Monday, June 27, 2011

City goes to Court Over Charter Schools

City goes to Court Over Charter Schools

"...Complaints have been raised from Harlem to Coney Island as charter schools increasingly share buildings with public schools in an attempt by the city to maximize existing space rather than build new schools. But the teachers union, the NAACP and some parents accuse the city of violating a new state law that says co-locations involving charters must be equitable..."

K's Response Jun. 21 2011 09:52 AM:

There are large questions in this issue. Key to me is whose ethos is will run our schools. What are our goals as a community when we say we will “educate”? How do we fund experiments and who gets to run those experiments?

The problem isn’t just what happens to everyone else who isn’t in a well-funded charter school. But whose ethos drives schools? A few wealthy philanthropists? A board of hedge fund guys? How does that involvement not end up affecting the model for “success” in a school?

I have learned to think of education as learning what we need to know to have the lives we want. That requires a certain amount of autonomy from the dictates of corporate or other narrow interests. How do we have schools that don’t just become an extension of the world-view of the moneyed few?

The charter vs. public school once again divides and conquers parents and communities who are trying to fight for their children. Many of us have limited resources to wage that battle. Ruthless competition has wound up being the major message: lotteries that decide whether you “make it” or not.

But all parents have a vested interest in all schools being good places to for our children to find their own thinking about this life. All of society has that same investment. But if corporations are shielded from paying their taxes, allowed off-shore dodges and then given a free hand in our schools to invest their “profits” as they please while the poorly funded public schools are strangled by the lack of adequate resources- how does this move us forward as an open society?

Corporations have already become persons according to this Supreme Court. Now they want to mold our children. Not acceptable. I’d rather they pay their taxes and let the teachers, principals, parents and students who have been in the trenches of poorly funded education tell them what to do with the cash. We may agree on some things, disagree on others, but definitely, money should not do the deciding.

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