Friday, December 18, 2009

What Do Charter Schools Do Better? and The Race to Nowhere

Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch, responding to the NYT article two Sunday's ago, engage in one of the most moronic discussions of charter schools I've ever read.  Here's Meier, slamming the founders of Harlem Success, with no acknowledgment (likely due to no knowledge) of Harlem Success's extraordinary success:

I'm at a loss for words because I think it shouldn't be necessary to be chilled by the above description. But I suspect that many readers will simply be delighted that these rich young men have "gotten religion"—and that the religion they've gotten is to play a role in starting their own schools for the least advantaged youngsters.

…Meanwhile, the future is not yet written, so we need to keep up the spirits of those who are roughly on "our side"—despite other disagreements. It's hard enough lately to keep up my own spirits, but.... If I believe all that rhetoric I fed kids for 47 years in our schools, I have no choice, because what Misters Petry and Greenblatt and their friends "get" is something that I think will damage our most vulnerable future citizens.


What Do Charter Schools Do Better?

By Deborah Meier on December 10, 2009 8:38 AM | 21 Comments | No TrackBacks

Dear Diane,

I know you saw this article in last Sunday's New York Times.

" 'You get the religion fast.'

"Mr. Petry, 38, and Mr. Greenblatt, 52, may spend their days poring over spreadsheets and overseeing trades, but their obsession—one shared with many other hedge funders—is creating charter schools, the tax-funded, independently run schools that they see as an entrepreneurial answer to the nation's education woes. Charters have attracted benefactors from many fields. But it is impossible to ignore that in New York, hedge funds are at the movement's epicenter.

" "These guys get it," said Eva S. Moskowitz, a former New York City Council member, whom Mr. Petry and Mr. Greenblatt hired in 2006 to run the Success Charter Network, for which they provide the financial muscle, including compensation for Ms. Moskowitz of $371,000 her first year. "They aren't afraid of competition or upsetting the system. They thrive on that." "


The Race to Nowhere

By Diane Ravitch on December 15, 2009 10:14 AM | 31 Comments | No TrackBacks

Dear Deborah,

I understand why you were taken aback by that article in the "Style" section of The New York Times last week that described how charter schools have become a must-have among hedge-fund managers, billionaires, and other members of the social elite in New York City. The article bothered me, too. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it worries me. Having written the history of the New York City public schools, I was reminded of the origins of free schooling in certain northeastern cities in the early 19th Century, when wealthy men decided that it was their civic duty to help civilize the children of the poor. In their view and in their day, they were doing good deeds, but their schools were stigmatized as charity schools for children of paupers and were avoided by children of the middle class. Outside of big cities, public education emerged as a community response to a community's need to school its children, not as a charitable venture.


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