Our reader Jack Covey watched the Boston Globe debate about Question 2 closely and reports here, with links. Question 2 seeks to add a dozen charter schools every year without end. The state board already demonstrated in Brockton that it is willing to impose a charter school even if the community opposes it. The “choice” is made by the state board, not by parents.
Charter critics complained that charter boards have few if any parents of the children or members of the local community on them. The charter advocate explained that it’s a very good thing to have school boRds run by financiers because democracy is the problem. Charters can simply close if they don’t produce test scores. Of course, we know that’s not true. There are thousands of charter schools that have lower scores than the neighborhood public schools, and the charters are not closed. As many readers on this blog have noted, scores are not the only or best way to measure the value of community public schools. Closing public schools doesn’t help them, and a policy of charter churn doesn’t help children or communities.
What the charter advocates seem to say is that affluent communities can have democracy, but poor communities are not ready for self-governance. I think that’s called colonialism.
How embarrassing for Massachusetts that the “reformers” there rely on the Waltons and Wall Street to extinguish democracy in black communities.
Jack Covey writes:
The Boston Globe covered the debate:
At one point, the Female Moderator cites how,
with rare exceptions almost none of the Board
Members for charter schools are parents, or
live in the community. Instead, they are
corporate and financial executives who are
not elected by onyone. The charters are in
low income communities, and everyone on
their boards of directors are businesspeople
from upscale communities. Therefore, there’s
no mechanism by which thisparents or taxpaying
citizens in the communities in which these
charters are locatedcan execute any kind of
decision-making power, or that those charter
boards can be held accountable.
The response from Charter Lady Marty Walz is
… or that such a “local control” democratic system —
via democratically elected school boards — sucks
and should be done away with anyway.
“It is local control that got us into this situation that we’re in, where tens of thousands of children are being left behind by their local district schools,” said Marty Walz, a former Democratic state representative, fending off a question about the large number of corporate and financial executives who sit on the boards of Massachusetts charter schools.
“The reason charter schools exist is because local school districts have wholly failed to educate far too many children in this state,”
Walz said at the debate, which featured an audience of partisans hissing and clapping at various points.
Walz then says that the accountability mechanism — the only one needed, she claims — is that if the charter schools fail to perform, they can be closed. That’s ultimate accountability, she argues.
That’s like recommending the Death Penalty — going only to that — rather than fixing the schools while the schools are alive.
I guess the response to that is …
“How about parents and taxpaying citizens being able to hold charter governance accountable WHILE THOSE CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE STILL IN OPERATION… before the “ultimate accountability” of closing those schools occur?
As every critic from John Oliver …
to (yesterday) Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce …
… is complaining about. The scenario that Charter Lady Walz is defending and promoting creates a scenario for major corruption and egregious mis-management … and discovery and correction of such malfeasance can only happen IF— and it’s a big IF — the charter industry operates with some transparency in regards to the tax money is is spending, which they, as a rule, most certainly DO NOT. Indeed, it’s a big IF because those same charter folks fight tooth-and-nail any attempts to audit their books, or their admissions and expulsions policies, etc.
Eva at Success Academy has sued multiple times to prevent any examination of her organization.
The whole controversy regarding funding S.A.’s Pre-K is about this.
KIPP got Arne Duncan’s Ed. department’s okay to hide all this information from the public
Laura Chapman: Who Allowed KIPP to Hide Data?
Laura Chapman: Who Allowed KIPP to Hide Data?
The Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch reported that the KIPP charter chain received permission from Arne Duncan and U.S. Dept. of Education one that can only be discovered and corrected AFTER these outrages occur.
Here’s that part from the debate:
(34:30 – )
(34:30 – )
FEMALE MODERATOR: “Representative Walz, for some who oppose Question 2, one of the issues that it comes down to is this, and I’m going to paraphrase Carol Burris, she’s a former New York high school, and she says:
” ‘The democratic governance of our public schools is a American tradition worth saving.’
” … and then the Annenberg institute for school reform at Brown University earlier this year released a study, and they analyzed EVERY board for EVERY charter school in the state of Massachusetts. and they found that ..
“31% of trustees (school board members) statewide are affiliated with the financial services or corporate sector. Only 14% were parents.
“60% of the charter boards had NO parent representation on their boards WHATSOEVER.
“Those that DID were largely confined to charter schools that served MOSTLY WHITE students.
“Here’s an example: City on a Hill (Charter) Schools in Roxbury — again, this is according to the Annenberg Institute Report — has schools in Roxbury and New Bedford, (has a) 14-member board, trustees for all three of those schools.
“ONLY ONE member of the board lives in New Bedford. Three live in Boston, but NONE in Roxgury. The rest live in (upscale communities) Brookline, Cambridge, Cohasset, and Hingham.
“So they (at Annenberg) ask:
” ‘How can those charter schools be considered locally controlled and locally accountable?’ ”
Charter Lady Walz responds by claiming — and winning applause from the charter folks stacked in the audience — that local control through school boards has “wholly failed’ to produce quality schools and educate children, and need to be wiped out. Those in the audience are cheering the end of democracy? Really?
Wait. Isn’t Massachusetts the highest achieving state in the U.S.? Really? She says that democratically-governed schools with elected school boards in Massachusetts have “wholly failed” students? Really?
At another point in the debate, Charter Lady claims their group is about improving all types of schools, but here she is recommending replacing all of them with privately-managed charter schools. So which is it?
The Moderator interrupts by insisting that Charter Lady answer the question about accountability, and Charter Lady brings up the only method needed — the Death Penalty AND THAT’S IT…. but no accountability while those schools are actually open. And we need to watch John Oliver again to find out how well that works out:
Watch the whole debate here: