Monday, January 02, 2006

War on Charters

Post lifted from Eric Kendall

The war on charter schools continues apace, prosecuted by a coalition of teachers unions and other special interests tied to the public education establishment. The latest battle in this protracted struggle is taking place right now in front of the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus, which is currently hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed in 2001challenging the constitutionality of charter schools as presently organized and funded here. A central issue, according to an account in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The coalition contends the alternate system of publicly funded charter schools violates the constitutional requirement of a common system of schools because they are privately run - often by for-profit firms - and lack the oversight of an elected school board.

For your edification, here is what I take to be the relevant passage of the Constitution of the State of Ohio (Article 6, Section 2):

Paragraph 2: Schools funds

The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state; but no religious or other sect, or sects, shall ever have any exclusive right to, or control of, any part of the school funds of this state

How should one define "a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state" exactly? I can only presume that the current system of government-run primary and secondary schools, administered by local school districts and funded, at least in part, by the state, is deemed to fulfill this constitutional requirement. Indeed, the anti-charter crowd seems to want the constitutional definition of "common schools" strictly limited to institutions of that particular mold. But why? From the Plain Dealer:

Carney and Chad Readler, a lawyer representing several charter schools, countered that charter schools are public schools in every sense of the word:

They are publicly funded and nonsectarian, they don't charge tuition, they don't discriminate, their teachers are state-certified and they administer state-required tests.

There is certainly nothing in the text of the Constitution of the State of Ohio itself that necessitates such a narrow definition of "common schools" as that which the anti-charter forces prefer. The fact of the matter is that the coalition of interests who brought this suit simply do not want their de facto monopoly over primary and secondary education challenged or curtailed in any way. This suit isn't about education; it's about power and privilege.


Bourgeois values produce a good environment for bourgeois kids?

San Francisco Unified is governed by an elected Board of Education and, like all other public school districts in California, reports to the state Department of Education and receives the bulk of its funding from the state. The mayor has no official role in the public schools, with the exception of the ability to appoint replacements for school board members who leave office before their terms end. That said, mayors depend on the reputation of public schools to lure families and businesses to the city.

One thing that's crystal clear: San Francisco's scores on the state's Academic Performance Index have steadily improved. This year, the district posted a 745 on a scale of 200 to 1,000 with 800 considered excellent. Other scores include 643 in Fresno, 649 in Los Angeles, 688 in Sacramento, 713 in Long Beach and 726 in San Diego.

All ethnic groups in San Francisco are improving, though African American students in particular continue to struggle greatly, posting the worst scores of any African Americans in the state. Their most recent scores in San Francisco are 576, compared to 636 for Latinos, 832 for Asians and 833 for whites.

For that reason, school board President Eric Mar, who has clashed with Ackerman and by extension Newsom, said the city's test scores aren't necessarily worth bragging about for Newsom or anybody else. "It strikes me that he's listened to the public relations department of the school district," Mar said. "If he looked a lot more closely, he would see that there are many challenges, especially for low-income and African American students in the district that we have to address."

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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