LEFT VS. RIGHT; Charter Schools Are Charter Schools a Good Deal for Public Education?

The Florida Times Union, December 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

LEFT VS. RIGHT; Charter Schools Are Charter Schools a Good Deal for Public Education?


Pro: Cleve Warren is a business and civic leader who is actively involved in a local charter school.

Con: Chris Guerrieri is a teacher who often blogs on public education issues.

CHARTER SUPPORTERS MEAN WELL, BUT INTENTIONS HAVEN'T WORKED

Chris Guerrieri

I need more words than can fit into this space to describe how several lawmakers who support charters have profited from them.

I would need to explain how Florida's charter schools disproportionately exclude disabled and English as a second language children or how charter schools often cherry pick the best learners and then counsel out the underachievers.

I would want to talk about the millions of dollars siphoned out of education to pay charter school management fees, or how charter schools are reintroducing segregation and that charter schools are seven times more likely to be failing.

I would need more space to discuss all the charter school scandals over the years, though I would start with the principal of the failed charter school with an enrollment of 160 kids who made more than $800,000 in 2011.

To give you some scale, our superintendent manages about 180 schools with 123,000 students and makes $275,000.

I would need to debunk the state's charter school study that said charters were performing better than public schools.

I would start by pointing out the state didn't include 40 percent of charter schools in the study, and charters can have additional requirements of their parents.

Also, charter schools only performed better by a point or two here and there in just a few categories.

I could document all the studies that say charter schools are a bad investment and how public schools, despite their warts, are the best thing going.

I could discuss how Sen. John Thrasher doesn't think charters are good enough for St. Johns County but are just fine for the poor black kids of Jacksonville.

I could clarify how Albert Shanker, the union activist who came up with the charter concept, would be rolling over in his grave had he lived to see what they have become.

I would need more space to talk about how charters erode local control of public education and hurt the economy by paying teachers less and by sending millions to management companies that are often not in Florida.

So instead of doing those things I will use my allotment to say I understand how some people like charter schools. It's because we desperately want things to be better for our children.

The thing is, choice for choice's sake is a bad choice. The answer is not competition or to outsource our kids' education to management companies more interested in the bottom line that also put out an inferior product. …

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LEFT VS. RIGHT; Charter Schools Are Charter Schools a Good Deal for Public Education?
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