19, 2013

Don’t you sometimes wish superintendent Vitti were more passionate about public schools?

Disclaimer, I like Vitti and I really think if he goes through with what he has said he wants to see, teachers as valued and respected colleagues, rather than trained chimps who are only supposed to push play on a VCR without question, then I really think the district has a chance of seeing great improvement. But at the same time I really wish he were a little more passionate about our public schools. 

In an article about Charter schools in the Times Union he said, “Charter school students are not outperforming students in traditional Duval County Public Schools, the data says that.” 

That was nice of him to say and all but where is his reference to the Stanford Credo, which said charter schools despite huge advantages perform worse than public schools. Where was his cry about the hundreds of Florida charter schools that have closed here in Florida, how dozens of Florida legislators or their friends and family members have made a nice living off charter schools and where was his shout that if parents really cared about their children then they would do the research and the research would show that public schools (as a group) greatly out perform charter schools (as a group).

Instead we get: “What the charter movement has shown is that we can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing,” he said. “What we’re looking at is the reality of competition.”

He says it as easily as I would say the sky is blue and puppies are cute. I wonder how many people say the say thing about cancer, it’s just a reality, or racism, nothing we can do about it.

The reality is, that as a group despite huge advantages charters perform worse than public schools and that is the only reality he and the public should be concerned about.

If charter schools were all high quality teacher/parent driven laboratories of innovation, that were used as a supplement to public schools not as a replacement, then I would probably feel the same way as the super but they aren’t. They are publicly funded private schools that offer an inferior product and line the pockets of people more concerned with the bottom line than the fate of our children.

I want the super to unapologetically fight for public schools and the thing is he has data and facts to back up that argument.

I like the super but when he attends panels with anti-public school advocates like Chartrand and Bush, when he goes to conferences designed to find ways to attract more charter schools to town and when he gives a tepid nod to public schools over charter schools, I can’t help but wish he was a little more passionate about public schools. After all the evidence says he should be.

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