Seattle School Board Member Darlene Flynn, desperately lashing out at parents who seek the choice of sending their kids to an independently-managed public school, wants you to believe that every charter public school is worse than the worst Seattle public school:
THE recently released analysis of the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) by the American Federation of Teachers presents an important opportunity to review the performance of charter schools. It is the first study that accurately compares charter-school students and their traditional public-school counterparts. It clearly states that charter-school students exhibit lower achievement than traditional public-school students.Flynn is either a knave or a fool, if not both. The AFT analysis categorically does not "clearly state that charter-school students exhibit lower achievement than traditional public-school students". That old hoax has been debunked five ways to Sunday. In a nutshell, charter schools as a whole admit students who are farther behind than their peers in other public schools. Naturally, in a side-by-side comparison, without adjusting for demographic factors, charter schools look worse. But there are also lots of other studies which show that charter school students progress faster than their peers in other public schools. Many charter schools, like the KIPP Academies, offer life-saving opportunities to a largely low-income, minority student body that the public schools too often fail to serve. It's a disgrace that Flynn is working so hard to prevent Seattle's low-income minority families from having the chance to send their kids to a KIPP school.
And, while charter-school supporters point to other studies and anecdotal information to show that charter schools can work, vying studies don't demonstrate who is right and who is wrong. They simply demonstrate that the possibility for success of children in charter schools is an unknown. Our children's education is too important to try experiments to see what works best.As if the possibility for success in a government-run public school isn't an unknown? When only 38.8% of the state's 10th graders are proficient in basic skills needed for graduation, it's time to declare that education is too important to be left to the experiment of management by government monopoly, and to give control back to parents where it belongs.
Darlene Flynn is my neighborhood representative on the Seattle School Board and is becoming a familiar character to readers of this blog and the Shark Blog. Earlier this year she refused to answer some legitimate questions that I posed to the School Board members, on the grounds that she doesn't like my criticism of the School Board. A few weeks later she failed to answer my follow-up questions under an official request under the state's Public Disclosure Act, thereby violating state law and exposing the School District to litigation and fines.
It is in part because of incompetent and unresponsive school officials that parents need to have more control over their own children's education. Darlene Flynn is not a good poster-child for a tighter government monopoly on K-12 education. She is a poster-child for parental choice and charter schools.
Support charter public schools. Approve Referendum 55.Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at September 17, 2004 12:03 AM | Email This