My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Democrats Should Be Asked Why They Hate Schools

Charter schools, that is.

Face the State has, somehow, gotten a copy of an e-mail exchange between Mike Merrifield (D), former school music teacher and chairman of the Colorado House Education Committee, and Sue Windels, former high school teacher and chairperson of the Colorado Senate Education Committee.

While it's tempting to focus on this line:

There must be a special place in Hell for these Privatizers, Charterizers, and Voucherizers! They deserve it!

I think, from a pragmatic standpoint, it's more important to focus on this line:

I agree that if Gov would support, we should go for the whole enchilada!

And what, you may ask, is the whole enchilada? Shutting down the Charter School Institute, the state body that is tasked with overseeing the propriety of school districts' approval/disapproval of charter school applications, and, sometimes, granting charters to applicants that have been turned down by their home district for no good reason.

So, while it is no surprise that these two former educators and current tools of the uber-powerful teachers unions dislike charter schools, why should they work so diligently to close down a state regulatory agency? That's counter-intuitive for Democrats, at best.

Their answer is that deciding charter licenses should be a matter for local control (never mind that they impose their views on a statewide basis whenever it suits them).

Why should they oppose the state having an opportunity to grant charters, as well?

Their answer is that charter schools take money away from students in normal public schools. And that is, to a degree, true. But given that traditional school districts take away from charter schools at least 5% of the state per-pupil funding, the amount taken out of the traditional schools is relatively small.

Do charters out-perform traditional schools? The evidence is, at best, inconclusive. There is, however, nothing to suggest that charter schools are bad.

Are parents and students more satisfied with their charter schools than with traditional schools? ABSOLUTELY! The evidence here is incontrovertible: parents, when asked, indicate a vastly higher degree of satisfaction with charter schools than with traditional schools.

So, the question remians: if charter schools are getting the job done, and parents and students are much happier in charter schools, and the impact on traditional schools is small (other than the exodus of serious families), then why does the establishment hate charter schools so much?
Rather than dismiss supporters of change as "evil", wouldn't it be vastly more useful to demonstrate that theirs is a better way?

I understand being passionate about the importance of public education. But there is nothing to suggest that that passion is best served by demonizing those who earnestly believe there is a better way.

And, by the way, the answer to the mirror image of the big question is simple: why do these parents despise traditional schools so much? Senator Windels, you have to look no further than the actions of you own committee, which, at every opportunity, thumbs its nose at people of Faith and seriousness in education.

After that line of questioning, THEN we can get around to asking why the establishment is comfortable calling charter supporters "evil". Because, after all, isn't Hell the place to which God consigns evil people? And what, pray tell, in the idea of supporting school choice and options for their children, is the evidence that allows the establishment to call charter supporters evil?

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