by Max Brantley
Another charter school miracle, this one the New Orleans Recovery School District, where charter schools staffed by bright and committed Teach for America teachers have taken over serving inner city kids. Results? Ds and Fs for school after school as measured by standardized testing. The promoters of the experiment have massaged the numbers by claiming greater percentage increases to cover scores at the bottom of the entire state. This website punctures the sophistry.
The corporate reformers are desperate. They have no proof that any of their theories about how to improve education are working. They have been given the power to experiment with needy kids and they should be ashamed of themselves. Their arrogance to ignore all statistics that prove they don’t know what they are doing is awful and if we stand back and let them continue, we share, a bit, in the blame.
What the data really proves is that it takes a lot more than a bunch of untrained, but intelligent, teachers to overcome the effects of poverty. This is something anyone who knows anything about how students learn and how schools improve could have, and did, predict.
The sooner we all commit to solving the whole of the problem underlying the education handicap borne by children of poverty, the better off we'll be. There's no magic in words like "charter school" or "merit pay" or any of the other nostrums beloved by the Billionaire Boys Club. But their wealth confers a respectful obedience among the likes of the local chamber of commerce that empirical data in the link above does not.