Astonishing because they call for a radical upending of public education through the entire country. Infuriating because Kingsland simply ignores the primary issue with charter school expansion:
You know what's astonishing about that sentence? The blatant refusal to acknowledge that the most significant transformation in NOLA's schools has been the reintroduction of segregation. For example:In the following letter I aim to convince you of this: the single most important reform strategy you can undertake is to increase charter school quality and market share in your city--with the ultimate aim of turning your district into a charter school district.In other words: rid yourself of the notion that your current opinions on curriculum, teacher evaluation, technology, or anything else will be the foundation for dramatic gains in student achievement. If history tells us anything, they will not be:Dismissing this letter--and the idea of charter districts--would have been easier five years ago. But over the past five years, educators and policymakers in New Orleans created the nation's first charter school district.This transformation of the New Orleans educational system may turn out to be the most significant national development in education since desegregation. Desegregation righted the morality of government in schooling. New Orleans may well right the role of government in schooling. [emphasis mine]
‘No Incentive’After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans turned to charters as a way to rebuild schools and overhaul public education. Its charter schools now enroll more than 70 percent of students, a larger share than in any other U.S. district, making it a flash point for concerns about special education.
And you've really got to embarrass Oprah badly to shut her up about schools; I mean...
This is aside from the equally relevant issue of the change in NOLA's demographics post-Katrina. We know that there is credible evidence that charters may be increasing racial segregation; put this all together with the potential for political favoritism and there is more than enough evidence to voice a real concern for Kingland's charter conversion plan.
So what is Kingland's response? Surely he's thought about this? Surely, in his position, he's gathered data to address this all-important issue? So what does he say about charters and segregation?
Nothing. Seriously - and I've read every post twice - he says nothing about charter schools segregating on the basis of race, creed, language, or disability.
Instead, he cites India - India! - as a model for success. Hey, America, ready to put a caste system in place? And he comes up with a timetable to convert the Newark district into charters (sorry, but Eli Broad will have to sign off on that first, thank you very much).
In fairness, he has a day left; maybe he'll get around to this tomorrow. We'll see...
ADDING: It's worth saying yet again that this "reformer" judges the success of a school solely on its standardized test scores. Swell.