Monday, September 06, 2010

Fenty/DC comments

I learn so much from the folks on this email list.  Here's one friend with comments on what's really going on with some DC charter folks.  I find their behavior more than sad – it's outrageous and shameful (though I'm delighted to see the positive impact of charters in DC):


I wanted to give you my take on the subset of charter proponents here in DC who has been backing Vince Gray.


I don't think they have been duped. I think it's much worse than that. I think there is a subset of charter folks here who actually don't like that the school system is getting off the mat and fighting for market share. They don't like the new teacher contract because DCPS can pay teachers more and can compete to keep its best talent and even steal some talent back from the charters. They don't like that the funders are focused more on DCPS reform than on charters. They don't like that DCPS, after losing 10% of its students a year for a decade, suddenly stopped the hemorrhaging and brought students back to the system.


So I don't think that it's a question of being duped. I think it's much more calculated than that. It is about fear that the system is competing again. It was easier when the system was failing.


What's extraordinarily sad about this is that the charter system has worked as a market force here. Charters absorbed students while the system failed. Because the system lost so much market share, the union lost massive membership numbers. This led to a world where the union needed to find compromises in the contract and the political pressure to turn the system around was enormous. In short, even though there are many terrible charters in DC (just as there are many great ones), charters as a market force worked here.


That's my take. I find it very sad.

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