Selected readings on US charter schools
When anything is proposed that might nudge the state’s education system away from the status quo, the stock response from the state’s teachers unions is:
A) It will hurt the kids.
B) It insults hard-working and under-paid teachers.
C) All the above.
If you answered C, congratulations, you know the drill.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy got both barrels from the unions following his March 26 nomination of charter school executive Andrea Comer to the state Board of Education.
“It’s just a slap in the face to every public school teacher,” griped Andrea Johnson, president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers.
A spokesman for the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers gave Malloy the second blast, saying the nomination “doesn’t represent the balanced approach necessary to ensure that the children of Connecticut are getting the kind of education they need.”
In other words, governor, you hurt the kids and you hurt our feelings. Ouch.
The truth is that Connecticut’s 17 charter schools are a real threat — to failing schools and the teachers who work in them. They offer parents a way to get their kids out of those wells of despair. It’s that dreaded radical idea known as school choice, which the unions have fought for years.
There are four major problems with the teachers unions’ crusade:
1) School choice has existed without problems in rural regions, including the small towns of the northeast corner, for generations.
2) Charter schools, although run by non-profit corporations, are still legally public schools.
3) Charter schools have an impressive record of success here.
4) Charter schools offer underprivileged minorities a way out of failing schools in cities like Hartford.
Mastery test results from 2005 through 2010 reveal that students who spent all five years in a charter school outperformed their peers by around 20 percent in reading and math. That’s especially significant in a state trying to close the nation’s worst academic “achievement gap” between advantaged and disadvantaged youth.
Charter schools are working where public schools are failing because of less bureaucracy, more innovation and teachers and students invested in their success.
Another reason: Failure isn’t tolerated. The state closes those that don’t measure up, not an option for the public school systems.
So who is really going to be hurt if charter schools have a voice on the state Board of Ed? Hint: It’s not the kids.
Source: Norwich Bulletin – by Martin Fey