Thinking Citizen Blog — “Biden’s Misguided Attack on Charter Schools” (Boston Globe)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic — “Biden’s Misguided Attack on Charter Schools” (Boston Globe)
According to the editors of the Boston Globe President Biden is paying back the teachers unions for their campaign support “by launching an ill-advised campaign against charter schools.” Are they right? Or is President Biden right? Is it true that the “biggest losers” will be “the Black and Latino students who rely most on those schools”? Are the Biden administration’s initiatives going to have the effect of “depriving poor families of educational options’? Today, a few more excerpts from the Globe editorial. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
WHAT ARE THE NEW BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSALS?
1. “They don’t quite fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to defund charters entirely, but are a step in that direction.”
2. “The new proposals, from the US Department of Education, would make it more onerous for schools to receive federal startup grands and would hurt existing schools by hindering expansion plans and limiting their capacity.”
3. “Charter schools are often nonunion, and thwarting them has become an increasingly important part of national teachers unions’ agendas.”
NB: “The proposed new requirements relate to the federal Charter Schools Programs, which issue grants — typically $500,000 per school — for new charter schools or expansions of existing ones. Roughly half of the existing 7,700 charter schools nationwide have taken advantage of the grants.”
WHOM DO CHARTER SCHOOLS SERVE? THE GENERAL RULE PLUS STATISTICS
1. “They serve mostly Black and Latino families and often have long waiting lists.”
2. ‘Nationally, nearly 70% of the 3.6 million students enrolled in charter schools are children of color, while two-thirds are economically disadvantaged.”
3. “In Massachusetts, which has some of the best-performing charter schools in the nation, 74 charter schools serve 46,000 students, of which nearlly three-quarters are non-white, primarily Black (29 per cent) and Latino (35%).
BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN — Booker, Feinstein, Bennett (Democrats) Butt, Cassidy, Rubio, Scott (Republicans)
1. Supporters of the plan include Senators Markey and Warren of Massachusetts.
2. Democratic opponents include: Senator Cory Booker, New Jersey, Senator Diane Feinstein, California. Senator Michael Bennett, Colorado.
3. Republican opponents include: Senator Richard Burr, North Carolina, Senator Bill Cassidy, Louisiana, Senator Michael Rubio, Florida, and Tim Scott, South Carolina.
NB: Which side are you on? Why? I’m with the opponents. I believe that education is not only the civil rights issue of our time but the key to our economy, our democracy, and our identity and that charter schools often offer “an educational lifeline” to many Black and Latino families. There is, unfortunately, more truth than hype in such films as “Waiting for Superman” and “The Lottery.” If you have not seen them, I highly recommend them. Other related films to watch: “Stand and Deliver,” “Lean on Me,” “Hard Lessons.” A book to read: “No Excuses — Closing the Racial Gap in Learning” (Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom). High standards in homes, schools, and communities is the key to high performance. And “gaps” come in a chain. “Gaps” are best closed upstream not downstream. Learning gaps drive wealth gaps.
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.