Sunday, August 27, 2006

Myths and facts

Good for the NY Times, not backing down from the stance they took two years ago on the NAEP charter school data.

Boo NY Times, getting involved in this silly, pointless argument.

But I agree with their point: that converting a school to a charter school should not be used as a cure-all for failing schools under NCLB. That the solution should address the real problem: inadequate teachers. Of course failing schools have more problems than just inadequate teachers, so it's sort of a simplistic argument. But I agree with the gist of it.

Best line in the editorial:
These studies argue for a more nuanced federal policy that does not just advocate wholesale charter conversion but instead defines and supports successful models only.
On a (barely) related note, Chris went to the Minnesota State Fair yesterday, where, amidst the livestock shows and stands selling fried food on a stick, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools had a table. He picked up a bunch of info on charter schools to help me with my job search, and also picked up their "myths and facts about charter schools." Later when he told me about it, I realized that I've written the myths and facts about charter schools one-pager so very many times -- from both sides of the issue! -- that it's a little scary. I am the myths and facts about charter schools!

But it sort of comes back to the bigger issue, which is that it's all "myths and facts about charter schools." Meaning, maybe the problem with the charter school movement is it's too politicized. It's about quantity, not quality. (i.e., "Lift the Cap!" "Moratorium!") Maybe that's why this silly argument about whether charter schools are better or worse than non-charter schools persists, and why charter leaders and teachers unions can't seem to get together on the issue. I'm afraid that the fact that it's so politicized means it will never be used as a meaningful tool to effect widespread change in public school systems.

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