Sunday, December 28, 2014

Carmen Farina Needs to Get Over It and Embrace Charter Schools

Richard Whitmire nails it in this article about Carmen Fariña:

Carmen Fariña appears to be a terrific educator, someone you really want to see succeed in her job as New York City schools chancellor. Which is exactly why it so painful to watch her enter into a lose-lose debate with the city's charter schools.

Apparently frustrated by scores of charter schools succeeding far better with low-income and minority students, Fariña recently blurted out that they must be cheating. They must be shoving out their lower performing students. Except she couldn't prove it, and had to back away from her own words.

First, there's no reason for Fariña to be throwing down with charters. She wasn't tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to be a debater. Not her strength.

Second, for reasons that are both mysterious and baffling, Fariña continues to shove back against the one force in the city that could truly improve her schools: those same charters she complains about.

Elsewhere in the country, school chiefs are taking just the opposite approach, embracing charters as an important tool for turning around their schools.

New district/charter collaborations were announced in Cleveland, Minneapolis, Rhode Island and Florida, the Center on Reinventing Public Education reported last month. They will join the more established compacts well under way in places such as Denver, Houston and San Jose.

There are good reasons for these collaborations. After years of thrashing about on their own, top charters have recently started to share their lessons-learned. The results can range from hopeful to extraordinary.

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