There's been a lot of talk out there about charter schools. Bloomberg is for them. Arne Duncan is for them. Barack Obama is for them. Even Randi Weingarten is for them, despite the fact that she's being paid big bucks to represent public schools.
And I have to admit, charters have a lot going for them. For example, they have:
- The ability to 'cream' students, or choose the ones most likely too succeed.
- No nasty union contract.
- Freedom in hiring (and firing).
- Flexible pay and the ability to reward teachers for merit.
- More motivated parents (you have to sign kids up--that alone indicates more motivation).
- Longer school days and longer school years.
- Far fewer ESL students and special education students.
- Lots of seats and good facilities, often taken directly from public school kids--sometimes in a manner reminiscent of a daylight smash and grab robbery.
In fact, charters seem to have all the things that politicians say we need in order to make our schools a success. Of course, there is one thing that public schools have that charters do not:
Yes, that's right. Despite all the so-called advantages mentioned above, public schools kicked charter school ass. We took their lunch money. On state exams, public school kids showed greater progress this year than charter school kids. Yes, the state exams that BloomKlein tout as the be-all-and-end-all of education.
Now, you know that Bloomberg and Klein love data. It wouldn't surprise me if they put little chunks of data in their boxer shorts before going to work every day. So this has to sting. Still, they are plowing forth regardless. As NYC Educator points out, far from admitting any error, BloomKlein appears to be doubling down on charter schools.
Nevertheless, it's time to rejoice, NYC teachers. We beat them at their own game. We did it despite them stacking the deck against us.