Thursday, August 19, 2004

Wouldn't It Have Been Appropriate....

In today's Times, there is an editorial defending charter schools despite their mediocre performance as compared to public schools:
And in the end, are these statistics really so damning? After 100 years, and with all of the conveniences and advantages they enjoy, the teachers' unions and traditional schools have only 30 percent of 4th graders reading and doing math at grade level. After just a few years, charter school students are slightly worse, at 25 percent. No, neither standard is acceptable - but the first number is a strong argument for allowing parents to sample charter schools and other innovative options.
I wasn't personally aware that charter schools were starting from ground zero, or that they would need a century to reach the same level of performance as public schools. I had thought that the promise of charter schools was that they could implement policies and curricula which would allow them to quickly surpass their public school "competitors". And why am I not surprised that the author proposes that the magic answer is "more money"?
Unfortunately, the professional advocates for public education are trying to block that choice. They send lobbyists to Washington and their state capitals to ask for levels of funding for charter schools that they would find intolerable in other areas of public education.
The author of this piece is described by the Times as follows:
Floyd H. Flake, a former Democratic member of Congress, is the pastor of the Allen A.M.E. Church in Queens.
That's a pretty good mini-biography, but in this context, would it not have been appropriate to have mentioned that he is also the former President of Edison Charter Schools, with a continuing role in that organization?


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