Monday, June 09, 2008

MSNBC Front Page

Talk about a softball article:

Charter Schools Rush To Fill Void in Big Easy. More of the 'kissing Charter school ass' media push, this one's gone national, that's all.

No mention, whatsoever, about the fact that none of these charters are yet accredited by a regional accrediting body (like SACS) - or that any of them are working actively for accreditation.

Some mention, at the very least, about the 'special education students to non-charters' problem. But the article phrases it as a naysayer's opinion, not a situation that any investigative reporter may have witnessed.

Positive mention of this:
For these new schools with taxpayer funding and independent management, old rules and habits are out. No more standard hours, seniority, union contracts, shared curriculum or common textbooks.
But these are also double edged swords: as there is also no peer review (like accreditation) and "no standard hours" means a constantly changing and inconsistent schedule - not to mention ridiculous workload.

No shared curriculum or common textbooks? I just don't think that is correct. I thought RSD charters had to follow the Louisiana LCC's and GLE's in their planning in order to get any state money. When I've spoken to my friends in charter schools, they seem to be using the same textbooks. I wonder what schools don't have to follow the same curriculums? Lord knows we all take the same LEAP test.

And this one is just dead wrong:
"The main difference is that most of the charters have the freedom to change, to get better, to hire the people they need to make the school better," said Jonathan Bertsch, KIPP's director of operations in New Orleans.
No. The Main Difference is that when charters finally get around to expelling students who have behavior problems and who constantly disrupt the school, the students they get to replace those come from their pre-screened waiting lists.

The regular schools just have to deal with discipline problems, bullies and fighting all the time because the system isn't really prepared to deal with such students in an effective way. They just go to the next school with an opening and begin their campaign of terror against that school's students.

But this article, for the most part, sounds like the reporter just called the people running the charter schools up on the phone and started asking for opinions. The whole story is not something that can be covered on two pages.

Hopefully the next one will be better.

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