Monday, April 25, 2011

A rose by any other name.... would still push for charter schools.

The Renaissance School Fund is changing its name to New Schools for Chicago, but it is still pushing to turnaround schools it considers failing. At least it is now recognizing that some of the charter schools which were seen as the solution are actually part of the problem.

From Catalyst 

Ty Fahner, the president of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago is quoted in the article as saying, “But we’re not going to continue to make-believe that just because it’s a charter that makes it better. That’s not the case.” So why is the Commercial Club of Chicago still pushing charters?

One thing that the CTU spokesperson left out of her critique of charters in the article is that nationally only 17% do any better than neighborhood schools... even with additional private funds and the (intentional or not) skimming of the most motivated students and families and filtering out the most difficult and expensive to educate students.

I'm glad that there is finally an admission that just being a charter school does nothing to improve a school. Maybe we can shift the debate to improving all schools which serve the most high need students.

Nobody ever called for charters in the Northshore suburbs where schools are well funded and students don't suffer the ill-effects of poverty and marginalization. Those schools have strong teachers unions, elected school boards and superintendents rather than CEOs. Nobody is trying to run Northshore or private schools on the corporate model, why do we think that low income kids need schools "turnedaround" by the Commercial Club of Chicago?

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