I discovered Stephanie Rivera on Twitter. Ah, the power of social media. Stephanie took issue with Students for Education Reform, which is a mini-version of the Wall Street hedge fund managers group called Democrats for Education Reform. DFER thinks that charter schools will close the achievement gap, but sadly there is no evidence==other than an anecdote about a handful of charters–that this remotely possible on any scale. It hasn’t happened in Washington, D.C., which is awash in TFA and charters, nor in New Orleans, nor in New York City. Where is the evidence that they can close the achievement gap other than by skimming top students and kicking out low-performing students?

Stephanie met with the leaders of SFER in her part of New Jersey, and they tried to convince her she was wrong to be devoted to the public schools. Stephanie can’t understand why they would turn their backs on the schools where 90% of American students are. I think this is called “lifeboat” strategy, where you pluck a few kids and pat yourself on the back instead of trying to save the ship.

Well, as it happens, the ship is under attack from the likes of DFER and SFER and SFC and a long list of well-funded alphabet groups, but it is definitely not going down.

And the charters, we now know, are extremely varied. Some are excellent, some are dreadful, most are no different from public schools. And some are run by profiteers, who use tax dollars to pay off investors.

Lurking between the lines are class issues; the SFERs are at Princeton, Stephanie is at Rutgers. ‘Nuff said.

Be strong, Stephanie!

Many experienced and expert teachers are waiting to give you a hand when you join them.