Dave...we could say the same thing for Ohio!
Cedar Valley Voices: ALEC pushes pro-big-business agenda on legislators
by Dave Bradley · Op-Ed · February 10, 2012
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The National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is the gold standard of education testing, shows that Washington D.C. has the biggest achievement gap between black and white students in the nation, double the size of Alabama’s. Alabama should not take lessons from one of the nation’s lowest performing districts.
Charter schools haven’t helped other states and they won’t help Alabama. Here are the reasons why:
* Numerous national and state studies have shown that charters on average don’t get better results than regular public schools. A small percentage get high scores, more get very low scores, most are about average in terms of test scores. Why kill off a community’s public school to replace it with a privately managed school that is no better and possibly worse?
* Charter schools weaken the regular public schools. They take money away from neighborhood public schools and from the district budget. As charter schools open, regular public schools must cut teachers and close down programs to pay for them.
* Many of the “high-performing” charter schools succeed by skimming off the best students, even in poor districts. The more they draw away the best students, the worse it is for the regular public schools, who are left with the weakest students.
* Many charter schools succeed by excluding or limiting the number of students they accept who have disabilities or who are English language learners. They are also free to push out low-scoring students and send them back to the local public school. This improves their results, but it leaves the regular public schools with disproportionate numbers of the most challenging students.
* Many charter operators are for-profit, and the district winds up paying them tax revenue that should be invested in students. Many of the nonprofits pay exorbitant executive compensation that wouldn’t be acceptable in a regular public school district.
* Charters fragment communities. Instead of everyone working together to support the children and schools of their communities, charters and regular public schools fight over resources and space. This is not good for education or for children.
* Charters cannot help the large numbers of children who live in rural and semi-rural communities in Alabama. These communities barely manage to support their own local public school. Replacing a community institution with one that is managed by private operators with no local ties would do harm to the community.
Transferring control of public dollars to private hands is not reform. It is privatization. This strikes at the very heart of public education. It is a mirage. Alabama needs to do the right thing and support a sound public education system that benefits the children of the rising generation.
1. Urban charter schools require minimal public investment in physical plants, library programs, the arts, science labs, athletics, personnel, and transportation infrastructure.2. Urban charter schools are cheaper because they depend upon an endless stream of young beginning teachers with few benefits, no retirement payouts, and no collective bargaining.3. Urban charter schools make it easy to segregate based on race, economics, gender, and disability.4. Urban charter schools allow for the exclusion or dumping of problem students whose abilities, behaviors, or test performance that could damage to the charter brand.5. Urban charter schools make it easier to hide the problems of the poor by pointing to testing success by those who survive the charter gauntlet.6. Urban charter schools allow for the imposition of cultural and psychological control techniques in urban areas that are not subject to public scrutiny.7. Urban charter schools put decision-making and control into the hands of unelected executives with no oversight beyond hand-picked board members.8. Urban charter schools (not for profit CMOs) allow corporations and wealthy donors to reap huge tax benefits for their generosity to corporate charter schools.9. Urban charter schools (for profit EMOs) expand business opportunities for the education industry & testing-industrial complex.10. Urban charter schools make it possible to take the state tax dollars saved from the forced choice of urban charters and use that money to enrich suburban public schools without raising taxes.