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Friday, March 14, 2014

Charter Schools and the Common Court Sports Standards: The Playing Field is Not Level

arne duncan no-look pass
Arne Duncan raced to the top in the N.B.A. All-Star Celebrity Basketball game last week in New Orleans.  As witnessed in the video above, he made some fancy moves.  Perhaps we should call him Arne Dunkin'.  On a night for the celebrity record books, he scored twenty points with eleven rebounds and six assists.  He was not awarded M.V.P. by the fans, but Kevin Hart turned the trophy over to him. 


When I hear Arne Duncan's name in the same sentence with New Orleans, it leaves a very bitter aftertaste.  I remember his words, "The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina."


Flagrant Foul?:  As witnessed by his words, Duncan seems to favor a policy of razing, rather than saving, public schools, thus paving the way for charters. Indeed, the D.O.E. has forbid any RTTT funds for any state that limits the number of charter schools.

Charter schools often succeed, but at the expense of high attrition rates.  The playing field is not level.  Charters can enforce harsh discipline, reprimand, suspend and ultimately expel students unlike any truly public school.  They keep their "cream of the crop," bench some and toss the rest out of the game.  Pulling an old pass fake???  Rejected!!!  Below, I have outlined some of the major differences between charter and public schools.

Charter Schools


Public Schools

Gain private and public funding, allowing for significantly more spending per pupil.

Rely upon public funding; separate, but not equal.

May not accommodate students with I.E.P.s and limited English capabilities

Accommodate all students

May have cherry picked students who can be  weeded out when they fail to meet expectations.

Must accept all students

Have a workforce that is likely to be nonunionized; teachers may have few rights and little bargaining power

Have a unionized workforce.

Can discipline students in ways unacceptable to the public-school sector (i.e., KIPP's padded cell)

Must adhere to strict interpretations of students' rights and child abuse.

May make a profit

Do not make profits

Are not subject to the same oversight as public schools

Are subject to strict oversight

Are favored by fantastically large grants (KIPP received $50 million in federal money in 2010); they may have CEOs who take in the big bucks.

Are usually strapped for funds

May co-locate, taking prime resources away from public schools and leading to overcrowding

Are squeezed by charter schools


Use money to sell their schools to potential customers via advertising

Do not spend money on school ads


May require students to miss a day of school to protest in favor of charter schools

Cannot excuse children from school to attend public-school rallies.

May show similar student performance to that of public schools on standardized tests

May show similar student performance to that of charter schools on standardized tests


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