Revoke the charter
The dog-and-pony shows Mayor Karl Dean has encountered during his multi-city tour of charter schools [“Dean advocates for charter school law reform, April 30] apparently have shielding him from the downside of charter schools. He fails to understand how these taxpayer funded schools, which are quasi private schools, help to set up struggling urban public schools for failure.
In many inner-city communities throughout the country, charter school recruiters seek out parents who may be undereducated and poor themselves but want better for their own children. The charter schools then enroll students of parents who value education and pledge to become full partners in their children’s schooling.
This “cherry picking” leaves the affected public schools disadvantaged with a higher concentration of students who are unmotivated and difficult to teach, who are likely to become behavioral problems and truants and dropouts and later a drag on society. These are students who produce lower test scores even with dedicated teachers.
Under most accountability systems, schools with low-scoring students are labeled “failing.” Their teachers are considered ineffective and their professional reputations are tarnished. These schools face the threat of sanctions and are bashed in the press. Instead, they need real help, not pseudo competition and bully pulpit-driven education “reform.”
Meanwhile, charter schools are hyped in the press and receive honorable recognitions from various agencies and groups, including “progressive” politicians. Some charter schools receive generous grants and donations from private businesses and philanthropies to supplement government funding, thereby building more inequity into our education system.
Gene Bryant, 37215