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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cleve Warren’s well spent 255 bucks or Darryl Willie’s 30 pieces of silver

A question came up about single gender schools at the district 4 school board forum and Darryl Willie was enthusiastically for them practically more so than for anything else. He sung their praises mightily.

The problem is the research is very mixed to say the least. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer on whether they make a difference or not and for somebody who frequently talks about following the data his response seemed out of place. 

If I would have been asked the question I would have answered, I don’t think they will make a bit of difference plus as important as the quadratic formula or the period table are so is teaching young men and women how to be successful together. I do however think that districts need to experiment and try new things and then see what the data says.

It struck me though how enthusiastic Willie was but then I remembered that the operator of two just opening single gender charter schools, Cleve Warren had donated to his campaign. Now the sum was just 255 dollars, not much, but Warren also opened the door to Willie for other charter school operators and their representatives to give him thousands and thousands of dollars.    

From a WJCT piece about the debate:  Willie and Wright were also asked about their stance on charter schools. Both said that the job will involve some cooperation with the existing charter schools. They also said it will involve focusing more on the quality of education offered in traditional public schools.
“We have to have more charter schools, but we also have to hold them more accountable,” Willie said.

Um, why do we have to have more charter schools? Most are defacto publicly funded private schools more interested in making money for their owners than educating their kids and yes before I get a thousand e-mails some do it right, and even I think they have a role to play but they system Florida has now is abysmal and is doing much more harm than good.

In Florida over 260 have opened, taken public money and closed leaving communities in a lurch including 13 in Jacksonville alone. A piece by Julie Delagul recently outline how the cities charter schools as a group are way under performing, despite advantages like who they take and keep and being able to put requirements on parents, when compared to their public school counterparts and before you point to the KIPP school let me remind you they spend about a quarter more than public schools do and nobody has been able to tell me what happened to a quarter of their first class. Sure some matriculated out but KIPP has a reputation for forcing low performers out too. And their grades have been F, B, C, protected by the one letter grade drop rule and B. Pretty mediocre for a school that specializes in kill and drill education.

So why does Willie think we need more charter schools especially when we have so many schools under enrolled as it is and the ones we have now aren't good (as a group) ? Oh I know it’s because his donors want more charter schools, that’s the only reason I can think of because facts and evidence say we have way more than we need as it is.

How much does it cost for one to sell out a community and attempt to funnel their kids to substandard options? Look at Darryl Willie’s list of donors to know.

Thirty pieces of silver.


  1. "The only real difference between for-profit and nonprofit schools is that while for-profits are run for the benefit of their owners, nonprofits are run for the benefit of the most-powerful stakeholders within those institutions." - recent article in the Atlantic. To say there are no greedy interests being protected at the expense of students within an entirely non-profit setting is being intellectually dishonest at best. The board's vote to reinstate the teacher who regularly cusses at her students using racial epithets is a prime example. Or the whole purpose for QEA in the first place, which was to circumvent the union's failure to collective bargain for a swift, cost-effective and fair hiring and firing process that removes ineffective teachers without having to cost tax payers six figures' worth for a due process. At least in charter schools, they are not entitled to such due process and can be fired on the spot.

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  3. Hmm, yes it's the unions fault, they caused all the problems in education. Damn unions insisting teachers have work protections, talk about selfish.

    I have written about the edutocracy before and how some people in the public sector are doing very well (not charter school owner well but pretty well nevertheless), with that being said, I'm not sure you know why teachers (and employees in general) should have work protections.

    Here is a little help, and I hope while you are reading it, I hope your boss doesn't fire you because their nephew thinks they can do your job.

  4. Here's the deal. At most schools, the turnover is so enormous. Most truly ineffective teachers don't stay for long. In most schools, 2 or 3 are awful, some are developing, most are adequate and hardworking, and about 25% are absolutely outstanding. This is true for most places of employment.
    The problem is without some kind of due process, good or great teachers could be fired for disagreeing with administration about how to run a class, teach a subject, advocate for a student, hold leaders accountable, etc. It is a complete myth that all or most teachers are ineffective, and I would argue that most people could not even define the qualities of a good teacher, let alone demonstrate them on a consistent basis in the modern classroom.
    Plus, concerning charter schools, how public schools finance their schools, teachers, admin, etc., is public knowledge. Where is the accountability with charters? Consider the attrition rate of both teachers and students. There is a reason for that.
    I grew up in private school from K-12, and I would choose almost any public school over private or charter.