Thursday, July 05, 2007

Patrons' Sway Leads to Friction in Charter School

This article from today's NYT tries very hard to make Joe and Carol Reich
look bad, quoting all sorts of foolishness impugning their motives. What a
great reminder of the saying "No good deed goes unpunished." The Reichs
have spent enormous amounts of time and money over nearly two decades to
provide a quality education to inner-city kids -- and largely succeeded.
Their two schools are very good -- no doubt massively better than the
regular public schools their students would otherwise attend.

I don't know anything about the current brouhaha other than what's in this
article, but it appears to the Reichs felt that one of their schools could
be even better and that many of the people on its board of trustees were
obstacles to this, so they said they would no longer support the school
unless those people left the board. So what's wrong with this? They
founded the school, it's their money and there's clearly plenty of room for

Some may quibble with their tactics, but I suspect they tried a kinder,
gentler approach before doing what they did. If so, kudos to them for
having the courage to do what was necessary to change the governance of the
school so that it could do better for the kids. I've seen plenty of other
cases in which people got complacent, were satisfied with "pretty good", and
weren't willing to take necessary tough steps so that they could avoid
conflicts and bad press -- and it almost always ends badly...


Patrons' Sway Leads to Friction in Charter School
Published: June 28, 2007

The Beginning With Children Charter School, housed in a former factory in
Brooklyn, landed on the state's list of high-performing schools this year,
thanks to rising English and math test scores among black and Hispanic

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